Dialogical communication, ontological vocation, humanism, freedom, critical consciousness, historicity (key thinkers: Freire, Mannheim). Read Mannheim's chapter on Education, Sociology and the Problem of Social Awareness from Diagnosis of our Time. Huzzah!

Key points
  • It is our 'ontological vocation' to become more fully human
  • To achieve this, we need to be with the world, with others
  • Consciousness is about awareness
  • If we are aware of our situation, if we can see it as it really is, we can change it
  • This is critical consciousness: having an apprehension of the world as it really is
  • Being 'historical' means we can intervene in and transform the world
  • Dialogical communication is true, open, honest, authentic
  • True communication only happens through dialogue
  • Dialogue allows us to 'speak our own words', to speak 'true words', to 'name the world' and to create and re-create the world for ourselves

4.1 Lecture

Dialogical communication
Now that we have set up an argument for why ethical philosophy is useful in handling ourselves and others when communicating online, we can explore a particular form of communication – and its uses – in more detail, namely, dialogical communication. I will be drawing, here, on the work of Paolo Freire, the aforementioned Brazilian educator and philosopher who spent much of his life developing a ‘critical pedagogy,’ which is a way of educating so that people become aware of the socio-cultural, political, economic, and historical forces that shape their lives and their life situations. Once we understand these forces, Freire argued, we are in a position to intervene in and change the world (Freire, 1996 [1970]).

Freire spends much of his work talking about how we relate to and communicate with others. He says that rather than being simply reactive and responsive to others and to the world, we instead need to “enter into the situation” of those whom we encounter in order to fully understand them and in order to transform the situation (Freire 1996 [1970], p. 31). In doing so, Freire says we have to create new situations through “transforming action” in the pursuit of a “fuller humanity.” Someone who can do this, who can enter into the experience of another, “is not afraid to confront, to listen, to see the world unveiled. This person is not afraid to meet the people or to enter into dialogue with them” (Freire, 1996 [1970], p. 21). People must therefore be free to ‘speak their own words’ and to ‘name the world’ – we need to be free to speak ‘true words’ in order to create and re-create the world for ourselves, says Freire. But – and this is the key point – this cannot happen in isolation: people can only transform the world in communication with others.

This may seem like difficult language, but what Freire is talking about is, in many ways, similar to John Dewey’s (2004 [1916]) notion of democratic social environments, that is, environments that uphold free interaction, the uncovering of mutual interests, and communication through conjoint experience. (We have to be careful not to confuse this understanding with ‘democratic’ forms of government because, for Dewey, democracy cannot be present when there is an external authority – democracy is thus ‘voluntary.’) These environments are founded on dialogical, democratic principles that can be summarised by the following statements:
  • Dialogical communication is about true, open, honest, authentic communication between people
  • Dialogical communication is about entering into the experience of others so that we can understand the world and transform it
  • It is only through true, open, honest dialogue that we can transform the world
  • Only dialogue creates critical thinking
  • Only dialogue sustains communication
  • True communication only happens through dialogue

Finally, there are certain conditions that need to exist for dialogical communication to occur (Freire, 1996 [1970], pp 70 - 73):
  • Love (for the world and for people)
  • Humility (a perception of our own ignorance)
  • Faith (in humans)
  • Trust (by being consistent in our engagement with others)
  • Hope (the expectation of success for effort)
  • Critical thinking (the continuing transformation of our intellectual world)

Again, the language may seem difficult, but here it is not because the concepts are expressed uniquely (as they are by Freire, above), but because they are concepts that we often do not discuss in secular, public forums. In my experience, however, people often crave conversations that help us understand ourselves and our situations better because one of the things we want most desperately is to communicate more deeply with others. By simply invoking this kind of language, I hope I am giving you permission to be with others, to enter into their situations, and to transform the world, as Freire would want.

A final note for this quick investigation of the current topic. It is a terrible mistake to think that this kind of deep, dialogical communication does not or cannot occur in social media environments. Communication is what we make it. We can either oppress others (and thus ourselves) with anti-dialogical words and actions or we can use our words and actions to take control over how we view the world and others and how we choose to engage with them. Mode of communication does not come into it.

Relating well to others: becoming a critically conscious person
If you are serious about developing your own principles-led, personal communication framework – a framework that will help you both online and off – then you will need to read on, as we will now situate our discussion of dialogical communication within the broader notion of ‘critical consciousness.’ Doing this will move us beyond a fairly simple examination of what dialogical communication ‘is’ into a far more complex understanding of why dialogical communication is so important to our essential humanity – and to our relations with others.

