• uncanni
    338
    I'm wondering if anyone is familiar with Bakhtin's ideas about dialogism vs monologism. He was the one I learned the most from back in the day; his ideas have had an impact on me since the 80s.

    All the elements composing our world view also constitute the basis for our relations with other people: either we relate monologically or dialogically. For B., this is the quintessential characteristic of our discourse. In the first case, we project an authoritarian voice that excludes the possibility of dialogue, does not anticipate or require a “rejoinder” or series of rejoinders. Are there a lot of people on this forum who shut down rather than open up discussion? People who have to have the last word, who must always be right, who don’t care about your ideas?

    Within the dialogic mindset, I am aware of my interlocutor, I anticipate and expect his/her rejoinder, which mobilizes my thoughts and words. If I wish to continue learning, I need to allow my use of the word to be refracted by others’ use of the word:

    “The word, directed toward its object, enters a dialogically agitated and tension-filled environment of alien words, value judgments and accents, weaves in and out of compelx interrelationships, merges with some, recoils from others, itnersects with yet a third group: and all this may crucially shape discourse....The word is born in a dialogue as a living rejoinder within it; the word is shaped in dialogic interaction with an alien word that is already in the object.”

    This means that I am conscious of how others are employing the same word (or concept); I ask myself, Am I capable of hearing the different “intonations” that different people give to the same word/concept? This is the fundamental question Bakhtin asks, in the most fundamental philosophical sense: Can I listen to difference with tolerance?

    schopenhauer1 Do you know Bakhtin?
  • schopenhauer1
    3.7k
    This means that I am conscious of how others are employing the same word (or concept); I ask myself, Am I capable of hearing the different “intonations” that different people give to the same word/concept? This is the fundamental question Bakhtin asks, in the most fundamental philosophical sense: Can I listen to difference with tolerance?

    schopenhauer1 Do you know Bakhtin?
    uncanni

    I haven't heard of him but from what you wrote, I can agree. A dialogue has to consider many aspects- how someone uses a concept, anticipation of counterargument, known issues and their rebuttals, etc. I actually dont mind people digging in and finding ways to defend and rebutt, though I see the benefit of free flowing dialectic as well, where the stance is completely neutral. What I do mind is ad homs, antagonisms, and the like that dont inform, just incite. The conversation always devolves unless the non antagonizer can keep the boat from completely capsizing. By the way, to quote someone, simply click and drag the posts text and then click the quote button which will ensure the quoted poster sees the text as a mention.
  • uncanni
    338
    Of course, you can't force someone who's being monologic and con-trolling to become dialogically-minded. You can't make an angry person happy.

    So the question becomes, How to respond to those who would sabotage a discussion in the ways that trolls do?

    I did a little research on trolling a while back, and here's my conclusion:

    How to neutralize a troll
    What is are the best practices when a troll rears his head? We have all heard the expression, "Don't feed the trolls": when they can't agitate and anger people, they will be forced to move on and take their personal hell with them. Sad, but true. Here are some other strategies for shutting down naughty trolls:
    • Keep your ego and pride out of the mix.
    • Sit the game out. You're guaranteed to lose by trying to one-up a troll because you're trolling now, too. You're doing the same thing that you hate in him.
    • Don't take a troll's cruelty personally, because he will inflict it on any fish who bites the lure. It's really not about you. Really.
    • If you are already in a bad mood, it's much easier to lose your temper and respond negatively to other negative comments (Cheng). We need to be conscious of when it's good to be on the forum and when we might need to stay away.
    • Flag nasty comments and turn them over to the moderators.
    • Block trolls. You'll be much happier not reading the toxic comments. We probably all have twinges of curiosity to know what the blocked troll is up to, but be aware of how you'll feel after you've peeked; my bet is that you'll feel worse, not better.
    • Call trolls out publicly when they're nasty: don't stand by passively while they inflict cruelty on others. Shame him: if enough people on a forum speak out against nastiness, he might just dry up and blow away, or he might melt.
    • Defend the troll's victim, and stand up for that person (Pierre). But do it publicly, not in PMs.
    • Finally, try to generate compassion for the poor troll. If you understand how unhappy the troll is, and how his misery directs him to make others miserable, it will be easier to recognize what's really going on and you won't plug in.

    In conclusion: Anger and hatred can be infectious, so it's important to keep one's emotional and intellectual immune systems in good health.

