Thursday, September 24, 2009

The ZigZag Café

We will be convening here at the ZigZag café, Suisse, on Thursdays for conversation and dialogue. I invite you to stop by every Thursday for the question of the day. Your thoughts and participation are most welcome. Pull up a stool, avec un café, un thé, ou un chocolat chaud, et un croissant, and join in here on Thursday at the ZZ café.

For today:

Today, in many disciplines of thought, it is other contexts rather than one’s own that count. Do you think it’s possible or advantageous to aim to ignore one’s own context in the light of the other’s context?


Lukas und Céline Kuhs said...

If I want to discuss something with someone having another view on something, I have to leave my context of thought in order to be able to understand him.

Otherwise, there will be no dialogue but rather two monologues!

For my evaluation or my implementation though, this must happen from both sides...

Greg said...

Thanks. Good point about dialogue. Seems to be the case, even with ourselves - we should recognize the dialogue within us that helps make us who we are and then be in dialogue with the other. Monologues are far from the real thing, although they often attempt to be.

I guess I do wonder if leaving our own context is possible in order to understand someone else.

Lukas und Céline Kuhs said...

Take a theological question, where one knows both sides. Leaving the context is possible there in my opinion. Only then you can understand, what the other believes. Otherwise it will be all nonsense to you.

Our problem is far too often, that we are not willing to put ourselves into the others position (of mind(context). That is NOT love. And I guess it lacks so often...

Therefore I would say: Yes it is possible, if you love!

Greg said...

Helpful comments, but I'm not convinced we can ever leave or ignore our own context. I agree with you that we need to make a strong effort to put ourselves in the other person's position and that love will get us further towards that than not loving, but it seems to me that we can only love through our own contexts as we reach out to the other. We always will have our own contexts, and if that is the case, it will depend on how we view them, in seeking to real-ly relate to the other.

Rhett & Valerie said...

Could we not say that there is a shared context- that of our common humanity? I don't think that as a limited human being I can put myself in another's place, but as a member of humanity, I can reach out to others, without leaving my (our) context.

Greg said...

Thanks. Yes, shared context as humans. Excellent thought. That would mean we should be able to engage one another, while remaining ourselves. Unfortunately, it is often the social, economic, philosophical, and theological, to mention a few, contexts that tend divide us and to make us unable to see the place of legitimate context transfer in these types of areas, for the sake of Christ.

Rhett & Valerie said...

Hey Greg,

I don't know if it's wise to always "ignore" one's own context, though many of us seem to ignore that we even have a context unlike someone else's. But I do think it's possible to make the effort (and succeed) at participating/viewing something from another's perspective and context. In fact, I think it's necessary in a loving relationship. The consequences, though, are that when two people (or more) make the effort to step out of their context and into another's, the result will always lead to some kind of transformation or change for both of them(which can be very uncomfortable). Like Lukas said, it's no longer two monologues, but a dialogue instead, and I think true dialogue can't help but lead to transformation.


Greg said...

Thanks. Seems to me that we are not able to ignore our own context - that would be impossible. You make a good point that sometimes people are unaware that they even have a context, but of course unawareness of what is doesn't make it be what it is not. We are always in a context.

As you highlight, and I agree with, we can successfully enter into another's context and this in turn will have an impact on our own context and this will lead to some kind of transformation.

Well, hard as we try to do this - intersubjective monologues fail because we are, aware of it or not, in dialogue with ourselves, before we enter into dialogue with another person. And true dialogue, I agree, will be transformative.

harry coe maynard said...


Hebrews 2:3

Greg said...

Thanks Harry coe.