Truly dialogical communication cannot occur simply by following a set of rules; instead, says Friere, it requires a shift in consciousness on the part of the individual in which we come to understand the ‘true’ nature of how the world works and in which we also come to understand the part we ourselves play in how the world works. This could mean understanding the social forces that impact on our relations with one another, recognising our own contribution to a situation, or being able to trace our own personal predispositions that might cause us to act or speak in particular ways. The more we can diagnose or define a situation, the more we can “critically recognise its causes” (Freire, 1996 [1970], p. 29), the better we can create a new situation for ourselves and for others.

So, let’s try to get at this idea of ‘consciousness’ a little more clearly. We can say that consciousness, at its most basic, is about ‘awareness.’ Karl Mannheim, a sociologist who lived through and was greatly influenced by World War Two, both personally and intellectually, describes consciousness as an “attitude of the mind” (Mannheim 1943, 64 - 65) in which we are aware of the social, cultural, political, and other forces that affect our situation or our circumstances. It is, says Mannheim (and which is echoed by Freire), an awareness of, and readiness to see, the “whole situation,” and the capacity to grasp the “uniqueness of our situation” (1943, p. 62, p. 63). This comes about, according to Mannheim, through the correct diagnosis or defining of the situation – and that, too, means seeing our part in it. Already, we can see resonances with Freire’s position, stated above, in which we must understand the ‘true’ nature of the world and how it works. Once we apprehend such things, the argument goes, we can act to change them.

Our ontological vocation
But, really, why should any of this matter? You could be saying to yourself, ‘Why should I bother with all this stuff about consciousness and critical consciousness? I’m just trying my hardest to get along in a complex world by navigating relationships as best I can. How can this possibly be of relevance to me?’ The answer is this, according to Freire, and it is perhaps one of the most cardinal points that can be made about the importance of engaging fully with other people: Freire says that it is our ‘ontological vocation’ to become more ‘fully human’ and that if we lack critical consciousness then we negate our very humanity and that of others; without critical consciousness, we can never engage in true dialogue with the world.

By ‘ontological vocation’ Freire is referring to that branch of study that deals with questions of existence (sometimes known as ‘metaphysics’). If it is our ‘ontological vocation’ to become more ‘fully human,’ then Freire is saying that it is in our very nature to be human and only human – not a cog in an economic machine, not an instrument of totalitarianism, not an example of laissez-faire indulgence or relativism, all of which seek to treat some humans as different from others and which thus dehumanise everyone in the process. Our ‘ontological vocation’ is, instead, entirely about our significance as human beings. Without critical consciousness, Freire stresses, we deny our own and others’ purpose, that is, to become more fully human, and we instead engage in relations that only serve to dehumanise ourselves and others, and that serve structures of oppression. Becoming fully human, then, means actively participating in our ontological vocation.

To achieve this ontological vocation, we must be ‘with’ the world and others and not just ‘in’ the world, as we have already seen; that is, we need to create the world and not just ‘spectate.’ This is what Freire calls our ‘historicity,’ which is not to be confused with ‘history’ as a discipline of study that seeks to understand past events. When we see ourselves as ‘historical’ beings, we recognise, accept, and act upon our (inter-) subjectivity as human beings. Through this, we acknowledge that people are not just ‘objects’ or ‘repositories’ of knowledge, but that we are sources of it and that we can continually discover ourselves through reflection and action (a process called ‘praxis’). Historicity is a process of becoming; it recognises people as unfinished and it
leads to transformation, creation and re-creation; it can never, by its very nature, dehumanise others or be anti-dialogical. Freire puts this all together when he says, “A deepened consciousness of their situation leads people to apprehend that situation as an historical reality susceptible of transformation” (Freire, 1996 [1970], p. 66). This is human, not anti-human; it is dialogical, not anti-dialogical; it is historical, not ahistorical; it is demoncratic, not anti-democratic; and it is liberating because it allows for change, variety, transformation, novelty, free interaction, and the “spontaneous integration of consensus on different levels” (Mannheim 1943, p. 29). When we are critically conscious, historical human beings seeking to realise our ontological vocation to become more fully human, then we know that we can and must intervene in and change the world, and that trying change others’ consciousness to suit our agenda is not morally permissible. Because those who have gained a level of critical consciousness and an awareness of their own self-constitutive actions (Korsgaard, 2009) have an inner life that continually questions their actions, the reasons for their actions, the outcomes of their actions, whether they acted well or badly, and how they may have acted better. The very practical outcome of nurturing such an inner life is, quite simply, better communication and relationships with others.