    Works Cited
    Adorno, Theodor. "Freudian Theory and the Pattern of Fascist Propaganda." 1951.
    Anderson Ashley A, et al. "The 'nasty effect': Online incivility and risk perceptions of emerging technologies." Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication 2014; 19:373-387.
    Buckels, Erin E. et al. https://scottbarrykaufman.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/trolls-just-want-to-have-fun.pdf Personality and Individual Differences 2014; 67:97-102.
    Cheng, Justin et al. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5791909/ CSCW Conf Comput Support Coop Work. 2017 Feb-Mar; 2017: 1217–1230.
    Hardaker, Claire. https://clok.uclan.ac.uk/4980/2/ Journal of Politeness Research, 6 (2). pp. 215¬242, (2010).
    Munro, Kali. In Suler, The Psychology of Cyberspace.
    Pierre, Joe MD. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/psych-unseen/201609/no-comment-3-rules-dealing-internet-trolls Psychology Today Sept 1, 2016.
    Suler, John, PhD.[url=http://"The Online Disinhibition Effect."] [/url] Aug. 2004. In The Psychology of Cyberspace.
    ---.The Psychology of Cyberspace[/url] (hypertext).
  • Swan
    175
    The minute someone inserts "I" into the conversation, you might as well turn your ears off.

    Discussing things without referencing oneself with I, this and I, that is difficult for almost all people. Character is not at all relevant to what you trying to discuss here, yet you continue to mention yourself as if it has any relevance to discussion of these concepts or whatever ideas you are attempting to get across - you leave no room for people to enter this discussion without reducing (everything) to ourselves, either or at least keeping swaying our attention back to you.

    I mean, look. It is literally just a monologue and some self declarations, claiming to be some superior to others by pretending to be a voice a reason; in your other posts you've made value and character judgments of others, claiming to be some calm intellectual academician, so you're not exactly setting a good example here yourself, it's just coming off as pompous seeking some circle-jerk for more pompous people who think they've "above" the very thing they criticize. I mean, honestly, reading the exchanges between you two all I could think was, "haha, these guys."

    Most of the "calm" people that don't start anything others don't even make these posts, bizarre self-declarations, or have a derailing discussions about the "insecurities" of others in a discussion about everything not about that.

    What are people on the forum supposed to do with this? I challenge you to rewrite this without making any value or character judgments, and without once referring to yourself as a voice of reason above others here; your post is quite literally everything you dislike.

    What does that have to do with any type of discussion...? You really think you are coming of as "open for dialogue" ..?
  • schopenhauer1
    3.7k

    So I honestly haven't read any of uncannis previous posts, so I dint know you could be right about a few things but just from what i responded to, it makes sense. Perhaps thus protests too much.
  • uncanni
    338
    Bakhtin's point is that there are dialogic strategies which open a space for broader mutual understanding, and monologic strategies that shut down the possibility of responding.

    Shutting down a dialogue is, in my view, essentially a totalitarian and fascist impulse. Fascism wants to guarantee that everyone believes/understands the exact same thing. A fascist isn't capable of dialogue, isn't interested in mutual understanding.

    Many people are incapable of engaging in Bakhtinian dialogue. If one is of a monologic inclination, they won't be convinced that they have anything to learn from anyone else.
  • Number2018
    292
    This is the fundamental question Bakhtin asks, in the most fundamental philosophical sense: Can I listen to difference with tolerance?uncanni

    Bakhtin's point is that there are dialogic strategies which open a space for broader mutual understanding, and monologic strategies that shut down the possibility of responding.uncanni

    Bakhtin's notion of dialogic relationships should not be reduced to a mere field of communication between interlocutors in a dialogue:
    "Dialogic relationships are possible not only among whole (relatively
    whole) utterances; a dialogic approach is possible toward any signifying
    part of an utterance, even toward an individual word, if that
    word is perceived not as the impersonal word of language but as a
    sign of someone else's semantic position, as the representative of
    another person's utterance; that is if we hear in it someone else's
    voice. Thus dialogic relationships can permeate inside the utterance,
    even inside the individual word, as long as two voices collide within it
    dialogically."
    According to Bakhtin, a dialogic relation plays an essential role in any verbal act, including inner speech. Even an internal monologue is addressed to someone or something; replies to someone or something.
  • uncanni
    338
    I was by no means reducing his meaning to my one example of how to apply his ideas in terms of interpersonal dynamics. I believe you're referring to his concept of speech genres, which in one sense refers to one's ability to understand and speak an other's language, i.e., to use the word in the same way the other does.

    I see your quotation as essentially referring to the same concept I'm referring to: "dialogic collision" as he puts it. Although I have to wonder about the translation into "collision" of whatever the Russian word he used, because it's not a violent intersection, but rather, like voices making harmonies together through mutual understanding.
  • Number2018
    292

    The quotation is from “Problems of Dostoyevsky’s Poetics”; and "dialogic collision" is the proper translation – Bakhtin especially underscored “the violent intersection of a few voices” as the fundamental feature of consciousness of Dostoyevsky’s characters.
  • uncanni
    338
    Big difference between collision and collusion, and certainly both are dialogic in any number of great novels I can think of. From "Dialogue in the Novel":

    “The word, directed toward its object, enters a dialogically agitated and tension-filled environment of alien words, value judgments and accents, weaves in and out of compelx interrelationships, merges with some, recoils from others, itnersects with yet a third group: and all this may crucially shape discourse....The word is born in a dialogue as a living rejoinder within it; the word is shaped in dialogic interaction with an alien word that is already in the object.”

