Choosing a direction towards what you don’t know
In a conversation we can feel the urge to have a purpose in the form of a goal we are trying to reach, and we can feel the urge to know the path to that goal in the form of questions or topics to explore. These urges arise because we believe if we begin unprepared, our conversations would be rambling messes, and a complete waste of everyone’s time. These urges arise because we feel we would be wandering.
But what would be so bad about wandering with our thoughts in the company of another person? Such wandering necessarily leads to surprise. Wandering leaves space for creativity.
[…] But in dialogue, insofar as we have no purpose and no agenda and we don’t have to do anything, we don’t really need to have an authority or a hierarchy. Rather, we need a place where there is no authority, no hierarchy, where there is no special purpose—sort of an empty place, where we can let anything be talked about.~ David Bohm from On Dialogue p49
In our conversations we must overcome the desire for predetermined purpose and path. We do that by priming our minds. We go in prepared but in a particular fashion. Our guide must be curiosity and a desire to play an infinite game where the point of the game is to continue playing. In our conversations we want to follow what is interesting. Our intention for our conversation is for it to continue as long as we are finding things of interest. We can have that intention without having a purpose (some predetermined goal) and without having a path (in the form of predetermined questions or topics.)
We want to avoid being drawn toward what we understand. In that direction lies the temptation to summarize and finish. If we instead follow what is interesting—what we don’t understand—then we are drawn toward our unknown. We are using our curiosity as our compass.
Are you heading toward what you already understand or toward your unknown?