structures of meaning

Anthony Blake

305 pages, with illustrations; including glossary, bibliographic references, name and subject indices
£15 (UK) $30 (USA)
DuVersity Publications

order from Karen Stefano or use order form

Some Comments from readers

"Back home again and finally finished reading The Supreme Art, which I found to be a supreme account of the state of mankind and the hopes of our attaining normality in the cosmic realm of life. While it combines science, religion, psychology and philosophy, as well of course simply talking and listening, I was struck most forcefully by the feeling that this is the best prescription I have read of a way to further Gurdjieff's work. Other readers, naturally, will find Gurdjieff references incidental but I think you have directed many of his ideas to new, inner realms." Bob Hunter

"Anthony Blake is a thinker's thinker. I go to him, not to get answers, but to find a better quality of question. And this is what Blake does: he holds the question." Robert Fripp

"Very, very good.  I have thoroughly enjoyed reading it." Gordon Lawrence.

"What gets me in your book are rather single sentences, statements, hints. Like Bante’s saying “All are right, nobody is wrong”. I have already some time ago given up the idea of a saviour, but to go as far as to say only action (thinking, talking, doing, dreaming) of all and all on the same level of authority and importance can make us progress and survive… Only now I start to explore this idea and see that it is true. . . What I find is that your book is immensely practical, lots of things one can do, try out immediately and in every day life. (There are of course also many ideas, sentences I do not understand or cannot subscribe to. Which is already an immediate opportunity to practice the spirit of dialogue !)" Knud Kusche

Outline of the Book

The Supreme Art of Dialogue attempts to integrate diverse perspectives on the dialogue process, including the spiritual and the scientific and is itself a kind of dialogue incorporating many points of view. At its core is a reconciliation between numerical or formal and verbal or qualitative ways of thinking. It has four main sources. Each contrasts with each of the others in contrasting ways, and engages with the others reciprocally.

Structural Communication [Bennett] method of dealing with both content and structure of meaning independently; two-channel, two-way communica­tion based on writing. Structure is explicit and related to systematics. Devel­oped for educational purposes in the 1960s; further developed eventually into LogoVisual Technology
Dialogue [de Mare and Bohm] free-floating conversation not directed to the future but to the present moment; with diffuse structure allowing for emer­gence, based on speaking. Structure is implicit. De Mare's median group is a special case of the maximum number of participants compatible with the possibility of equality between them. Dialogue requires the suspension of everyday habits and assumptions of discourse. Facilitation of dialogue varies according to theoretical perspective, purpose and context, from virtually non­existent to very managed.
N-logue [Blake] structured conversation based on the number of partici­pants N; usually articulated and observable for small numbers up to 4; can be written or spoken. They require even more stringent suspensions of habit than dialogue in general. Structure is explicit. N-logues are treated as parti­cles of meaning making of various sizes and qualities called logons. Instead of 'adding' their separate minds together, the N persons take on roles of an N-mind. They can be practised as an art in their own right or discerned and cultivated as they arise spontaneously in dialogue. Dialogue is composed of N-logues. N-logue is conscious. Derives from systematics.
ILM [Matchett] based on listening to complex sounds, especially music, that are more highly structured than speech in form, allowing content to arise of itself; centred in individuals though conducted in a group, where all listen to the same source but do not talk with each other. Structure is implicit. ILM is taken to symbolise and invoke access to the information field that underlies the very possibility of communication. Whatever an ILM experience means is just what the individual wants it to mean.
From the Glossary

The dialogue process is of supreme importance in human life yet only now is it beginning to be acknowledged. The late Patrick de Mare always insisted that dialogue was mind and that mind was that between brains rather than in brains. The key figures in the discourse of The Supreme Art include: John Bennett, mathematician and mystic and student of Gurdjieff; David Bohm, physicist; Patrick de Mare, pioneer of the median group concept; Gordon Lawrence, pioneer of the Social Dreaming Matrix, and Edward Matchett, an explorer of how genius might be developed.




