Dialogue is necessary to contain the perpetual conflict in a society, as described by Karl Marx in his Conflict Theory. Arguably, there is seldom a moment when everyone in the society has adequate resources, and during a transitional phase, as described by Freire (1976, p.11), a spontaneous emotional outburst threatens social stability. Elites perceive the threat of awakened consciousness and wish the lower classes to accept their “fate” and thrive through complacency. However, dialogue ensures the engagement of all conflicting sides to come to a win-win situation. For instance, the lower class gets their duly deserved government opportunities and participates in policy-making rather than watching. That way, dialogue contains the social conflict.
Currently, I see dialogue promoting multiculturalism and enhancing human adaptation in the world. According to Freire (1976, p.14), “transitivity of consciousness makes man “permeable”.” For instance, there is an increased rate of cultural awareness and consequent cultural diffusion, which reduces social injustices such as racism. Dialogue plays a role in critically interrogating the indifferences between races, bridging gaps in cultural awareness, and helping people from extreme diversities coexist. Without it, Freire (1976, p.12) explains that it would impose silence and passivity – on issues like social injustices and deny us an opportunity to develop and open our consciousness to the intense changes and contradictions among individuals. However, dialogue enables the human race to adapt (tolerate) one another, live anywhere globally, and work together towards humanizing goals regardless of cultural differences.
We can become great dialogue participants by cultivating active listening, respecting, suspending, and voicing skills. Listening may involve mindfully perceiving a message and reacting to thoughts and assumptions before responding. Weger et al. (2010) found active listening as a factor of social attractiveness, which arguably would play a role in containing conflicts. Respect involved a retrospective approach to the other party, placing self “in their shoes” and taking a moment to consider all the complexities of the other party. We can also become great at dialogues by suspending assumptions, certainties, emotions, and judgments to understand the other party’s approach without imposing silence and passivity. Lastly, we have to voice our ideas through an authentic expression, considering the impact of our message and going beyond the powers of potential internal self-censorship.
Freire, P. (1976). Education Freedom As The Practice Translated and Edited by Myra Bergman Ramos of Freire, Paulo (1976). Education for Critical Consciousness, Bloomsbury Publishing Plc, 2013. ProQuest Ebook Central
Weger, H., Castle, G., & Emmett, M. (2010). Active Listening in Peer Interviews: The Influence of Message Paraphrasing on Perceptions of Listening Skill. International Journal Of Listening, 24(1), 34-49. https://doi.org/10.1080/10904010903466311