As we reflect on recent events and ask how we can unite a divided society, it’s important to turn to what we’ve learned from history and science.

We know that in the face of unjust treatment, the natural response is response and deep anger. This emotional pain can only be resolved through an open and honest exchange of sentiments, opinions, and ideas with “the other” — those individuals who we feel are responsible for our pain.

Meeting attendees hugging after 4-day session

The dialectic method emphasizes bringing together people who hold different points of view and deeply felt emotions about a subject but who also wish to understand the other and test their views.

The dialectic method has been used in science and problem-solving education. It is also the method I used to facilitate conversations between descendants of slaves and descendants of slave holders in my research. Click here to read about the results of the historic meeting and the lessons we can apply to today’s polarized world.

Are There Any Solutions to Group Polarization?
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