ecological spirit



“Dialogue” comes from the Greek dialogos which means “through words”. Bohm discusses that if the spirit of the dialogue is present then there is no attempt to win an argument or discussion, or even make a particular view prevail. It is about common participation, in which people are not against each other but work with each other. So, in a dialogue, everybody wins (“David Bohm Society,” 2023).

History has shown that normal-scientific practice should separate the actual facts from a theory (Kuhn, 1970). However, they are often not perceived separate, there is not always honest science (Watts, 1951). Although honest science or truth is an idealistic viewpoint, and possibly unachievable (Bohm, 1992, 2003; Chong & Druckman, 2007; Gregory, 2018; Sang, 2009) it can lead to a false path where the map is confused with the territory (Korzybski, 2004; Scott, 1998). When the paradigm is fixed there is an irresolvable disagreement or logical disjunction in a scientific argument or theory when challenged with an alternative argument or theory (Kuhn, 1970). This lack of aporia is an ideological viewpoint where the belief in the scientific and technical process becomes polarised or dogmatic. When the scientific message is polarised, this division leads to conflict in the scientific community (Bohm, 1992; Bohm et al., 1996; Bohm & Krishnamurti, 2004). Science advocacy can replace honest science (Pielke, 2007).

The lack of aporia, or situation where science is taken as a matter of fact, has been observed by many scholars and leads to scientific bias (Agassi, 2016; Bohm, 1980, 1992, 2003, 2013; Bohm et al., 1996; Capra, 1975; Chong & Druckman, 2007; Cummings, Bridgman, & Brown, 2016; Foucault, 2005; Hall & Deardorff, 2006; Kuhn, 1970; Lakoff, 2008, 2010, 2014; Lambert et al., 2014; Parenti, 1986, 1996; Rosling, 2019; Scott, 1998). It thus appears that when a scientific fact is not aporetic the dogma destroys dialogue. Aporetic is used here rhetorically in terms of a doubt, uncertainty, and scepticism to the science.

David Bohm stated that dialogue can be considered as a free flow of meaning between people in communication (Bohm, 2013). With dialogue there is no predefined intention except the inquiry into the flow of thought and investigating the process of thinking collectively together. This allows group participants to consider preconceptions and prejudices behind their thought processes and meanings.

The intention is to enable an awareness of why verbal communicating is more difficult and open to division and conflict. Bohm stated that discussions and debates are more associated with reaching a defined outcome whereas dialogue is about exploring learning with an open conclusion (Bohm, 2013).  This is where there is a division between politics and science. Politics, rather than science, is a reductionist process aiming to create a single preferred choice of action (Pielke, 2007). Whereas honest science seeks to provide clarity on the scope (expanding it).

Policy and decision makers aim to frame situations appropriately to allow the scope to narrow the focus based on their own preferences. Science must remain impartial and free from political interference (Feynman, 2005). Dialogue allows the observer to go into the whole thought process and change the way the thought process occurs collectively. Doing so avoids conflict, dialogue is a tool for scientific inquiry (Bohm, 2013).

Scientific inquiry should be seen as a continuing process of exploring and discovering rather than aiming for a pre-determined outcome where science is often taken as a matter of fact (“David Bohm Society,” 2023). Hence the aim, in dialogue, is to engage with others who have different perspectives and experiences, to gain new insights and create new ideas that might not be possible without such collaboration.

“No government has the right to decide on the truth of scientific principles, nor to prescribe in any way the character of the questions investigated. Neither may a government determine the aesthetic value of artistic creations, nor limit the forms of literary or artistic expression. Nor should it pronounce on the validity of economic, historic, religious, or philosophical doctrines. Instead it has a duty to its citizens to maintain freedom, to let those citizens contribute to the further adventure and the development of the human race”  (Feynman, 2005).


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Gregory, J. (2018). Effortless Living. Wu-Wei and the Spontaneous State of Natural Harmony. Simon and Schuster.

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