An idea aching to be born

June 8, 2010 |  by  |  Uncategorized

An idea aching to be born

These are words that I used quite intuitively in correspondence with a student in Jakarta who had ‘popped up’ in my inbox to offer her help. This was in the context of my asking for assistance with translating material for a presentation I was preparing to give – and did – in West Sumatra, Indonesia last week.

After Dania had done what I required, very ably, I thought to mention the Conversare adventure to her, accompanied by saying, “It’s based on an idea that was aching to be born and, lo and behold, it popped out in Hong Kong.” To which she commented in a post on this site:

“I have to say that I LOVE the Conversare blog! What a way to connect with people. Real people! Just a week ago I went out with my bestfriends and we talked about how technology has taken over our lives, which can be a good thing and a bad thing. The good thing is, it makes us easier to connect and ‘talk’ with friends wherever whenever, thanks to email, Skype, Yahoo Messenger, Facebook, etc. But at the same time, it’s like a robotic way of connecting with people. Everything’s virtual. No eye contact, no smile exchanges (well, if you consider this as a smile… hehe)… no human touch. And when we finally meet, we talk to each other while being busy with our cellphones, texting other friends. So how do you define interaction in this era? By poking each other on FB? By texting? By sending email?

I think Conversare is a great thing! And I really love the definition of it: to dance together. What a lovely definition And it must be fun to be the facilitator (you! ). I’ve been saying this line since I was in junior high and I’m going to say it now… when I grow up, I want to be a facilitator (and WHEN exactly will I grow up? Hahahaha).”
Dania, student, Jakarta

Dania’s observations were, to me, an affirmation of the foundational idea of Conversare.  One way of expressing this nicely is this (also I suspect by a young person although I am not sure of this):

“In my model of the world, people are literally dying for want of real, authentic contact – with those who are willing to engage. The rash of ‘networking’ over the past few years seems to have been driven almost totally by the need for ‘business’ contacts, without authentic regard or curiosity for or about the people with whom one is ‘networking’. The tweeting business really takes things down to a lowest common denominator level, and while … may be useful for some, it sort of represents, for me, a further deterioration of the depth of human contact for which I believe most people are craving.

In my world, I continue to keep moving forward, opening more and more space for face to face authentic contact within which I can ‘share the truth of my experience’, and be continually curious about that which is outside of me – instead of continually judging what I believe others are saying or what they might mean.”

Cathy Carmody (on Open Space Technology listserv)

Social media certainly have a place, for diverse very useful – but by no means all – purposes. Conversare is about periodically putting all technology aside and concentrating on the people present, mainly through showing curiosity and interest and through listening.

What do you feel benefits of doing this could be?

Alan Stewart

1 Comment

  1. I loved the quote from Thoreau… “The greatest compliment that was ever paid to me was when one asked me what I thought, and attended to my answer” – Part of its charm for me was its simple narration of a life affirming moment and how it applied to “me” (ie him). I am grateful to the submitter for it – I also loved “Watch how a conversation between two strangers can turn into a magnificent sharing of personal stories that matter.”— Lisa Evans

    There often comes a time when story telling becomes catalytic and is often joined by laughter. I love it when this happens – life at its best.

    Let me offer you another quote “Words are, of course, the most powerful drugs used by mankind.” Rudyard Kipling

    That was fun


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