The Nature of Our Conversation

What is the nature of this blog conversation? For one, we know each other. It’s an ordinary conversation we might have, and that we may already have had, that takes us a little deeper, into reflection. Our exchange may open for us another window on how things are.

We’re just making a conversation about things that might matter. In fact it’s probably the conversation that matters. It’s how we get outside of ourself, how we gain perspective, how we find relief. It’s about connecting, this connecting with each other being a tool that helps us along our ways.

This experiment is about being one step removed, not a direct conversation, but mediated by the blog, and so from a safe distance, to separate ourselves from the social gambits of direct discourse. You get to choose. Get to keep it to yourself. While there is that separation, yet we know we are in each other’s company. I believe this experiment mediates the risks and has possibility because we know each other.

It seems we come to our wisdom and deep satisfaction with life through various ways of conversing that take us from ourselves into the company of another, even if the other is our own inner Self. 

Conversation is both challenging and the best way to release our mind from its chatter, from resistance to letting go the fears that limit our experience for fully engaging with life. Conversation, I feel, can relieve us from the anxiety of feeling alone with our thoughts. Conversation can open us to learning not found on our own. Conversation can open us to action and engagement. Our conversations prepare us for our death, for dying well.

I think that is what i’m suggesting for this experiment, for our being in conversation. For not knowing what it’s all about, what our topics are or where we’re going. For instead, being open to a greater wisdom than what we might imagine.

As heart-felt conversation connects us one to the other other, that act of sharing seems to be deeply relieving and satisfying to our spirits. This is what I need to learn.

If I go out to take a photo wanting to take the best photo, an impressive photo, I fail. I have nothing. If instead I say to myself, I might not get a photo today, then when I walk the streets I am not absorbed in my own goals but for this different perspective, am now open to the world before me, can now listen to what the world has to tell me. And it’s never what I might imagine, nor could have imagined. And for that I feel blessed, not in the careful management of my life, but my attention to something else, a voice wiser than I, that wants me to know of other things that I can imagine on my own, a deeper wisdom.

If anything, I feel this experiment is not about making something, but about listening, is a medium for listening for what the world wants to say to us, what the world out there wants for us. That’s what writing has always been to me.

I believe when we put something into the public sphere, which is to put ourselves into a public, then we can grow, know more who we are, and it seems in this manner even the public can be changed.

The idea for this is to shift our focus from speed scrolling, click-bait, getting attention, building followers. This is not for the small screen, not about catching our eye, not about our fear to miss out. It’s about being in a still moment, about considering, quietly, with some thought, how we are. It’s not about being drawn into the social media agenda shaping how we should behave, but to step back, weigh the moment we are in, choose our own life.

I’m not sure how that’s going to work. I’m taking a cue from Jaron Lanier, internet pioneer and author (Ten Reasons to Delete Your Social Media Accounts Right Now) who loves technology but warns against its abuse by the business of social media platforms. In its place, he suggests email and blog. The other cue I take is from Katherine Hayhoe, honoured with the highest UN award for her communication about the climate crisis, who says the best thing we can do is have a conversation. And finding our way though that, together when we can, without any expectation on each other, is the measure I hope for this experiment. Our shared time is for exploring and expanding, sharing, not labeling.

And that sharing may be in silence, no expectation even for words between us. In silent response, there is much wisdom and truth. The company is enough. For me, it just means a lot to know you are there.

I feel this experiment of the blog post conversation is about exploring questions more than having answers. I doubt our essential questions ever should have answers. Maybe we grow more by following the question instead of looking for the solution, by going where the question might lead, without judgement and expectation, to let the uncertainty guide us home. The work of our human sojourn.

Playwright Samuel Beckett insisted that all this amounts to nothing, and that was his assured answer to everything, except for one point presented him that he couldn’t explain away,. What he couldn’t explain away as nothing was the fact that he had written a play. The writing of the play itself is not nothing, but something. And so it is: the conversation is the thing – that we do this at least – and it is not nothing. 

 I’m tentatively stepping into this experiment, feeling ignorant of so much, so I do appreciate your collaboration, your willingness to join in, to meet up where our paths cross.