From space we see the Earth as a whole, enveloped in a thin and astonishingly beautiful layer of life; weather systems merging, ocean currents swirling, storm clouds erupting lightning, and night flowing into day across an imperceptibly fluid tectonic landscape.


The Blue Marble – 1972

What if we could see our entire planetary conversation flowing in a similar way? What might it look like? Its patterns and themes. Its streams and structures. Its forks and merges. Its bifurcating branches. Its dead ends. Its beautiful possibilities. And how might we listen and act differently given this perception of the conversation of the Earth, this enveloping planetary layer, this connecting and collecting intelligence, this sum of all dialogues: this Daologue?*

Contemplating a lifetime’s conversations, I’m struck by the degree to which our communication feels elevated – healthier – when some sense of Daologue is present: and feels diminished in its absence. Awareness of this additional dimensionality seems to encourage a Copernican shift, a softening iterative provisionality, curiosity, openness, empathy, and an attentiveness to what is not being heard; each of which strengthens our immunity to the pathology that ensues when someone or something speaking saliently to a given situation is not heard.

And yet so much of our public discourse, our party politics, our narcissistic filter bubbles, our sensationalizing media, our vituperative comment streams, feels so far adrift from this quality and possibility – a pathology growing within ourselves as well as between ourselves – and so anachronous and ill-matched to the challenging complexity of the patterns we are creating in the world.

Imbuing our public and private conversations with a greater sense of Daologue might be one of the imperatives of our age. Challenging us to become more literate in understanding and adept at working with this meta-perspective; challenging us to cultivate this awareness and quality within and between ourselves and to cultivate the spaces in which it thrives, and to develop our skills at tending to Daologue. In doing so, I wonder, too, if we might start to conceive of Daologue in its entirety as one of our most precious and uncharted resources; a commonwealth of meaning from which an ever-renewing stream of insight and innovation can be discovered, harvested and shared.


Opte Project: The Internet – 2003

The emergence of the web and our global infrastructure and real-time, social media heighten our awareness and experience of participating in a planetary conversation, and offer startling and tantalizing visual proxies for the structure and flow of Daologue. They also offer new ways to explore, develop our literacy in and empathy towards, and to work creatively with Daologue at unfamiliar scales – and to detect and parse continuously evolving signals from the continuously evolving noise.


Planet Under Pressure – 2012

I will expand on this theme in due course. For now though, a first step is simply to notice in wonder that our words and our inner and outer dialogues are always part of this Daologue; permutations of a kaleidoscopic pattern that is continuously forming and reforming, informing and being informed, as an astonishingly beautiful and meaningful whole.

Dao + Logos


8 Responses to “Daologue”

  1. Mei Lin Fung on May 22nd, 2014 6:22 pm

    A stone striking the water a pond begins a series of ripples… and this is what comes to mind reading David’s piercingly intelligent reflection that it is not words, not speech, not broadcast media, but interaction that is the “LIFE” energy for our aspirations.

    I have worked with David on the Health Futures initiative, Knowledge Federation, Program for the Future, Franchise for Humanity, the 40th anniversary of TCPIP and my interactions and dialog with David Price give me hope for the future. He is a global exemplar for the kind of dialog he advocates, practicing and constantly improving that which he is pointing us too:

    interactive dialog for a better future for all of human kind and the planet we are lucky enough to live on.

  2. Sam Hahn on May 22nd, 2014 10:50 pm

    +1 !!

  3. Alexandra Hart on May 22nd, 2014 11:11 pm

    Absolutely! Human creativity and intersubjective consciousness has to be the most important resource humanity has available at this point in time. The attitudinal changes you mention correlate with some of the changes in consciousness I’ve mentioned to you re: use of Debategraph. It is much more than just a more open sharing of information but also an evolution in individual and collaborative consciousness, the creation of a new sense of self individually and collectively, new forms of experience that I believe make us a more ethical and ecologically viable species.

  4. Alexandra Hart on May 22nd, 2014 11:41 pm

    Perhaps we could eventually have a daologue also with the other forms of consciousness that we share this planet with?!

  5. Dino Karabeg on May 23rd, 2014 6:00 pm

    Beautifully true — I look forward to the expansion.

    To carry the metaphor of flying out into the outer space for the time and looking back and seeing the earth as a whole a step further:

    Here too we’ll need quite a bit of development — both of the human system and of the tools system — before we’ll attain a similar view of the earth’s dialogs. And when we do, the analogy will no longer hold — those awesome new sights, those results of global sensemaking in a proper sense, will not be physically determined; they will be creative products of our — newly acquired — collective intelligence!

  6. Ingela on May 25th, 2014 11:45 am

    Looking forward to the continuation, David. Thank you.

  7. David on May 25th, 2014 8:03 pm

    Thank you all for your kind observations, suggestions, encouragement and inspiration – and I intend to build on the theme here (in due course):


  8. From illiteracy, to literacy, to holiteracy : Open to persuasion… on January 31st, 2015 1:29 am

    […] powers of observation across ever smaller and larger scales (and, indeed, in the perception of Daologue, to which I have referred […]

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