Lockdown Socratic Dialogue Doubt

When is doubt reasonable?

To prepare I did 3 things. I read up about doubt and responsibility and talked it over with Michael who hit the nail on the head: this is not a moral question, it has not sense of duty, it only applies to self interest. Discussed with my mentor, Anna, and we kept the question – it was chosen by others, if they want to change it they can.

I stood on my head, and had not done this for at least a year. I was well out of practice. Sharat used to say a headstand for a king, shoulder for a queen. A head stand to bring out ego, a shoulder for equilibrium. I didn’t stay up long enough for ego, but to realise I must return to yoga.

I re -read my old socratic diary – a single A5 book, in which I recalled Dieters first Socratic Dialogue in Germany, he was invited by Heckman to th ewoods for the weekend. Heckman’s wife packed up a picnic for them, and off they set, and to discuss it all weekend.  What a beautiful image.

The life example from  Sjoerd was a good one: it related to a society outside of himself,  and it was about CORVID 19. It was closed so acceptable.

There were 8 of us, Pia and Ana did not make it, all strong characters, thinkers and the majority experienced in SD. Anna supported, advised and encouraged me at every step of the way.

Next time, more intervention and direction, confidence to ask why are we doing this? Capturing of ideas, and attibuting to whose idea it is. Next time, 2 computer screens. The technology was definitely challenging.

The quality of the people held the day. Doubt turned out to relate to Trust, Authority, feeling and reason. What we did not explore was the importance of doubt ( uncertainty to necessitate investigation) as well as it’s potential downfall (Doubt is the driving force in Hamlet) leading to circularity of argument and inaction.

On a high we walked out with the impatient dogs, collected fish and chips which we ate outside drinking champagne to the last of the light on the copper beach.


it was here in this house 3 or 4 years ago that I first heard then patrols my first Socratic dialogue at the invitation of Tamsyn. How sweet then to find myself here for my first full facilitation .

Post script from Julie Marie – her response to my email asking for a review is here – least I forget. Needless to say, I agree.

Overall, I think that you did a great job.  You have a very warm, welcoming and understanding approach.  You promoted good group dynamics by encouraging and valuing each persons contribution.
It would have been helpful to the group and the overall process if you had intervened at various stages to help everyone to clarify where we were going and what we were trying to achieve.  I know that this can be difficult to do because you do not want to stop the fruitful discussion however a good intervention statement could be ‘can someone help the group to clarify where we are at the moment?’ or ‘what are the group trying to acheive at the moment?’.
It would have been helpful to capture the groups ideas as they evolved because if this is not done then important discussion points can be lost.  Again, it can be difficult to intervene but I often say ‘can we stop the discussion here because I think it is really important to capture this point and write it down before we move on’
If I were you, I would be very pleased with your first attempt at solo facilitation and well done on taking the time to do this and to keep the ball rolling!



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