    When I wrote above about harmonious intersections of voices, I was thinking of parties coming to mutual understanding--like Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy do at the end of Pride and Prejudice; but yes, there was a lot of collision between their words in the first half of the novel. As Bakhtin writes, this is what all great novelists are capable of creating, where the mediocre novelist can't.
  • Number2018
    292
    I am sorry, I meant collision, not collusion. Anyway, my point is that Bakhtin’s
    project was about the universality of dialogic relations so that any monological
    would be essentially dialogical. It was not about the dichotomy:
    Bakhtin's ideas about dialogism vs monologism.uncanni
    Next, I don’t think that Bakhtin intended to reduce his vision of the dialogic just to the literary, or imaginary world. Some critics propose that he discovered a new,
    dialogical sphere of being, not limited to mere replies between speakers in a dialogue.
  • uncanni
    338
    If you read his essay on Epic vs Novel, he establishes a clear opposition between the closed monological world view of the epic and the problematized and dialogic world view of the great novels.

    Bakhtin’s
    project was about the universality of dialogic relations so that any monological
    would be essentially dialogical.
    Number2018

    I'm not sure I understand what you wrote, I don't see it (if I understand you correctly). Bakhtin made it quite clear that a monological novel is a mediocre work because of the author's inability to bring truly different minds and world views into collision. I've read enough mediocre novels to know that this is true: it's like you can see the author behind the scenes pulling all the strings, but all the voices have the same, flat tone and there is no genuine problematics presented in the material.
  • Pfhorrest
    682
    I feel like I might be missing some background context between you and uncanni or something, but I think "I" statements are an essential part of not coming across as unduly authoritative. When someone says just "X is the case", that comes off a lot more authoritative-sounding to me than "I think that X" would.
  • Number2018
    292

    If you read his essay on Epic vs Novel, he establishes a clear opposition between the closed monological world view of the epic and the problematized and dialogic world view of the great novels.uncanni
    I started to understand your OP better. It looks like that based on Bakhtin’s essay on Epic vs Novel, you tried to reconstruct the central theme of Bakhtin’s philosophy. But, even if we
    assume that it was indeed the collision between dialogism and monologism, it is still not clear to what extent the dichotomy, grounded on comparing and contrasting the epical world view with the novels' one, can become a fruitful model for understanding our contemporary discursive realities. Even during Bakhtin’s own lifetime, the dominating forms of the monological – the Stalinist totalitarian discourse, as well as socialist realism literature, were quite different from the epical literary forms. Definitely, Bakhtin tried to undermine the prevailing enclosing oppressing discourses. Probably, his analyses of ordinary language may be more actual today than his literary criticism.
    “However monological the utterance may be… it cannot but be in some measure,
    a response to what has already been said about the given topic…The utterance is filled with dialogic overtone…After all, our thought itself – is born and shaped in the process of interaction and struggle with other thought…” (Bakhtin “The problem of speech genres”). Yet, however successful these strategies of opening and breaking through could be while confronting the soviet totalitarian regimes, they may not be effective today anymore.

    “The word, directed toward its object, enters a dialogically agitated and tension-filled environment of alien words, value judgments and accents, weaves in and out of compelx interrelationships, merges with some, recoils from others, itnersects with yet a third group: and all this may crucially shape discourse....The word is born in a dialogue as a living rejoinder within it; the word is shaped in dialogic interaction with an alien word that is already in the object.”uncanni

    There are so many contemporary ways of framing, enclosing the dialogical sphere. Tolerance, openness to Other’s word, advocated by Bakhtin, often has been incorporated into the already-made, enclosed discourse. Have borders between monological and dialogical become blurred and indiscernible?
  • uncanni
    338
    Have borders between monological and dialogical become blurred and indiscernible?Number2018

    Actually, "Epic and Novel" was never the most important essay to me; "Discourse in the Novel" was. I could imagine him in Siberia, rolling his cigarettes with manuscript paper, writing and smoking away. I also loved what he wrote about medieval carnaval. I liked the "Speech Genres" essay as well.

    Ultimately, after reading some of these essays multiple times--especially "Discourse"--I came to an understanding of what he was saying. It's been a good 30 years since I read him, but the notion of two people in a dialogue, each deepening his/her own understanding of what the discourse means by understanding the differences and nuances of how the other uses specific words. I imagined a kind of dialectic which continued to deepen understanding of all the inflections and contexts of any given word as used by each speaker. Which ultimately assists me to understand both myself and my interlocutor better, and makes my understanding more flexible.
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