Is Discussion also Inquiry?

Posted April 2, 2011 by DyckDyck in Open

commented on Feb. 23, 2012
by slowlygetnthar



I'm seeing a fair amount of Agreement and Disagreement in our Discussions. At times its explicit, polite. At other times implied, contentious, defensive, ingratiating, etc.. So, it makes me wonder the purpose of 'Discussion'.

..... If discussion is used to assert ones opinions, to build an image, to 'sell' something, then it is quite important- Agreement and Disagreement. If in discussion one unwittingly avoids fearsome areas, seeks safety in the 'group', etc., again Agreement and Disagreement are important.

...... But, to the inquiring mind it is not agreement that discovers truth nor what is real. In fact, it obscures it, perhaps even thinking that voting on truth makes a difference to truth.

..... My view of the inquiring mind is one that is supple, tentative about what is 'knows', affectionate, humorous, affirming & respectful of others, open, creative. Yet this mind has strength, courage, innocence... to stand alone, to take risk, to be hurt, to be free!

So, I post this to shine a light on what we're doing. Do you look with the innocent eyes of a curious excited child? If not, then be your own quest. Teach us to listen and love your diverse intellect, to discover ourselves in you.

  • slowlygetnthar Feb 23, 2012

    If inquiry = exploration, then, yes, discussion is inquiry.

    There is a school of thought in the disciplines studying rhetoric that "everything is an argument." So, expecting discussion and not argument might be an impossibility!

    According to Aristotle, however, not everything is an argument, since some things are other types of discourse: questions, commands, salutations, warnings, statements of facts, statements of belief, etc.,...

    According to Plato, Socrates thought the purpose of argument was to arrive at the truth.

    Aristotle thought the purpose of argument was to arrive at clarity, basically saying that argument is a process of inquiry meant to increase knowledge via raising questions and addressing issues. The Latin root, the word Arguare=to make clear.

    So, in these discussion boards, some folks are doing non-arguments, stating facts & beliefs, and raising questions. The questions raised are not problematic, but our responses are, if we lack civility while we try to have discourse exploring all these topics, trying to arrive at some sort of clarity about them, for ourselves. Many discussions express spiritual proclivities and touch bones of contention being picked in the sciences, now, thus are treading thin earth. It is natural that there would be some tension here.

    Maybe some of the discourse seems even more insensitive, because we cannot hear one another speaking--but are trying to communicate through the limited medium of cyberspace.

    Still, I think that IONS draws exactly the kind of folks you are hoping for--supple minded, inquiring, exploring, more open than most. We may arrive at truths/clarity, for ourselves, by bumping up against others, knocking edges off our assumptions, re-examining our beliefs, and reconfiguring what we think. It sounds a little bit like sculpting--pulling a coherent form/structure out of a rock. So, there may be a little head-banging, knicked knuckles, and dust kicked up, but through these discussions, we are better shaping our minds, here, I think....I hope...
    I would have a lot less hope for unity if we had all basically given up trying to discuss these questions with anyone...

  • Anonymous Icon

    BECHAMEL Feb 23, 2012

    EthanT, interesting about the elephant, that analogy. If you were any of car insurance companies at various points, i would say i feel the elephants leg so it is a leg, then get told by company WRONG, there is no elephant, that i only imagined there is an elephant, then take away the elephant and use its absence as evidence of my being implausible. With discussions there are often provocateurs studied in devaluing persons, so categorizing what discussions are or are not probably is dependent upon environment to some degree.

  • Anonymous Icon

    LawrenceCarson Jan 29, 2012

    Sorry .... the posting got away from me .... continuing ...

    QUESTION #2) With all that "certainty of knowing" ... how valuable is that thing we FEEL and label "certainty?"

    QUESTION #3) Is certainty an emotion or a feeling? Could the NATURE of this question ... and where we need to send our awareness to-go-to … in order to retrieve the answer ... have any value in advancing the SHIFT that IONS is still looking for … that humanity desperately needs?


