I didn't grow up in a culture where politics, religion, economics and sexuality were divisive conversations. My development instead prepared me for the sensibility that people across apparent divides could have civil, if not meaningful, dialogue. The sense of dialogue was what I would come to learn to be dialogue contrasting with debate.
All the years I taught this distinction in graduate schools, I preferred the perspective of quantum physicist, David Bohm, who suggests that the object of debate is win-lose competition for the conversion of others and the object of dialogue is mutual learning for mutual gain.
As I listen to the amazingly divisive conversations in personal and public contexts, I am struck by the sense that people literally don't know how to have conversations of dialogue that ends in curiosity, empathy and respect instead of anxiety, hate and isolation. That's in part what motivates my work on this year's book that focuses on the art of conversations. There appears to be a huge learning curve calling for this work.