(Un)present. Essays on Dialogue, edited by Tomasz Skonieczny, Krzyżowa Foundation for Mutual Understanding in Europe, Wrocław 2020
"(Un)present. Essays on Dialogue" is the latest publication issued by the Krzyżowa Foundation and Konrad Adenauer Foundation in Poland. It is not only an attempt to show the condition of dialogue in the contemporary world and to present experiences and difficulties which can be encountered professionally while working on behalf of civic education, but also - we hope - an inspiration to oppose the culture of polarisation and dispute.
Excerpt from the Introduction:
(...) The events taking place in Poland, Germany, as well as in many other European countries, which we have witnessed in recent years, clearly indicate that we are less and less inclined to display a similar attitude. Much more often we can observe an increase in extreme tendencies, which are also manifested by a high aversion to respecting those who present different views. One of the signs of the increasing polarisation of societies is the intensification of activities aimed at building a strong group identity - based on the relation "us" - "them". This leads to attempts not only to build opposition with people from outside the community, but even to the exclusion of those who do not fit into the imagined model.
The reasons for the growing polarisation and tribalism may be found both in the dynamic changes that take place in contemporary culture, the economic model of the media market, which is oriented towards the creation of identity content, or in phenomena that repeatedly escape our perception, such as complex algorithms that decide what content is displayed by our browsers and social media channels, and which enclose us in ever tighter information bubbles. However, regardless of where we look for the sources of these tendencies, it is an undeniable fact that the departure from dialogue and an attitude directed at understanding (although not necessarily accepting) the views of another person is an extremely disturbing phenomenon which should be opposed.
(Nie)obecny. Eseje o dialogu, pod red. Tomasza Skoniecznego.pdf [polish version]
The publication was prepared as part of the project "Laboratory of Dialogue and Reconciliation" carried out by the Krzyżowa Foundation for Mutual Understanding in Europe and the Konrad Adenauer Foundation in Poland.