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Openings

Acknowledging Essential Moments in Human Communication

Michael J. Hyde

Publication Year: 2012

In Openings, award-winning author Michael Hyde provides a fascinating meditation on the ethical dimensions of human communication. With the breadth and depth of learning for which Hyde has become renowned, Openings engages philosophy, science, the arts, theology, and popular culture, all to demonstrate the profound importance of the possibility of openness to the human experience. In every situation, Hyde contends, this posture of conscious openness to the individuals, events, and places that surround us has noticeable effects on the way we—and others—experience the reality of existence. Hyde skillfully illustrates this way of being through abundant references to the larger culture and persuasively shows that by living with intention, and elevating practices such as acknowledgment and confession while rejecting seclusion and neglect, we human beings are enabled to engage fully and fruitfully the world in which we live.

Published by: Baylor University Press

Half Title Page, Title page, Copyright, Dedication

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Contents

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pp. vii-

Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-x

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Introduction

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pp. 1-9

An opening act: I was dressed in a t-shirt, jeans, tennis shoes, and a baseball cap as I walked into a campus coffee shop to get an espresso. As I was putting some sweetener into my drink, an undergraduate student came up...

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1. In the Beginning Was an Opening

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pp. 11-23

A place, no matter how small (e.g., one pore on your skin), defines an opening in space and time. Openings, however, have been around longer than places. Both religion and science affirm this fact...

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2. The Daily Habit of Being Open

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pp. 25-39

Let us recall the words of Albert Camus: “Thinking is learning all over again how to see, directing one’s consciousness, making of every image a privileged place . . . a privileged moment.”1 The type of thinking...

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3. The Call to Openness

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pp. 41-56

At the age of fifty-eight, my father suffered complete kidney failure. For the rest of his life (four years), he would have to live with the help of a dialysis machine. His life was sustained, but its quality was tragic: he lost his job...

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4. Acknowledgment: Being Open to Otherness

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pp. 57-83

What would life be like if no one acknowledged your existence? The question confronts one with the possibility of being isolated, marginalized, ignored, and forgotten by others, suffering the fate of social...

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5. Our Perfect Capacity for Being Open

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pp. 85-107

By way of enacting acknowledgment, we create the openings of those dwelling places that are necessary for us to feel at home with others. This feeling is a comfortable way to be. Genuine friendship promotes the experience...

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6. Truth, Eloquence, and the Creation of Openings

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pp. 109-131

The transcendentalist Ralph Waldo Emerson writes of the heroic nature of eloquence: “Certainly there is no true orator who is not a hero. . . . The orator must ever stand with forward foot, in the attitude of advancing. . . . His speech...

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7. Confession as an Opening

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pp. 133-151

In reporting things that the confessor has done or thought, a confession produces a kind of narrative. The discourse analyst Roger Shuy notes that such a narrative differs from standard narratives in that it implies...

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8. The Beauty of Being Open

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pp. 153-176

We are literally “moved toward” (Latin: emovere) beauty because it makes us metaphysical creatures feel good. It is an emotional experience. At the very least, the move is an evolutionary survival mechanism...

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9. Dialogue and the Death of Openness

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pp. 177-198

As opposed to the closed, rhetorical kind of question that says by its very asking, “We already know the answer, enough said,” an open question works to keep the conversation going by inviting possible interpretations...

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Conclusion: Some Closing Remarks on Openings

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pp. 199-210

In concluding his book The Perfectibility of Man, the philosopher John Passmore notes that writing a book “can be a ‘vital joy,’ but a joy which is inevitably united with the thorns of anxious care. It is not a contribution to perfection...

Notes

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pp. 211-233

Index

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pp. 235-243


E-ISBN-13: 9781602585850
E-ISBN-10: 1602585857
Print-ISBN-13: 9781602585836
Print-ISBN-10: 1602585830

Page Count: 253
Publication Year: 2012

Edition: 1