Barriers to effective communication
Sometimes, before we know it, we can find ourselves in a situation involving a communication breakdown, with things spiralling out of control. It requires maturity and skill to recognise what is happening at the time or to recognise that what is happening is part of an ongoing pattern of thought or behaviour. In any case, here are some of the things that can get in the way of effective communication:
  • Ego
  • Feeling that you are always right
  • Feeling aggrieved
  • Believing that your (maybe poor) behaviour is justified
  • Being too willing or too quick to take offence
  • Having a sense that you can never be wrong
  • Believing that you should not be ‘called’ on your bad behaviour
  • Shifting blame to someone or something else
  • Thinking that your position should not be questioned
  • Being oversensitive to criticism

What would Darryl do?
If you are unsure how to confront a difficult state of affairs, it can help tremendously to draw on the examples of respected friends and family. To do this, choose someone you admire and respect for the way they handle themselves and others and do a quick, mental check: ask, simply, “What would they do?” For myself, when I’m faced with a tricky situation, I ask, “What would Darryl do?” or “What would Steve do?” Because I hold these two people in such esteem, I can determine quite rapidly the first step I need to take in trying to resolve a delicate set of circumstances.

Getting perspective on your thoughts and emotions
Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) is a clinically proven, drug-free treatment for depression. But you don’t need to be depressed in order to benefit from it. CBT is a process for recognising the thoughts and feelings that influence our behaviours, and it helps us to see the world from a more realistic perspective. To this end, CBT addresses our negative behaviours through the identification of a number of ‘cognitive distortions.’ Here is the basic list, but if you are interested in learning more about CBT, then I suggest you explore some of the many excellent materials available online.
  • All-or-nothing thinking. Things fall into black-or-white categories; if your performance is less than perfect, you see it as a total failure.
  • Overgeneralisation. A single event is seen as a never-ending pattern of negativity.
  • Mental filter. One negative detail is singled out for endless scrutiny.
  • Discounting the positive. Positive events ‘don’t count.’
  • Jumping to conclusions. You interpret things negatively, despite the absence of facts.
  • Magnification. You inflate your faults and problems or minimise the positive.
  • Emotional reasoning. You feel it therefore it must be ‘true.’
  • ‘Should’ statements. You base your expectations on what you or others ‘should’ or ‘ought to’ do or be like.
  • Labelling. You call yourself or others names.
  • Personalisation. You blame yourself for something that you can’t control.

Learning to deal with these distortions will help you achieve realistic expectations of your own and others’ behaviour.

4.2 Tutorial

4.2.1 How on earth can we build skills out of what we've learnt?! (Groups of 3) T3P

Review the key points for each week. How can we operationalise this stuff? That is, how can we put the theory into practice? I use a technique I call 'T3P', which means Theory, Principle, Practice, Practise:
  1. The Theory (T) becomes ...
  2. A Principle (P1) we choose to live by ...
  3. Which we integrate into our daily communication practice (P2) ...
  4. Which we must then practise (P3) in order to build our skills.

Take today's lecture, for example.
  1. Theory. The theoretical point is that dialogue allows us to 'speak our own words', to speak 'true words', to 'name the world' and to create and re-create the world for ourselves.
  2. Principle. From this theoretical point, I might turn it into a principle that a) I won't speak for others, b) I won't let others speak for me. What does this mean, exactly? I could mean that a) I won't make assumptions or representations about what others think, and b) I won't accept it when others make assumptions or representations about what I think.
  3. Practice. From that, I try to become aware when I am either contravening or upholding my own principles (note how this language is active and makes ME personally responsible) in my everyday communication practice. Continuing our example, if I find myself making assumptions about, or representing, someone else, I will stop and ASK them if my understanding or representation is correct. By the same token, if I find someone is making assumptions about what I think, I will find a 'right and good' way to ask them not to make assumptions about what I think, and I will not fall into the 'dread and hope' trap of feeling I have to 'defend' myself.
  4. Practise. I then practise ways of making sure this does or does not happen. I practise in real-life conversations with people and I practise in mock conversations. If I have a conversation or 'communication event' in which my principles were either upheld or contravened, I am sure to reflect, practise how things might have gone differently (i.e., better, in the case of a difficult event), discuss with others how I might better approach my practice in future, seek advice from trusted others about how I can best handle a current difficulty. It means asking, What is going on here, really? What are we asking of each other? What claims are we making over each other? Are these claims reasonable? rational? ethical? Does either of us have a 'right' to give or take in this case? Where are we misunderstanding each other? What is getting in the way of that understanding? How can I communicate better? What can I learn from this situation? etc etc.

