Once upon a time, humans discussed their disagreements and settled disputes through the ancient and mysterious process known as dialogue. At some point in our recent past, dialogue died and none of us were invited to the funeral.

Gone are the days when people sought out those who think differently to engage in healthy and vigorous debate over the merits of their ideas to the benefit of all humanity.

Dialogue has been replaced by the great and mighty echo chamber of on-demand media. In an effort to satisfy the ravenous hunger for validation, media companies created this online universe where you can focus your incoming information, so it only includes those who think as you think or believe as you believe.

The danger of the endless whisper, “we are right and they are wrong” cannot be overstated. None of us is right about everything all of the time.

Life is not a zero-sum game. In most cases, the best answer for everyone lies somewhere in the middle, the great no-mans-land between the entrenched opposing forces. Those who seek to be understood should first seek to understand.

This is more than just a maxim, it's the key to our future.

Brian Benjey



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(13) comments

Robert Braeking


Ed Buckner

Good LTE. I'm from well over to one side of the political spectrum, but I think both my side and those on the other need to write and to speak AND to read and listen.

Jarvis Buckley

I agree Ed.

Don Schlessinger


Emilio Nicolas

So true. This is particularly important on the "Opinion" pages where too many commenters express dogma while disrespecting the right of others to disagree and express their own opinions.

Bailey Jones

I'm not at all convinced that this golden age of dialogue has ever existed, anywhere. The Greeks, for all their love of discourse, executed Socrates. In America, new ideas - especially those that came with the force of intellectual and moral truth - have often been met with anger, self-righteous indignation, and violence.

Regardless - it's the right, privilege, and duty of every American to carry on with the discourse. In a nation where public opinion rules supreme, it's important to have this dialogue. But in order to have meaningful and useful dialog (if that's the goal) we need to be able to accept that new facts often prove our old "truths" to be wrong - or at least, wrong-headed.

To quote Thomas Jefferson - "I am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and Constitutions. But laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions change, with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors."

Dialogue leads the way.

Ed Buckner

Well said, as usual, Mr. Jones.

Raymond Lewis

Good article. Well said Mr. Jones.

Emilio Nicolas

So true!

Dan Freeman

He also wrote: the tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots & tyrants. it is it's natural manure.

Emilio Nicolas

Yes, and he would certainly consider those adhering to the message on this page as "patriots". Jefferson: "My earnest prayers to all my friends are to cherish mutual goodwill, to promote harmony and conciliation, and above all things to let the love of our country soar above all minor passions. To preserve the peace of our fellow citizens, promote their prosperity and happiness, reunite opinion, cultivate a spirit of candor, moderation, charity, and forbearance toward one another, are objects calling for the efforts and sacrifices of every good man and patriot. Our religion enjoins it; our happiness demands it; and no sacrifice is requisite but of passions hostile to both."

George Laiacona

At thi particular time Americans are separated because of their political views. Time will tell if we can overcome this separation. I do believe that we can. It’s just going to take time. After all many of us are educated human beings that Actually know what brotherhood and patriotism Is. We must have faith in each other and understand that we all have our own personal opinions.

Ed Buckner

Hear, hear, George Laiacona.

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