  • Anonymous Icon

    LawrenceCarson Jan 29, 2012

    DyckDyck ... after my last post ... here is a quandry I now find my mind in. You posted ..."Levels of certainty of knowing from weakest to strongest (incl the spiritual domain):

    QUESTION #1) Check below which attribute "generally and most often" leads into to ....

    .......................................................LOVE ..............cs ................ WAR
    1. Hope
    2. Belief
    3. Instinct
    4. Intellect (40-50%)
    5. Intuition
    6. Insight
    7. Illumination
    8. Realization (experiential)
    9. I Am (state)

    QUESTION #2)

  • Anonymous Icon

    LawrenceCarson Jan 29, 2012

    WOW !!! Is Discussion also Inquiry? I “LOVE” that question.

    To me ... discussion is inquiry ... but only when all persons arrive at mutual levels of wisdom. Arguments say more about certainty than competency. It seems to me … to be a Universal Principle ... That one’s level of Confidence seems to have an inverse relationship to Competence. If they can’t define “TRUTH” in a simple sentence … how in the world can they claim to recognize it with such a confusing camouflage? Even Socrates would like to know. :-D

    Please allow me to share and explain.
    Let’s say someone states a "belief" as though it was ... is ... and always will be a fact.

    > First response ... wisdom smile inside but not for why you think.

    > Second response ... the higher knowing "us" asks our lower knowing self ... "Where must you travel in the realms of infinite possibilities ... where all matters of context and content are in infinite flux ... in order for that statement to be "dead and right on!"

    > Third response ... your inner self takes that as an Easter Egg Hunting expedition ... and off it goes ... 12 directions all at the same time ... time passes ...and WHAM! the answer is found ... revealed to the conscious awareness ... and you get the answer. You now know exactly what must be so ...for that idiotic statement to be true ...

    > Final response ... your Smile gets wider ... deeper ... and longer. You now know where your discussion partner is at.

    To say this in a different way:
    Do you want to "Believe in Christ" ... or the Buddha ..... or .... do you want to believe with them.?


  • DyckDyck Dec 07, 2011

    Glad to see this discussion resurrected itself. Something to add after reading the most recent (& interesting) posts.

    Levels of certainty of knowing from weakest to strongest (incl the spiritual domain):

    1. Hope
    2. Belief
    3. Instinct
    4. Intellect (40-50%)
    5. Intuition
    6. Insight
    7. Illumination
    8. Realization (experiential)
    9. I Am (state)

  • Saoirse Dec 02, 2011

    And... that is why the studies have to be run multiple times, and by different researchers, until there's enough data in to form conclusions -- because independent replication and review help to counter the issues of individual biases and errors. Glad you checked in! Looking forward to you being back on a regular basis.

  • Fallensoul Dec 02, 2011

    tested empirically, and peer reviewed with the same unreliable and limited senses?? The result can only provide a limited view of that objective reality. And even that limited view is subject to change as "science corrects itself".

    p.s still on the road

  • Saoirse Dec 01, 2011

    Lawrence asked: “How can you tell the difference between a really powerful belief vs. the truth?

    This is why things need to be tested empirically, and peer reviewed. If we base our beliefs on what we feel to be true, or what we want to be true, or what unreliable senses tell us is true, we can never get past belief systems to look at objective reality.

  • Anonymous Icon

    LawrenceCarson Dec 01, 2011

    Discussion ... lets see ... what was the original "meaning" assigned to that "word?" It comes from Latin, i.e. dis = apart + quatere = to shake. Sort of reminds me of its cousin word "percussion." And niether seems to me to be of the mindset of a mind of curious inquiry.

    That being said ... and skipping all the noise and belief blather effects … that are still plaguing mankind ... I sense that the bottom line is that people are held in ball-and-chain to their Opinion Libraries of beliefs ... and rarely are able to manage their beliefs. If they were ... they would attempt to personally "Experience" Where Others Had to Go ... to sense their Beliefs about their truth realities.