So, really, it goes through an iterative cycle of

T → P1 → P2 → P3 → P2 → P3 → P2 → P3

in which P2 and P3 influence each other, back-and-forth. And, of course, it's smart to every now and then go back to T and P1 as part of your revision ;)

So, today's exercise: Review the key points for each week (below). Come up with some T3P 'action plans' to get you started on your skills-building in this area.

Week 1
  • Philosophy is the study of central and fundamental problems
  • It is about the nature of things and why things are as they area
  • Ethics is a branch of philosophy that explores how we ought to live, act
  • Ethics is important in communication because every communicative act is a moral one
  • Human flourising is the ultimate goal of life
  • It's about becoming a 'whole' person, about attaining wisdom
  • Some philosophers feel that we have lost this ultimate goal, that our ideals are sinking to match our practice
  • Communication exposes our ideals through the ways in which we interact with, and behave towards, others.
  • To communicate fully we need to enter into another's experience of the world
  • Both the recipient and giver of communication are affected

Week 2
  • Our only true vocation is to become more fully human
  • To treat others as objects of knowledge, not as sources of it, is an oppressive act
  • Oppressors are also dehumanised because they dehumanise others
  • Domestication is about wanting to change other people's consciousness rather than changing the situation
  • Domestication pre-determines a future for people
  • False generosity is about keeping people down, making them believe they are happy with their circumstances
  • Transformative action means we enter into the situation of others so we can fully understand them
  • We create new situations through transforming actions

Week 3
  • Despotic communication strategies force an interplay between dread and hope and separate people
  • There leads to a lack of diversity, lack of full human communication, lack of potential for shifts in consciousness
  • Dewey says that democratic communication is based on mutual interests and free interaction
  • But democratic communication isn't just about accepting everything that others say
  • Mannheim says we can't be either totalitarian or laissez-faire in our interactions with others
  • We need to ask, are we communicating for conformity? Or for variety?
  • Democratic communication is dynamic and needs variety

Week 4
  • It is our 'ontological vocation' to become more fully human
  • To achieve this, we need to be with the world, with others
  • Consciousness is about awareness
  • If we are aware of our situation, if we can see it as it really is, we can change it
  • This is critical consciousness: having an apprehension of the world as it really is
  • Being 'historical' means we can intervene in and transform the world
  • Dialogical communication is true, open, honest, authentic
  • True communication only happens through dialogue
  • Dialogue allows us to 'speak our own words', to speak 'true words', to 'name the world' and to create and re-create the world for ourselves

Some random thoughts from Megan -- I have random thoughts all the time ;)
Humans are frail. That's OK!
How can we liberate ourselves? Can we liberate others?
Can we 'love wastefully'? Or is it safer to parcel out our love? Can we love humanity? Can we love humanly?

4.2.1 Make a start on your own 'checks' (individual reflection)

Example: Megan's checks for herself. yep. you guessed it. it's all about me.
  • What is right and good in this situation?
  • Does this action seek to diminish or enhance others?
  • Am I trying to change another's consciousness, i.e., the way they think about the situation? Or am I working to change the situation itself?
  • Are there any aspects of dread and hope in this relationship or communication? If so, what needs to be done about it?
  • Are my feelings morally justified?
  • Do I need to say or do anything?
  • How might I see things differently?

4.3 Readings and resources

Read Mannheim's chapter on Education, Sociology and the Problem of Social Awareness from Diagnosis of our Time. Huzzah!

Character and moral judgement, by Erich Fromm

Taken from Chapter 4 of Man for Himself. An inquiry into the psychology of ethics
Read the whole book (kind of)

Humanistic judgment of ethical values has the same logical character as a rational judgment in general. In making value judgments one judges facts and does not feel one is godlike, superior, and entitled to condemn or forgive. A judgment that a person is destructive, greedy, jealous, envious is not different from a physician's statement about a dysfunction of the heart or the lungs. Suppose we have to judge a murderer whom we know to be a pathological case. If we could learn all about his heredity, his early and later environment, we would very likely come to the conclusion that he was completely under the sway of conditions over which he had no power; in fact, much more so than a petty thief and, therefore, much more "understandable" than the latter. But this does not mean that we ught not to judge his evilness. We can understand how and why he became what he is, but we can also judge him as to what he is. We can even assume that he would have become like him had we lived under the same circumstances; but while such considerations prevent us from assuming a godlike role, they do not prevent us from moral judgment. The problem of understanding versus judging character is not different from the understanding and judging of any other human performance. If I have to judge the value of a pair of shoes or that of a painting, I do so according to certain objective standards intrinsic to the objects, assuming the shoes or the painting to be of poor quality, and that somebody pointed to the fact that the shoemaker or the painter had tried very hard but that certain conditions made it impossible for him to do better, I will not in either case change my judgment of the product. I may feel sympathy or pity for the shoemaker or the painter, I may feel tempted to help him, but I cannot say that I cannot judge his work because I understand why it is so poor.

