The Phenomenological Tradition
The kind of wisdom that comes from life experience and communicative interactions is something that cannot be formally taught. The fact that no two people have the same exact journey in this life, is what makes communication so unparalleled and fascinating. In chapter four, the author cites psychologist Carl Rogers, saying, “Neither the Bible nor the prophets-neither Freud nor research-neither the revelations of God nor man- can take precedence over my own direct experience” (as cited in Griffin, 49). This powerful statement resonated with me on several levels. I feel that our own unique experiences on this earth give us so much more wisdom and insight than any study, book or class can. We can never really stand in someone else's shoes. This being said, there are steps we can take to connect with others on a more personal and fulfilling level.
Did you ever notice how people use gossip as a way to bond with others or build intimate relationships? Gossip is so volatile and shallow, it leaves participants feeling void afterwards. It is an unhealthy and easy way to make small talk, or try to connect with others. After reading the section on phenomenological tradition, I was able to see how to strengthen and build a healthy rapport with someone else. It might not be as “easy” as gossiping or talking about the weather, but in order to have a firm foundation for a strong relationship you must put some effort into it. You reap what you sew. The three necessary conditions that Rogers found to aid in relational growth are: “congruence, unconditional positive regard, and empathic understanding”(50). His example deals with therapists and counselors making a safe and comfortable environment for their patients to open up. I think this tradition can be applied to all human interactions and relationships.
To try to relate to someone on such an intimate level not only takes intention, but also mutual respect from both participants. I really like the authors definition for dialogue, “an intentional process in which the only agenda both parties have is to understand what it's like to be the other” (50). Any thoughts on this definition? Think about how much you do or do not use gossip as a communicative tool? Just some food for thought. I would love to hear your own opinions and experiences.