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Conversation as a Change Agent
August 5, 2002

"The winds and waves are always on the side of the ablest navigators." —Edward Gibbon


In the July/August 2002 issue of Utne Reader (www.utne.com), Margaret Wheatley talks about how every great social achievement began with a simple conversation. In her article, "Some Friends and I Started Talking...", she observes...

"A surprising but important element of conversation is a willingness to be disturbed, to allow our beliefs and ideas to be challenged by what others think. No one person or perspective can solve our problems. We have to be willing to let go of our certainty and be confused for a time.

"Most of us weren't trained to admit what we don't know. We haven't been rewarded for being confused, or for asking questions rather than giving quick answers. We were taught to sound certain and confident. But the only way to understand the world in its complexity is to spend more time in the state of not knowing. It is very difficult to give up our certainties -- the positions, beliefs, and explanations that lie at the heart of our personal identities. And I am not saying that we have to give up what we believe. We only need to be curious about what others believe, and to acknowledge that their way of interpreting the world might be essential to us."

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