Man's main task in life is to give birth to himself, to become what he potentially is. The most important product of his effort in his own personality. One can judge objectively to what extent the person has succeeded in his task, to what degree he has realized his potentialities. If he failed in his task, one can recognize this failure and judge it for what it is -- his moral failure. Even if one knows that the odds against the person were overwhelming and that everyone else would have failed too, the judgment about him remains the same. If one fully understands all the circumstances which made him as he is, one may have compassion for him; yet this compassion does not alter the validity of the judgment. Understanding a person does not mean condoning; it only means that one does not accuse him as if one were God or a judge placed above him.

Part of Chapter 3 of Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paulo Freire.

As we attempt to analyze dialogue as a human phenomenon, we discover something which is the essence of dialogue itself: the word. But the word is more than just an instru­ ment which makes dialogue possible; accordingly, we must seek its constitutive elements. Within the word we find two dimensions, reflection and action, in such radical interaction that if one is sac­ rificed—even in part—the other immediately suffers. There is no true word that is not at the same time a praxis. Thus, to speak a true word is to transform the world.

An unauthentic word, one which is unable to transform reality, results when dichotomy is imposed upon its constitutive elements. When a word is deprived of its dimension of action, reflection auto­ matically suffers as well; and the word is changed into idle chatter, into verbalism, into an alienated and alienating "blah." It becomes an empty word, one which cannot denounce the world, for denuncia­ tion is impossible without a commitment to transform, and there is no transformation without action.

On the other hand, if action is emphasized exclusively, to the detriment of reflection, the word is converted into activism. The latter—action for action s sake—negates the true praxis and makes dialogue impossible. Either dichotomy, by creating unauthentic forms of existence, creates also unauthentic forms of thought, which reinforce the original dichotomy.
Human existence cannot be Silent, nor can it be nourished by false words, but only by true words, with which men and women transform the world. To exist, humanly, is to name the world, to change it. Once named, the world in its turn reappears to the namers as a problem and requires of them a new naming. Human beings are not built in silence, but in word, in work, in action-reflection.

But while to say the true word—which is work, which is praxis—is to transform the world, saying that word is not the privilege of some few persons, but the right of everyone. Consequently, no one can say a true word alone—nor can she say it for another, in a prescriptive act which robs others of their words.

Dialogue is the encounter between men, mediated by the world, in order to name the world. Hence, dialogue cannot occur between those who want to name the world and those who do not wish this naming—between those who deny others the right to speak their word and those whose right to speak has been denied them. Those who have been denied their primordial right to speak their word must first reclaim this right and prevent the continuation of this dehumanizing aggression.

If it is in speaking their word that people, by naming the world, transform it, dialogue imposes itself as the way by which they achieve significance as human beings. Dialogue is thus an existential neces- sity. And since dialogue is the encounter in which the united reflec- tion and action of the dialoguers are addressed to the world which is to be transformed and humanized, this dialogue cannot be re­ duced to the act of one persons "depositing" ideas in another, nor can it become a simple exchange of ideas to be "consumed" by the discussants. Nor yet is it a hostile, polemical argument between those who are committed neither to the naming of the world, nor to the search for truth, but rather to the imposition of their own truth. Because dialogue is an encounter among women and men who name the world, it must not be a situation where some name on behalf of others. It is an act of creation; it must not serve as a crafty instrument for the domination of one person by another. The domination implicit in dialogue is that of the world by the dia­ logues; it is conquest of the world for the liberation of humankind.

