The Possibilities of Dialogue

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The diversity of human experience and cultures is nothing new. What is new to our era is the fact that people holding radically different worldviews are coming into closer contact. At the same time, previously dominant value systems are losing their hold. These factors make this an age of great risk and danger, but also of great promise. The key to bringing out the tremendous creative possibilities of this difficult period--both for the world and for ourselves as individuals--is dialogue. While "dialogue" may seem to have a certain forbidding weightiness, it simply describes our capacity to engage with others openly and respectfully--an encounter characterized as much by listening as speaking and based upon a faith in our common humanity. It is through our efforts to engage in dialogue and to expand our field of dialogue that we can make this troubled era a truly humane age. This issue of the SGI Quarterly is aimed at highlighting and encouraging such efforts.