Dialogic /Middleground /Between
All of the attitudes, beliefs and skills discussed as aspects of "maturity" come together in considering that each of us does not exist in a vacuum, but always in relation.  Thus, the goal in the "both/and" perspective is to be both personally mature and also to have mature, healthy, satisfying relationships.  For example, the ability to distinguish, the awareness and ability to make healthy, self-empowering choices, the trust in my knowings, the faith in the processes that are not yet known all these are present in the "dialogic," in the relational aspect of the human experience. 

      In this process of becoming "independent of the environment" and also "being in healthy interactions with it," I set up a "between" that may be of many differing qualities depending upon the kind of contact:  "I-It" contacts;  "I-You" contacts;  as well as "I-Thou" contacts (Buber).  Persons need contacts of all kinds.  The "I-It" relationships keep the business of the world going, myriad kinds of arrangements and interactions in which I am not very much personally engaged.  "I-You" contacts involve me more personally, more emotionally;  I am more engaged because in most cases I will have some personal involvement with the "other" in the encounter.  "I-Thou" experiences are those in which I am totally engaged as a person, peak experiences to use Maslow's term. 

      In "I-You" interrelationships, the persons involved are able, based upon their experience of themselves and each other, to make a choice to co-create a shared space, with shared responsibilities and commitments.  This personal involvement is a matter of personal choice, which involves an element of risk and a lot of conscious compromise.  There are an "I" and an "Other" with personal needs and investments that must be negotiated.  And there is also an "Ours" (both/and) in which both persons share and to which each chooses to sacrifice some more personal agenda, some measure of perceived independence, for a gestalt that is greater than that of each individual alone or both together. 

      The "I-Thou" is a special "meeting" as Buber has said.  It is not consciously created, and has an additional element of the "numinous" (Korb, 1988). 

      Rich Hycner (1995) says, 

"The human heart yearns for contact . . . Dialogue is at the heart of the human . . . the being of each of us needs to be revered by ourselves, but also by others."
 The "dialogic" announces a model of a mature relationship where giving and receiving as well as reciprocity are, or may be possible. 


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