Dialogue cannot exist, however, in the absence of a profound love for the world and for people. The naming of the world, which is an act of creation and re-creation, is not possible if it is not infused with love. Love is at the same time the foundation of dialogue and dialogue itself. It is thus necessarily the task of responsible Subjects and cannot exist in a relation of domination. Domination reveals the pathology of love: sadism in the dominator and masochism in the dominated. Because love is an act of courage, not of fear, love is commitment to others. No matter where the oppressed are found, the act of love is commitment to their cause—the cause of liberation. And this commitment, because it is loving, is dialogical. As an act of bravery, love cannot be sentimental; as an act of freedom, it must not serve as a pretext for manipulation. It must generate other acts of freedom; otherwise, it is not love. Only by abolishing the situation of oppression is it possible to restore the love which that situation made impossible. If I do not love the world—if I do not love life—if I do not love people—I cannot enter into dialogue.

On the other hand, dialogue cannot°exist without humility. The naming of the world, through which people constantly re-create that world, cannot be an act of arrogance. Dialogue, as the encounter of those addressed to the common task of learning and acting, is bro- ken if the parties (or one of them) lack humility. How can I dialogue if I always project ignorance onto others and never perceive my own? How can I dialogue if I regard myself as a case apart from others—mere "its" in whom I cannot recognize other "I"s? How can I dialogue if I consider myself a member of the in-group of "pure" men, the owners of truth and knowledge, for whom all non-members are "these people" or "the great unwashed"? How can I dialogue if I start from the premise that naming the world is the task of an elite and that the presence of the people in history is a sign of deteriora- tion, thus to be avoided? How can I dialogue if I am closed to—and even offended by—the contribution of others? How can I dialogue if I am afraid of being displaced, the mere possibility causing me torment and weakness? Self-sufficiency is incompatible with dia- logue. Men and women who lack humility (or have lost it) cannot come to the people, cannot be their partners in naming the world. Someone who cannot acknowledge himself to be as mortal as every- one else still has a long way to go before he can reach the point of encounter. At the point of encounter there are neither utter ignora- muses nor perfect sages; there are only people who are attempting, together, to learn more than they now know.

Dialogue further requires an intense faith in humankind, faith in their power to make and remake, to create and re-create, faith in their vocation to be more fully human (which is not the privilege of an elite, but the birthright of all). Faith in people is an a priori requirement for dialogue; the "dialogical man" believes in others even before he meets them face to face. His faith, however, is not naive. The "dialogical man" is critical and knows that although it is within the power of humans to create and transform, in a concrete situation of alienation individuals may be impaired in the use of that power. Far from destroying his faith in the people, however, this possibility-strikes him as a challenge to which he must respond He is convinced that the power to create and transform, even when thwarted in concrete situations, tends to be reborn. And that rebirth can occur—not gratuitously, but in and through the struggle for liberation—in the supersedence of slave labor by emancipated labor which gives zest to life. Without this faith in people, dialogue is a farce which inevitably degenerates into paternalistic manipulation.

Founding itself upon love, humility, and faith, dialogue becomes a horizontal relationship of which mutual trust between the dia­ logues is the logical consequence. It would be a contradiction in terms if dialogue—loving, humble, and full of faith—did not pro­ duce this climate of mutual trust, which leads the dialoguers into ever closer partnership in the naming of the world. Conversely, such trust is obviously absent in the anti-dialogics of the banking method of education. Whereas faith in humankind is an a priori requirement for dialogue, trust is established by dialogue. Should it founder, it will be seen that the preconditions were lacking. False love, false humility, and feeble faith in others cannot create trust. Trust is contingent on the evidence which one party provides the others of his true, concrete intentions; it cannot exist if that party's words do not coincide with their actions. To say one thing and do another—to take one's own word lightly—cannot inspire trust. To glorify democ­ racy and to silence the people is a farce; to discourse on humanism and to negate people is a lie.

Nor yet can dialogue exist without hope. Hope is rooted in men's incompletion, from which they move out in constant search—a search which can be carried out only in communion with others. Hopelessness is a form of silence, of denying the world and fleeing from it. The dehumanization resulting from an unjust order is not a cause for despair but for hope, leading to the incessant pursuit of the humanity denied by injustice. Hope, however, does not consist in crossing ones arms and waiting. As long as I fight, I am moved by hope; and if I fight with hope, then I can wait. As the encounter of women and men seeking to be more fully human, dialogue cannot be carried on in a climate of hopelessness. If the dialoguers expect nothing to come of their efforts, their encounter will be empty and sterile, bureaucratic and tedious.

Finally, true dialogue cannot exist unless the dialoguers engage in critical thinking—thinking which discerns an indivisible solidarity between the world and the people and admits of no dichotomy between them—thinking which perceives reality as process, as transformation, rather than as a static entity—thinking which does not separate itself from action, but constantly immerses itself in temporality without fear of the risks involved.