Chapter One – Dialogue                                           
       The Form of Dialogue                                       
       The Energies of Dialogue                                  
       Dialogue and Culture                                         
       To Know Together                                           
       Meaning Logic                                                   
       Roles in the Structure of Meaning                       
       The Significance of Neutralisation                         
       Meditation and Dialogue                                                
       The Will of Dialogue                                           
       The Mathematical Feel of Dialogue                       

Chapter Two – Encounters with Meaning      
       The Importance of Meaning                               
       Structure and Meaning                                         
       Meaning and Words                                          
       Removing the Veils                                           
       The Structure of Experience and the Experience of Structure            

Chapter Three – Structural Diversity              
       Structural Communication                                 
       Principles of Structure                                         
       Higher Intelligence                                             
       Music and Love                                                 
       Webs of Meaning                                              

Chapter Four – Trust in the Process
       Dialogue Phenomena                                        
       Interface between Finite and Transfinite                 
       The Space of Meaning                                        
       Dialogue and Consciousness                             
       The Space, Time and Will of Mutuality                
       On Religion                                                      
       Trust in the Process                                           
       Three Kinds of Mind                                        
       The Categories of John Bennett                          
       Twelve Categories                                            

Interlude – Technics of Dialogue
       The Measure of Dialogue                                  
       Why Increase Diversity?                                      
       The Sayable                                                      

Chapter Five – The Game of Dialogue
       Fabric and Circles of Meaning                             
       Structures of Meaning Making                             
       Meaning Games                                                 
       A Theatrical View of Dialogue                            
       A Scientific View of Dialogue                             
       Greater Meaning                                               
       The Experiential Barrier                                      
       The Barrier of Creativity                                    
       The Genius of Dialogue                                     

Chapter Six – Immediate Liberation of Meaning – ILM
       Universal Field of Meaning                                  
       Awakening Intelligence                                       
       The Sound of Music                                          
       Impulse Power                                                  
       Naturalist’s Trance                                             
       In the Realm of the Senses                                  
       Vast Computation                                             

Chapter Seven – Large Group Meetings and Beyond
       Mental Space                                                    
       Making of a Shared Present Moment                   
       Ideals of Facilitation                                           
       Conscious Society                                             
       Global Dialogue                                                           
       Levels and Scales of Meaning                              
       Historical Roles of Groups                                

Chapter Eight – The Fabric of Reality                        

Chapter Nine – The Conjunction of Opposites           


Bibliographic Compilation                                        

Subject Index                                                           

Name Index     

From the back cover:                                                     

The Supreme Art of Dialogue is about making meaning together, a complex work of mutual adjustment and creativity. It explores structures of meaning-making that are keys to unlocking the possibilities of our capacity for seeing the world and ourselves in new ways, enabling a new kind of mind.

"Living in the era of information and knowledge, people are chained to facts. In a series of stimulating chapters this book invites us to enquire into the making of meaning. Public life is reduced to ideology which provides the leaders of society with a ready-made, taken-for-granted perception of so­ciety that the citizen has to accept as absolute truth. This book offers an antidote to slipshod thinking, also showing how dialogue like dreaming, can be creative by organizing thinking into new holistic patterns, leading us to the infinite." Dr Gordon Lawrence, author of Social Dreaming @ Work

"This book is a valuable attempt to explore the possibilities of dialogue from a multi-disciplinary perspective and 'stretches the envelope' to include con­cepts from physics and mysticism as well as from the more orthodox mate­rial of Group Analysis. Blake's advocacy of structure in meaning-making challenges many current assumptions and he introduces some new theo­retical approaches that offer much food for thought." Anthony Judge, developer of the Encyclopaedia of World Problems and Human Potential (Union of International Associations) and instigator of the Union of Imaginable Associations

A result of this . . . book is to make one aware in everyday talking, listen­ing or reading, when automatically rejecting, resisting or ridiculing another person or group's opinion, that in fact one is not even knowledgeable (let alone conscious) enough to judge. This is reinforced by the dialogue principle of allowing all propositions to stand with an equal degree of value while the process gathers force. . . One must sit up and take notice of the progression of categories as applied to dialogue, from its all-inclusiveness incentive of bearing contradictions, dynamism of mutual meaning, and the other attributes to the final claim "Dialogue is the meaning of the universe" Bob Hunter author of forthcoming book The Attention Paradox