‘Turning conflict into conversation’ — that is what DIALOGIC aims to do in mediation. I look at what is going on for each party at the micro-level of their conversation, the parry of comments back and forth. And, I look at what and how they express their differences at the level of their conversation as a whole. In trying to do that, I also am considering what I can say, if anything at all, that will support, but not supplant, each of the parties in becoming clearer about the decisions they face, and that they alone can make, as well as about the options open and the resources available to them. So language is key.
Every poet knows that the gift of the gods is not fire but language. “Man dwells poetically on this earth,” Hölderlin wrote. Language is the essence of being human. We can think, thanks to language, for thought exists only by the grace of words. Our experiences and emotions are molded by language. It is language that allows us to name and know the world. We ourselves are known by language, through prayer, confession, poetry. Language gives us a world that reaches beyond the reality of the moment, to a past (there was …) and a future (there shall be …). It is through language that eternity has a space and that the dead continue to speak: “Defunctus adhuc loquitur” (Hebrews, 11:14). Thanks to language, there is meaning, there is truth.