    Beliefs are Alpha … mankind in her/his current state of evolution are the slaves to the illusionary sense of security provided by their beliefs.

    And why is this - one may ask?
    Because we are addicted to the illusionary sense of identity … that our beliefs hold us to. (Plato's Cave of Ignorance) We reject other’s ideas … their different belief maps that were/are experientially based.

    Our firmly held convictions (we are the imprisoned convicts of the cave) are “the box” we say we want to get out of … yet we fear if we detach and transcend these pesky little belif jailers … we will find we have no identity … which we will then sense we will die. It’s the hidden beliefs that controls our emotions of the fear of loss of all we value.

    It is my experience that rarely can we find the true explorer … willing to employ the infinite visa of CURIOSITY … to look beyond his or her “Illusionary Mirrors of their Beliefs” … to experience the higher reality of being.

    Perhaps the next time one notices discussions … arguments … and disagreements among our friends we might ask the following questions:

    . 1 - “How can you tell the difference between a really powerful belief vs. the truth?

    And then after they mentally explore and report out their pre-programmed … epistemological system of discernment (give them all the time they need by offering them the space of silent listning …. Then ask them …

    . 2 – So if your mind’s “current epistemological pattern programming” can tell the difference between a belief vs. an absolute Truth …

    then ask them…

    Please help me. Will you share with me your simple … one sentence definition of Absolute Truth.

    (Odds have it … we espouse the truth yet cannot really cogently define it. And in NLP terms … if we do not define our objective we will never recognize it when it blind-sides us on the head.)

    Great Question you asked. Thank you very much. I only wish the world of explorers would question everything and never … ever accept just one belief because … a belief of one denies choice … negates free agency … and our ever-learning evolutionary purpose.

    Lawrence Carson - Boise/Meridain

  • DyckDyck Oct 11, 2011

    You're lucky to have a regular forum for dialogue. I very much enjoy that myself, what you describe, when I can get it. (as an aside) I have a regular dose of dialogue in my play (for adults). We play with all forms of expression and witnessing (listening). Much of it is beyond just words and the verbal. www.InterPlay.org

    Back to Inquiry: Spiritual and anything else, I don't make a distinction, as everything seems connected to me and hence on-the-table.

    How to discuss? Now that's quite the challenge... and perhaps the point of everything- Relationships. I will be brief and just say that affection or love changes everything in any kind of dialogue. It even seems to be the answer to everything. It is perhaps a love beyond what we're ready to understand, except maybe for a gifted few. Hopefully, this kind of love lies ahead, those who have begun their journey.

  • Saoirse Oct 10, 2011

    Pretty close :-) I'm just used to an environment where discussion and disagreement are a vital part of the normal process, and ideas are something we have, not something we are. Things are always being revised as new information comes in, and no one individual can be totally objective so discussion can be quite lively. But people don't take it personally or stomp out in a huff, because it ISN'T personal. It's just brainstorming. The point is to put the ideas to the test and see if they stand up, Of course there are personal emnities that arise between scientists just like any other people, but in general disagreement and discussion are a normal part of the process. It's how stuff gets done and sometimes it's just recreational -- it's FUN to play with ideas, tear them down and build them up again in a more accurate or more efficient way.

    In spiritual circles, it seems to be socially inappropriate to raise alternative theories, or disagree in any way, and questioning or disagreeing with a theory or idea seems to be perceived as a personal attack, For me, it feels really claustrophobic, like trying to go for a hike in a box. full of land mines. You can never just relax and walk, because you have to check every step in advance to make sure you're not going to set something off. I'm here because the ideas are intiguing, but it's not a culture I was raised in. For people who were raised in it, it's probably second nature. For someone coning in from outside, the navigation can be a little tricky.

    As far as the inquiry being solitary -- not necessarily. Most of the research I've been involved with, I've been part of a team. Parts of it are solitary but eventually it all comes back to the discussion floor.

