Diversity and Dialogue
Dialogue is not only appreciating diversity, but it essentially relies on it! Dialogue has the potential to teach us aspects of reality that are not yet integrated parts of our experience or awareness.
The ancient Indian story of The Blind Men and an Elephant is a colourful example of diversity’s necessity and power. In the parable, a group of blind men surround an elephant to learn about its shape. After touching it, they compare their experiences and start to fight with each other: ‘An elephant has the shape of a tree’ says the one who touched it’s leg. ‘No, no, an elephant is like a wall,’ says the one who touched its side. ‘No way, an elephant is like a snake,’ says the one who touched its trunk. When a sighted man walks by and describes the entire elephant, the blind men get a glimpse of the ‘full picture.’ The story illustrates that our subjective experiences can be true, but that they are limited.
We apply the story’s message to this work by saying: We need the ‘Other’! We need to hear diverse experiences and perspectives in order to grow a more complete image of reality. We need intercultural and interracial dialogue in order to better understand and serve the vibrant, aching, and diverse world we live in. To avoid conflict will not solve deep seated separation and social injustices. We need to grow the capacity and courage to address conflicts by processing them in safe spaces. Explore the real and incredible potentials on our page On Conflict Transformation.