Mahatma Gandhi Community Forum

Both Sides Now, Equal Time Recorded Dialogues Dialectic Forum


There is a huge deficit for society in having access to 'balanced' media in order to hear both sides of issues.  Mohandas Gandhi as a lawyer and community advocate engaged both sides to express and realize their 'best intentions' individually and together.  Recently there have been some posts on GandhiTopia such as 'Satyagraha Reinvented' which in not recognizing the violence of the Arab Spring, bombing of Libya and continuing armed street protest and the overwhelming one-sided media coverage to these tragedies, does not distinguish the very essence by which the word 'Satyagraha' ('truth-search') was coined and prescribed to be used by Mohandas Gandhi.


Social Media has made a practice of promoting one side of issues, stirring up 'hates' much in the way George Orwell described in his book '1984'.  There is evidence that the well-financed CIA and other national intelligence networks are using social media such as Facebook to stir 'hate' at which they also arm dissidents.  The mujahideen of Afghanistan was stirred and armed to fight the Russians during the 1970 - 90s directly leading to 9 - 11 and other events.  It is time for individuals, communities and governments to expect both sides of issues and reject one sided media whether social, print, radio, TV, internet etc.  It is also time for every organization, business, government, institution and media such as GandhiTopia to provide formal dialectic Forums for interaction, to build capacity and to right wrongs.

BOTH SIDES NOW, EQUAL TIME RECORDED DIALOGUE The dialectic 'debate' (French 'de' = 'undo' + 'bate' = 'the fight') process with which I advocate is Both Sides Now, BSN Equal Time Recorded Dialogues  described as a step by step procedure on our website in a couple of complementary sections one following this one with some graphics.  I was raised with a practice of debating issues in my family, was involved in debate in school, have been involved for 43 years in social, economic and environmental solidarity and improvement and have developed and employed this BSN process.

Both Sides Now provides options at a number of levels upon which the 'dialectic' (two-sided) process facilitates formal individual, organization and community interaction.  The following is a general overview of the process between two individuals.  The process is 'fractal' meaning to occur on all levels so as to be replicable interpersonally and internationally.  On the indigene Community website many of these situation appropriate procedures and levels are described in much greater detail.


Formal debate is not 'Idle banter' ('presentation of opposing views through informal dialogue') as referred to by many today.  In formal debate a procedure, opening statements, place, time and duration are agreed upon beforehand and a recording is made so as to provide each participant and if published a wider audience of stakeholders or interested people with the text, audio, visual and graphic recordings for future reference.


'Dialectics' ('both-sides') maintain and support individual or group viewpoints but create a formal space in which we meet to dialogue.  In our aggressive 'exogenous' (L = 'other-generated') society people are used to dominance in public and often private domaines.  Both Sides Now supports both sides as complementary parts of the human whole.  Participants must agree to come as well as to agree upon a place, time and duration.  Organizations can have policies requiring dialectic resolution.  Because humans are inter-dependent social creatures, dialectics are a human right at all levels.  Social relations require commitments to formal dialogue at certain times or periodically.  Through formal dialectic rights participants can leave disagreements aside, enjoy each other's company but as well have occasion to formally consider factors.  It is absolutely essential for society, government, business, education etc have proper dialectic channels, so there is no recourse to violence.


Typically 90 minutes divided equally with 45 minutes speaking time for each participant is sufficient.  Other agreed upon durations are possible with participant consensus.  It is possible only through participant consensus to shorten or lengthen this time during a 'debate'.   90 minutes recorded dialogues are a huge improvement upon the typical discord human individuals and societies typically carry over the course of lifetimes.


Typically during the course of living and working together issues come up.  Some may wish to explore possibilities, court or research together and others have grievances or displeasure from some aspect of common engagement.  Organizational dialectic policy provides individuals with a channel within which, to work and grow together within diverse perspectives and concerns.  I have experienced some remarkable cooperative working and business agreements come out of the recorded dialogue process.  Diversity is a strength if different components are channelled in relationship.


With institutional or corporate policy maintaining a Both Sides Now procedure as a dialectic right, then one, both or many individuals may ask the other to sit down at a scheduled date (convenient to both) in order to explore issues together.  The person initiating the procedure will typically issue a statement of interest or concern which forms an initiating context for the discussion.  It is suggested that this statement be short at a couple to a few paragraphs outlining major issues.  The other person will then respond with a statement of their own viewpoint and issues similarly short.  At the recorded session, each participant will read their individual statements at the opening to be included in the recording.


Both parties issue a statement for what level of confidentiality or publicity for the dialogue which they are comfortable with.  Private issues which do not go beyond a couple or partnership can be open or closed dialogues.  Family issues may or may not be shared among various levels of family relations.  Corporate or organizational issues may or may not be shared with various levels of stakeholders.  Some information may be determined to stay within the bounds of its principles, however we can all benefit from openly sharing our individual, community as well as our corporate concerns.  This sharing comes through recording and publishing as the participants agree.


