Complaints about our deepening cultural and political divides tend to assume all disagreements can be bridged. History suggests otherwise. In this New York Times article, different outcomes can emerge when different ‘tribes’ find themselves in disagreement.
Although history suggests that disagreements cannot be bridged though dialogue, that should not assume that it is impossible to resolve our deepening cultural and political divides. We have lost the art of civil discourse because in the places we live, learn, work and play, it is unacceptable to apply what I refer to as the 5D’s of civil discourse (Discuss - Disagree - Debate - Defend - Defy). Even where it may be acceptable people generally are not comfortable in having critical discussions.
In the work the Faas Foundation is doing with the Yale Centre for Emotional Intelligence, in an initiative called ‘Emotion Revolution in the Workplace’, we are discovering that by developing the emotional intelligent skills of employees, better relationships can be fostered through the application of the 5 D’s of civil discourse.