Coffee with Socrates and Dale Carnegie – August 11, 2008

Today I am going to talk about dialogue. Now I am very familiar with dialogue in stories and novels, after spending years working with that literary element, in classes at the College of Dupage. But dialogue, as I use it today, is a bit different. Let’s look at a couple of definitions. One definition at is “an exchange of ideas and opinions”. Another definition at is “a reciprocal conversation between two or more entities.” I first learned about Dialogue by reading The Republic by Plato, in which Socrates is the undisputed master. It should be obvious that dialogue by Socrates is asking a few leading questions, in order to coach the respondent to answer, in a matter justifying a conclusion by Socrates. Later I had a chance to study philosophy in depth, from the Catholic Mission library, when I was a Peace Corp volunteer, in Liberia, West Africa.

Recently I had a chance to talk to a Catholic friend, who is going to attend a Protestant church. I remember that Billy Graham didn’t have a hang-up on whether folks are Catholic or Protestant, in attending his crusades. He always said that after his crusade, to “become a better Protestant, or a better Catholic.” Here is the part of the advice I shared with this person, in order to encourage them, to return to the Catholic Church (my Protestant friends will kill me):

“The other problem you will run into with Protestant churches is the issue of “Solo Scriptura” (see ). The Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox address this in different ways. The RC position is that the church is founded on Peter, and the Pope is the teaching authority on scripture and tradition. The EO position is that the church, in preserving its historical traditions handed down by Christ, is the authority for interpreting scripture and tradition. In the Protestant world, it is not so cut and dry. A couple of Saturday’s ago, someone in my Protestant prayer group said that we don’t have any of the original manuscripts of scripture, and are working with copies of copies. But he added that he trusts God to keep the meaning and intention intact. Each Protestant tradition can argue for their interpretation as being correct. From a pure logical standpoint, one could argue that Mary Baker Eddy‘s interpretation of scripture in Science and Health, is just as valid as one presented by Martin Luther or John Calvin.”

Dialogue may be a series of questions and answers, like you find with Bishop Berkeley, who defended his philosophy of subjective idealism, via a series of questions and answers. Like his predecessor Socrates, his Q and A was difficult to penetrate. Only by looking how he used the word “ideas”, or other such indentations, could you penetrate his Q and A defense. Dialogue is also psychological, and I learned that not only by defending graduate psychology papers to panels of graduate colleagues and professors, but also in business meetings. One of the best courses I ever took in using dialogue effectively, is the Dale Carnegie ( ) training, I took at Motorola. Now I have read many classic self help books, like “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie or “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill. But nothing beats taking a course, and applying the principles. And Dale Carnegie courses are exceptional, at teaching effective dialogue (among other things).

Well, I did call down to Cancun, and Swami Moochananda and Doctor Mumbo Jumbo, Ph.D., should get back by next week, so we can resume our marketing of website.

Randy Kemp



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