Ω Social grounding vs. immediate trust


(Tom Murray) #1

Hi everyone—I’d like to kick-start a conversation on social grounding vs. immediate trust.

On the zoom call Daniel G. mentioned that it takes many hours to build the social capital and shared meaning before productive dialogue can happen (that is my memory and re-framing of it). Very true, especially if the group moves into decision-making modes. Layman also wondered to what extent a group is limited until it goes in far enough risk to move past being nice and allows real differences, disagreements, and dissonance to emerge.

From another perspective, in an early email Bonnie raised the question of the possibility of immediate trust. My interpretation of this is: what do individuals have to drop or leave behind in order to enter into dialogue fully and immediately? And what is possible, perhaps in a shorter amount of time, when they do?

Which, for me, brings up the question of skillfulness. If one gathers together a group that does not have a concrete shared history, but has a shared capacity for “going deep”—what is made more possible? (That is the elitist version; the more democratic version would ask what are the entry requirements and support systems needed to allow less skilled individuals to enter into such a space.)

Stable productive groups capable of deep dialogue are difficult to come by, and are somewhat miraculous when they do happen (think of all of the failed attempts to get a group to hang together after conferences or workshops). But, there seems to be a place for “invitational flash mobs” of the sort we are experimenting with, where opportunities are set up to allow a group to discover a few insights together that did not exist before.

What do you think?


(Geoff Fitch) #2

Hey Tom - there’s so much opened up by your post, but I’ll just respond to the title question a bit. In my experience, the more you go into this, the more it becomes just about a practice of immediate trust. Why start anywhere else? Why not be in that place right now? But a question inside this question is, is trust dependent on conditions? The paradoxes of group life work points out that trust is paradoxical, that you can’t ultimately determine if the environment is trustable without trusting first. I think when people make a choice to trust, it is quite immediate. Of course these choices together create a culture which enables depth, which imo is an important factor. To wonder what leads up to that, we have to consider also just the general way in which we walk around with a closed heart, holding out a bargain for something better. This to me is a more important question and as a side effect leads to more immediate deep dialogs.

But there are also a lot of other factors involved with what makes a deep conversation other than trust. There is time needed to build context in a conversation. I can’t just say “the” and all of a sudden there’s insight (most of the time :slight_smile: ) There is also danger in subtly instrumentalizing human relationship. There is another perspective that shows that human relationships have a life of their own. Sometimes you can go deep in a minute; sometimes you can spend years in the shallows; sometimes you have a lifetime of conversation and others you can’t seem to find two words to rub together; all for reasons we can’t simply overcome through will.


(Marco V Morelli) #3

The question of ‘trust’ raises the questions for me:

  • What is one afraid of?
  • What is being put at risk?
    • or, What is at stake in the situation?
  • What is there to trust in?

I think trust has something to do with expectations. If we can expect to be treated in a positive manner in a given context—which can be signalled through all sorts of cues, some of which may take time to establish—then we can open up to sharing from deeper levels of our being, not just mental but soul and spiritual level material.

Also, I think Geoff is right that relationships have a life of their own, and since groups are made of webs of relationships, then really this whole thing has a life of its own. I am still not sure what the @deepdialogue group is really about or what it wants to be, beyond these open-ended sessions. It doesn’t have to be anything in particular, but I do hope we can assume some trust and go deep in this next session, whatever that might mean.


(Penelope) #4

Yes! I’d love to hear more about this, Geoff.


(Geoff Fitch) #5

Penelope,

I want to quote something from Tom’s original post but in doing so I don’t want to suggest that he was subtly instrumentalizing relationship; only that it strikes me that this is inherent in so much of our modern thinking that it is just something to be mindful of, and that these words are a good launching point to what I want to say. When we say something like:

You can see we might be leaning into seeing the occasion as an opportunity to exploit ourselves for some (ok maybe not so) concrete gain. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but we might also be missing an important aspect of relationship in the same way that when we see a forest as ‘resource’ we miss something important and beautiful.

Probably the greatest example of this for me in our world today is dating websites, where you can seemingly order up a relationship with a database search; at one point we used to say ‘marriages were made in heaven’, in other words, the mystery and magic of a relationship’s truth is given to us, not something we merely create (although obviously this is partial, as we have a role in their creation.) Maybe this is similar to Jorge Ferrer’s suggestion to see spiritual experiences not merely being self created but rather as being non-local events in which we participate, which in this context would open for me a sense of wonder and grace in these dialogs that they occur and we get to participate in their depths.

Not meaning to overemphasize this in the context over this specific inquiry but just to say this is what I was referring to.


(Tom Murray) closed #6