Why did the dialogue die? Simple, really: because the two remaining forms of verbal and every other communication have grown stronger and ultimately overpowered it – monologue and silence.
Sometimes it is best to look at things in a simplified way, so it will be the same with this strange phenomenon – the death of dialogue in the 21st century.
But before we throw ourselves into the matter of simplification, let’s say a word or two about the complexity of this topic: shortly after the transition between the two centuries, the world gradually began to close up into “bubbles” of individual, isolated and not overly verifiable truths. One by one, communities were created based on their value standards and their worlds of true and false claims. And they, of course, did not talk to each other. As a result, there became more and more of them.
We are waiting for the end of this long and painful process while surrounded by historical paradoxes: there are people who would be willing to be burned at the stake, much like Giordano Bruno, but unlike him – they’d do it for the claim that the Earth is flat. In parallel, there are people organised in a community who are suspicious about the type of blood that flows in the veins of powerful people, convinced that the world is ruled by cold-blooded lizards. In 2005, the American physicist Bobby Henderson founded the Pastafarian Church, just for fun, which is based on the belief that the world was created by a large flying spaghetti-like monster. I wouldn’t bet against the fact that, at this moment, there are people who are serious believers in this religion. The writer of these lines, by the way, belongs to the autocephalous Parmesan branch of our church.
This big bang of mini-galaxies revolving around their own truths has given birth to a large community of neo-medical political scientists, who (I guess) claim that vaccines contain a chip that serves some great ulterior motive of the deep state, and it consists of blah, blah … This “bubble” is now more difficult to follow, because it turns out that the best cure for Covid is not in fact Ivermectin, but gunpowder. War, the cure of all diseases. Which was also created as a result of the existence of two worlds, which are based on two, actually common, truths – that they will be conquered and destroyed by the other. Dialogue between these two worlds seems to have died as well, like all other dialogues from before. This carries the danger that, along with dialogue, we will all die too.
And now let’s go back to the promised simplification of the answer to the question – why did dialogue die? Simple, really: because the two remaining forms of verbal and every other communication have grown stronger and ultimately overpowered it – monologue and silence. The new communication technologies, created on the Internet, have enabled us to benefit from social networks, and they have not only served to network the existing society but also to create completely new social communities. And the establishment of these new digital tribes needs monologues of prophets and leaders, parrot repetition by “apostles” and followers, as well as silence and obedience of the present flock. All this is aided by the belief of today’s civilization that every community has the right to exist, and that on the basis of the equality of different communities – and the people in them – the equality of human claims and truths can be created at the same time. Dialogue thus turned into a “coexistence” of equal “theories”. In the next step, presenting evidence becomes an insult to the unproven, a violation of their right to believe in what they claim, even if it was wrong. Yes, the Earth is round, but let’s be tolerant, let’s change the subject, the person we’re speaking to is a Flat-Earther.
The death of dialogue, therefore, arose from the resurrection of numerous monologues. With consequences like those from the dark Middle Ages, the brightest age of this new century was born: nothing can be seen from the strong shining light of equal truths. Democracy has been replaced by the equality of autocracies, knowledge backs down faced with tolerance of ignorance, boring science lives in the shadows of brilliant, colorful superstition. What is there to talk about, when we can shout next to each other, it’s so fun. Of course, this column that you just read is part of that noise, so it is quite possible that another explanation must be sought for the death of the dialogue. Because everything is relative, as Einstein would say.
But what does he know.