  • DyckDyck Oct 10, 2011

    Hi Saoirsi,
    Sounds like you might be in the sciences or academia, no?. You're saying inquiry is a solitary activity for you, and that you have a 'place' where ego doesn't exist or interfere with your 'science'. When you're ready you bring the subject into the light (of others) to get others perspective. You find discussion useful but exclude yourself from those your second para describes. Am I getting what you're saying?

  • Saoirse Oct 08, 2011

    I don't think that discussion and inquiry are (or should be) the same thing. I think inquiry is what happens before discussion, and is accomplished by research. For me, discussion is the place where we take what we've figured out through inquiry and put it out there for others to tear apart. One person can't be totally objective, and emotion can cloud logic so that we confuse what is true with what we want to be true. So once I've finished with the inquiry stage, I think it's important to put my logic and conclusions out there so that others can help me find the flaws in it -- the places I may have fallen victim to logical fallacy, or misinterpreted the data.

    However, there's a danger in discussion outside of the realm of academia, because a lot of people are unable to separate themselves from their ideas. They see a challenge to their ideas as an attack on their person, and lash out emotionally in response. You say, "I disagree with your theory" and they hear it as, "I think you're an idiot," which can make it difficult to engage in meaningful discussion. The other common thing that I find inhibits open discussion is that a lot of people define "closed-minded" as "I've told you my theory and you've failed to agree with it." That approach is pretty much the definition of closed minded in itself, but it's used as an emotional defense, and for the same reason as the above -- identifying so closely with one's ideas that one feels threatened if one's ideas are questioned.

  • DyckDyck Oct 07, 2011

    Thank you for such honest responses.

    Why my propulsion to engage in dialogue? This has been with me always... the need to engage others. Now, at 67 I figure it must be my way to learn about myself, who I am. I look at the mirror you hold up for me... in your listening... in your response... in your silence...

    Since I am continuously changing it appears an endless task. Especially when now I am seeing that to know myself is to know the world, to know you.

    So I am looking to understand (perhaps not mentally) how I can grasp that we are one, unity... one soul... that our physical world is illusion... and that the only reality is love (God).

    I have been reading, no ... rather pouring over me, God Speaks by Meher Baba.

  • Anonymous Icon

    dontkno Oct 01, 2011

    thank you! Sometimes in my enthusiasm I come off as angry,offensive,know it all.........but i'm desperately seeking the truth,and more and more it seems that it's within,and very accessible but it seems like I'm reinventing the wheel as I struggle along.

  • Anonymous Icon

    workinprogress Sep 29, 2011

    Yes I certainly hope that discussion is also inquiry, otherwise why the need to share ideas and experiences with others?. We would KNOW IT ALL. Although the way some of us respond (may infer that we do know it all...) I for one embrace the different views and opinions... and I do mean OPINIONS
    ( what is it they say EVERYONE has ONE?!)

  • Anonymous Icon

    EthanT Apr 02, 2011

    I always liked the little Hindu story of the blind men and the elephant. One was touching the leg and saying an elephant is a leg. The other a tail saying an elephant is a tail. The other the snout saying an elephant is a snout and so on. None of them could see the elephant for the whole creature that it is, and all were only seeing part of the truth.

    Actually, the fact that were talking shows we don't know much, according to the another old saying, "He who knows, does not talk" ;-)

    I like to approach discussions on spirituality, psychic ability, etc, along those lines. There's so much we don't know and some things we have trouble communicating even if we do know.

    So, it's nice to have lively dicussions with each other, especially if we don't see things the same way, because some times that helps us "wake" each other up. And, I think so long as we are open to each other's viewpoints, dicussions will be fruitful.

    However, if we claim our way is the only way, that immediately breaks down communication channels and plants the seeds of contention. It's exclusive, rather than inclusive. But, I haven't really noticed that on IONS site.

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