Thinking of how, in life, we’re all reflecting our experience in thought, coating it in words, then sharing them with others, how beautifully is that coming together? Is it a jangling, mismatched cacophony of firmly-held positions and battles for the crown, or a delicately balanced dance between the varying perspectives we each inevitably have of life?
Sometimes it seems we’re simply humans, gathered around our one complex reality, trying to adequately capture it in words. As if thought, as this idealistic notion, could somehow inch its way into every aspect of life to the point of being considered “truth”. That we live our lives through thought seems fascinating: each person converting experiences into words we can pool by communication. (Notes One)
Presumably, it could be a beautiful thing? An incredibly purposeful dance as we each offer our perspective and receive others’ insights; learning, as we go, to appreciate reality through other eyes. Between us all, it’s possible we could build up such a multifaceted picture of all it means to be human: all these different ways of being, paths walked and priorities we’ve had over the years.
As if each person could somehow voice, completely truthfully, how they see things and what it all means. Reality, then, reflected through the unique constitution of all our characters and personalities – each offering up what life’s like from their starting point, with all they’ve been through along the way and all they’ve made of whatever came before them. Difficult as most paths might’ve been, isn’t it valuable to hear? (Notes Two)
Maybe that’s what culture offers us? The more beautiful take on what we’re all attempting each day: the give and take of voices, actions, values, backgrounds and gestures; the conflict or resolution of differences; the interplay between what we all bring and what’s working itself out within society and our thoughts about it. This symbolic reflection of our lives and how we might be living them. (Notes Three)
In that, there clearly can be beauty – even in the darkest subjects. Isn’t it about the balance? About letting people be; giving their words and gestures space to land. This delicate interaction between each person, all that drives or concerns them, and the respect they’re given within the bigger picture. Don’t we all need to speak? To have the space to express ourselves, feel our perspective honoured, and offer others the same.
Achieving that kind of balance, these days, seems extraordinarily difficult. How much time do we have to create space for truly opening up to one another? How many venues do we have where people can meet and experience all the added nuance of tone, body language, and everything else that’s stripped out with technology? How often are we alone; hoping to connect? (Notes Four)
Finding ways to communicate authentically that work for us all – somehow transposing the old dances into new, modern ones everyone can take part in – may not be as easy as some people imagine, but where are we without it?
Notes and References:
“How to have a Beautiful Mind” by Edward de Bono, (Vermilion, London), 2004.
“People Skills” by Robert Bolton, Ph.D., (Touchstone, Simon & Schuster), 1986 (originally 1979).
Note 1: The thought surrounding us
Note 1: Joining the dots
Note 1: What is the public conversation?
Note 2: Understanding what we’re all part of
Note 2: Personal archaeology
Note 2: Making things up as we go along
Note 3: Culture as information
Note 3: Navigation, steering & direction
Note 3: The stories that we hear
Note 4: What is it with tone?
Note 4: Modern challenges to relationship
Note 4: All in such a rush
Thinking of life as a dance between us all was also the focus of Mutual awareness and accommodation?