The one who initiated the process speaks first with his or her opening statement, the other then speaks his or her statement.  Every time a participant speaks, they record this time on their stop watch (found on most watches).  Each speaker speaks as long or as short as desired for each statement until their 45 minutes are used up after a number of statements. It is suggested each speaker take notes (paper and pen provided) while the other is speaking in order to be able to respond point-by-point if desired.  The other must only listen unless asked a specific question during each speakers statements.  When a speaker turns off his or her time-recording, then the other may start speaking.  Audio /visual recording can as well use PowerPoint and other prepared graphics, but each graphic must be digestible for the other participant within the presenters speaking time.


Each individual has particular speaking patterns and philosophies so BSN does not require adherence to any particular beliefs or methods.  The only rules are equal time and recording.  This open process is somewhat different from other formal debate processes which attempt to impose issue criteria within various time-segments.  The recording process modifies provides participant behaviour adequately to meet these criteria without content limitations.  In indigenous societies around the world dialectic discussions were held between individuals with often a circle of a council of extended family, stakeholders and other concerned people who functioned as memory recording devices.  Socrates founded 'academia' ('Garden' in Athens, Greece) based on 'dialectic rights' for students, citizens and teachers. Presently 'education' (Latin = 'to lead forth from within') has become the exact opposite to this 'academic' mandate and more like the 'Sophist' indoor 'control-paradigm' schools, which Socrates was responding to.  2300 years ago during Socrates time, they had water-clocks and other devices to record time during dialogues.  Recorders such as Plato leaves the record of this time.  Media newspapers, other media, politics and government are supposed to cultivate dialectics but have as well become loud-speakers for specific financing bodies.  This process is simple enough that two participants can operate recording devices and time-recorders without mediators if they choose.  This simplified open process is therefore more appropriate for a greater number of circumstances.  Mediators usually are charged with keeping water glasses full, providing paper and pens and just monitoring the process, times, recording device etc.  Mediators may transcribe audio for printing purposes.


Obviously we can not all challenge public persons such as Obama for his policies or other central figures directly.  Indigenous 'caucusing' (Iroquois = 'grouping of like-interests') are used so that various stakeholder groups such as workers, suppliers, consumers, soldiers, politicians, entrepreneurs, teachers etc may formally hold BSN in their own groups, arrive at a common or majority positions on various levels before engaging central figures.  Spokespersons are chosen who best express group concerns thus creating unity.  The more we take responsibility for livelihood among ourselves, the more hierarchies must engage us.

SATYAGRAHA  ('Truth-search')

When we study Mohandas Gandhi, we see that as a lawyer and community advocate, he was continually using the dialectic process to encourage both sides to speak.  Even for violent offenders such as the British he encouraged their participation.  Gandhi refers in his writing to identifying the 'best-intentions' of each speaker as well as how the correspondent or audience might support the speaker in achieving their best intentions.  Gandhi worked on many levels of engagement, growing food, carrying out night-soil, creating multihome Ashrams, organizing community capacities, speaking with government, spinning, making cloth etc., thus words were expected to represent committed action on the part of each speaker.  Gandhi himself believed in living in solidarity equitably, inclusively and welcoming all others to economy and sharing of all community labours.  Although Gandhi is identified with issues, his constant work and writing identifies community livelihood for all as the key issue.  BSN is linked to worldwide 'indigenous' (Latin = 'self-generating') economic practices.


If instead of violence, nations and the UN can support 'dialectic rights' for all, then all interpersonal and international disputes would be expected to engage the other side in recorded equal-time dialogues.  Presently Social Media does not work with dialectic fairness practices and often tries to dominate through one-sided monologue advocacy.  Major violence such as the arming of Arab-spring fighters by the CIA, French, British, Canadian and other NATO oil aggressors and  bombing of Libya are being promulgated through Social Media propaganda financed by western owned Facebook, CIA and other resource hungry entities.  Yet these same social media if honouring dialectic rights would engage both sides of issues and conflicts, publishing the results, then the court of public opinion and social / economic responsibility will provide greater resources to both sides.  War and violence are counter-productive while formal dialogue, recording and publishing are absolutely necessary for human community and peace.

'Indigenous' (L = 'self-generating') Heritage

For formal dialogue or words, to be credible they must represent actions which participants are actively engaging and committing to with heart, mind and hands.  Indigenous peoples of which we are all descendants from around the world, recognize this integrity of words, actions and programs.  Indigenous welcoming economy, governance, Economic Democracy and other integrated community design functions are described in Indigene Community

If readers are interested they may reprint, post or publish this article or overviews and any other parts of the BSN process.  I'll be happy to provide support to individual and groups wanting guidance to any parts of this ancient human process,

Douglas Jack,  Sustainable Development Corporation

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