Open dialogue potentially transformative says Dr Hugh Mackay
We need each other.
This is the message social psychologist and author Hugh Mackay will share with participants to spark conversation during An Evening of Dialogue: Humanity created and called to flourish, hosted by Marist College in early May.
“The starting point is to remind ourselves that being human, we belong to a social species,” Dr Mackay explained.
“We need families, groups, neighbourhoods, communities of all kinds to nurture us and sustain us. We’re hopeless in isolation.”
An Evening of Dialogue will include key speakers – Caritas Mission Facilitator Michael McGirr, Archdiocese Marriage, Family and Relationships Manager Lara Kirk, Marist Brother and Dean of the La Salle Academy Professor David Hall FMS and Dr Mackay – along with a question-and-answer session and plenty of opportunity for open discussion.
Marist Assistant Head of School – Mission and Formation Nathan Ahearne said the event would gather around 200 people to discuss what humanity needs to truly flourish.
“What we are trying to do is create a space for spirit-led dialogue in our community,” he said.
“We are hoping the speakers bring their diverse backgrounds to stimulate conversation in the participants.”
Mr Ahearne said, along with members of the wider community, he hoped to see many college students in the audience.
“I think that it’s important for their voices to be heard, and it is important for them to listen as well,” he explained.
“I don’t think anyone is too young to listen to the spirit at work in their life and to have an hour and a half to do that is pretty special.”
Dr Mackay agreed, noting the opportunity for open dialogue was potentially transformative.
“Our society has been experiencing major social shifts and trends, changes and disruptions, that have been pushing us away from our true selves,” he said.
“When we humans are being true to our nature, then we are being kind, compassionate, tolerant, inclusive.”
One of the most potent signs of that in a community such as a school, he continued, is the ability or willingness to listen attentively and empathetically to each other.
“I think when we are really listening to each other, we are saying, without having to put it into words, that I take you seriously as a person. I’m including you. I’m acknowledging you. I appreciate you,” he said.
“We need constant reminders about this. The best time to focus on this is during our formative years – when there is this capacity for loving-kindness. It’s there, but it needs to be nurtured and reinforced and encouraged, and the best time to do that is when we’re young.”
- An Evening of Dialogue will be held at Marist College on Thursday 4 May at 7pm. Register here