The factor that most clearly sets Bohm’s dialogue apart from other approaches (except perhaps Mendell) is the use of the body as the basis for the whole process. Bohm wrote and published extensively on this. It is largely ignored. It is difficult and challenging, and is impossible to become skilled at if you only dabble with it in a dialogue circle. It requires a significant inner commitment, both in and out of the dialogue. Any dialogue group, or program, that does not understand the centrality of the body in Bohm’s approach should not claim any link to Bohm. These are strong words – but they are the truth.
Bohm’s dialogue is not about leadership. You will be hard pressed to find that word in any of his writings or recordings. When his dialogue is contextualized in this way, it is a misrepresentation. This is not to say that a link cannot be made – even a valid one – but dialogue is not designed to be harnessed to the horses of leadership. Finding a leadership “link” that has integrity? Difficult, but not impossible. If you find it, that is another step forward. Maybe.
Bohm frequently wrote and said that his dialogue was about three levels – the individual, the collective, and the cosmic. Here again, this has been almost universally ignored. Only the collective gets much airtime. And as for the cosmic aspect, people won’t touch that with a ten-foot pole. But these are all octaves of one another, and they are all fundamental to what Bohm was trying to do with dialogue. Here we are talking about the necessary disintegration of our identities, and their reintegration in ways that can’t be foreseen in advance. This can be frightening stuff, but dialogue as Bohm presented it gives us tools for developing the capacities to function at this level. But this will never happen if we cherry-pick what we like from Bohm, using only what is amenable to technique and algorithm.