If we are talking about dialogue, the first thing that comes into our mind is verbal, oral dialogue. And a good example of this in contemporary cultural context is translation. However, this is fairly new form of communication and the three much earlier and older ones are: war, love and trade.
At first sight they seem to be rather different, but in fact they have a lot of common features and in real life are closely linked together. A good illustration for this is marriage, which clearly belongs to the love-discourse. But it also involves trade (the widespread tradition of "selling" brides, dowry) and war (kidnapping brides).
As I already mentioned, war is the one of the oldest and most developed forms of a dialogue between cultures. We know that in its earlier stage of development Culture does not acknowledge others beside it. At that stage Culture is directly opposed to the everything around it: we, who live in side the Culture, are human creatures and the others, who live outside our cultural context, are not. However, with further development there the need arises for communication with Others, the need for dialogue.
War is the announcing of the presence of "the Other" de facto, even before Culture has acknowledged it yet. How can we say this? It's because we can only make a war with somebody who is equal to us. We can't do battle with somebody who is weaker - this kind of action is called ´hunting´. If we make war with somebody who is much stronger than us, it's not dialogue but monologue (nuclear bomb vs. stone axes). Particularly embarrassing in a cultural context is a civil war - you can't really fight against yourself.
Now - what are the reasons for war? It seems that there are so many, but act...
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...edy called "Lysistrate." The play was written in 411 bc and it tells the story of the women of two towns at war. They make a deal and don't sleep with their men as long as they are at war. As you can imagine, the war is very soon ended, because if there is something that men like more than competing with each other, it's sex.
So, as I have shown, war can be described as a form of a dialogue between cultures. And as we can see and hear form the news every day, it's still seems to occupy a major place in modern system of communication. The ancient patterns of human behaviour are woven into our culture so deeply that the core of our mentality, which lies beneath a subtle layer of modern society, is basically the same now as it was at the beginning of time. Even though we like to think that we are smarter now then we were thousands of years ago, we really aren't.
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