Glenna Gerard's Experience of Dialogue in the CIP
Learning Inquiry II: Response
Response to Question 4: What was your experience of Dialogue?
Response: A matter of attention...
From: Glenna Gerard, 11/15/96 11:13 AM
My level of participation was high as defined by regular entries, yes, but even more so by the degree of attention which I brought to my "listening and speaking". I found the level of attention required to be even higher for this medium than in face to face conversations. Somehow bodies actually help ground the collective consciousness and make the conversation more easily palpable, even when it is about abstract concepts. This medium required a commitment to relaxed yet focused attention to connect with both the individuals' contributions and their interweave.
I do not know that I was able to discern the shared meaning of either dialogue I participated in, though I am convinced that it existed in the moment the members of the group were determined. I don't, however, think we were able to make it explicit. In one dialogue collaboration emerged, yet I felt our focus on it was in and of itself fragmented. I suspect that a high level of commitment over a longer period of time would be required for shared meaning to become clearer.
Although I expected the branching dialogue to create more diversions of meaning I did not experience that as so. Both the branching and the streaming seemed very similar to me, only where people whose to position their responses seemed different.
Reflecting on my experience with face to face dialogues, I would say that they feel like a combination of streaming and branching where the pattern of primary flow and tributaries may be more visible simply because of the container in space and time within which they move. This statement does raise questions in me however, about the assumption that because we are all in the same space-time location, we are any more synchronous, or the reverse, that because we are on-line we are actually any more asynchronous. I suspect synchronicity is more a matter of how we focus our attention than of time, space and physicality.
From the 1996 Awakening Technology Community of Inquiry and Practice (CIP)
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