When we’re communicating, what thoughts do we have in mind about it? How consciously are we thinking of the fact we’re taking the fruits of our experience and sending that out to others through the medium of words, asking or expecting them to accept our conclusions? Isn’t that what this is: life and our understanding of it gave rise to the thoughts we hold so firmly; talking, we impart those ideas and hope others will share them.
Of all the experiences life could’ve given us and any number of differing priorities, interests or perspectives we might have, it’s amazing to think of all we might talk about. Especially these days, when paths can diverge in so many new ways within, between and across our distinct geographical communities. Trying to create a single, limited agenda of what we care most about is pretty difficult to imagine.
It’s truly incredible that we might attempt a “single conversation” across the multiplicity of our experiences. But that seems what technology’s offering and perhaps even demanding of us: one, open, universal conversation (Notes One). Yet it’s not like communication, tolerance and mutual understanding have “ever” been humanity’s strong suit.
Aren’t we being asked to do more than has ever been expected? To understand the nature of the modern systems encompassing the world and reconfiguring its workings in intensely speedy yet largely invisible ways. To skilfully communicate with people from all walks of life at any time, day or night, despite rarely meeting them or knowing anything of their firmly held beliefs and assumptions.
What is it we’re now a part of, every one of our choices feeding into this complex reworking of “life”? How are we ever to understand, let alone navigate, this ever-changing landscape of how the world works? It’s a strange sort of wave we’re all riding: everything taking on new forms around us as we hope or trust that those in charge care enough about how it’s going to play out (Notes Two).
In this context, isn’t communication going to be taxed in completely new ways? Also, cooperation – the idea that we might agree on both the need for and execution of any form of action. Given the complexity of our different experiences in the past as much as the present, how are we ever to get on the same page? How are we to find adequate time to hear, understand and acknowledge everyone’s background and concerns?
There’s perhaps not time to listen. But, if that’s true, how do we move forward? Do we just disregard others’ perspectives and push a certain set of ideas and conclusions into that space we’ve carved out? Do we angrily fight one another’s conclusions without seeing the circumstances that gave rise to them? (Notes Three)
Taking a slightly convoluted path to get here, my question’s really whether anger ever actually helps our cause. I understand it’s a natural response, both personally and idealistically – ideas and courses of action matter a great deal – but, at what cost?
Notes and References:
Note 1: Social starting points for modern ways
Note 1: Can we manage all-inclusive honesty?
Note 1: Ideas that tie things together
Note 1: Interdependency
Note 2: What we create by patterns of behaviour
Note 2: What would life be if we could trust?
Note 2: Complication of being human
Note 2: Life’s never been simpler…
Note 3: Frameworks of how we relate
Note 3: Thoughts of idealism and intolerance
Note 3: Overwhelm and resignation
Note 3: The world we’re living in