Well. The point is…
As soon as I’ve said these three words I hesitate, there is a moment where doubt enters into the stream of my thoughts and I ask myself “What is the point?” This can set in motion a chain reaction which turns thought against itself in an endless series of questions about the validity, correctness or coherence of what I am trying to get at.
Get to the point. Explain yourself. The demand for explanations can completely disrupt my flow.
This is just one of many small ways that we are often asked to justify ourselves. Why is what I do of value? Who or what is it good for? How does what I do bring anyone closer to a desired goal? Even without being asked such questions, I often implicitly proceed from the attitude which they express: focus on the effects, show why doing something entails some personal or social benefit, vindicate how this is better then that.
The rush towards justifying or explaining ourselves has become routine in many of our (inter)actions, the normal way of proceeding. It is there in my feeling that I have to do something today on my day off, I must be productive in some way for this day to have any worth, I need to be able to tell myself my time was not wasted. If I am unable to justify something in this way I can end up feeling inadequate or worth less. This affects both small and large aspects of life in a deep way. Continue reading
Before this last Sunday’s conversation Jeppe shared a link to Anthony McCann and Dougald Hine’s talk in Västerås, Sweden on Anthony’s Politics of Gentleness. It proved to be a useful… shall I say helpful prod. In no small part by the way in which delving into Anthony’s language provided a different way to look at our own considerations. Case-in-point, the distinction he makes between useful and helpful.
This is not the place to analyze or explain Anthony’s work in depth. But I would like to delve into a few points and how they influenced our dialogue.
The hardest thing – among many difficult aspects – when working within a flow can be in the way we confront the tangle of expectations and predictions tempting us away from where we are into fictions and fantasies. The same old thing, tomorrows and yesterdays. The past and the future.
It’s hard not to ask, “What’s next?”
Uncertainty is uncomfortable, especially when we face it alone, in a seeming void.
The trouble is, once this question intrudes we are not attending to what’s now. This constricts our prospects of what might come next right at the moment we are most concerned with having things turn out better.
A tag-line is intended to convey an impression, a first impression of what lies within.
Brevity wrestles with legibility and it can be hard to tell which one wins out.
We are expected to know what to say. To know what to do. To have a plan…
But we are hit by moments of pause. It’s becoming increasingly clear there’s something terribly wrong with this entire way of operating.
We’re unaccustomed to interactions without goals. We expect an agenda. We look to judge worth based on expectations met. This strategy appears to work, on the surface, but there are serious problems if this mode of action absorbs all our attention. It turns us into machines when we treat everything as a cog to be tuned to some high, but arbitrary efficiency.
“…a stream of meaning flowing among and through us and between us.”
David Bohm, Introduction to On Dialogue
“and the stones show me the way….”
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