The Metamorphic Nature of Conversations
In the past, I have tried to have some structured conversations with my friends in the guise of a podcast and I realized certain things. One of them is that it is impossible to do that. When you don’t allow some form of rules to govern a conversation, it is bound to visit any town it wants. Especially with a conversation involving your friends. It might be because the dynamic of that relationship dictates the supremacy of humor to be maintained even at each other’s expense. To sucking the marrow out of life. The path or even the quality of the conversation are not even on the horizon of thought. But, it is these sorts of conversations which lend a dream-like quality to their experience because you could never pinpoint how you ended up in them.
I am quite surprised to learn the rate at which the direction of a conversation changes when you let it flow freely. I don’t know if it is the chaotic nature of firing synapses inside my brain or if it is just the natural state of a human brain. Giving the devil his due, I believe it is because of these that we are able to reach some uncharted territories in a conversation even though satisfying ourselves by just getting tiny glimpses of them. And, awkward pauses are able to turn this dream of a conversation, lucid. But when we’re in friendly banter, our agility becomes quite the supreme talent because everyone in this town is a gunslinger and you have to be the fastest one lest you join Buster Scruggs.
Now, the architectural elements through which we hold the fabric of a conversation around ourselves are borrowed through our beliefs about the world around us. And, let’s just say that the collective beliefs of everyone involved in a conversation informs the physics of that conversation. So, when any one of us detects a foreign idea — something that is incompatible with the nature of our own beliefs — we try to attack it like white blood cells fighting an infection. And sometimes, this sort of action is very entertaining to observe in a third-person perspective. Funnily enough, we fulfill the role of both a creator and an observer in both a dream and a conversation, so we are well equipped to assume that perspective if we chose to do so.
Like a dream, when we’re in a conversation, we’re not only responsible for the creation part but we also perceive the thing that is being woven around us and not only by others but also by ourselves. As both the creation and the perception run parallelly, we might miss a lot if we’re not paying attention. So, not only do we need to pay attention to the threads that the others have woven, we must also watch our own strings and how they fit in the overall fabric of the conversation.
I like thinking about conversation in an Architectural sense. For instance, if we introduce something vulnerable in the conversation, we are subliminally suggesting to the other person that we have metaphorically created a safe-like structure in the architecture of that conversation, where the other person could safely store away their secrets. And these suggestions to the subconscious are so subtle and tempting that it might be really hard to not believe in their existence. But, we have to be very careful while playing around with such structures. Words in a conversation are like shards of a broken glass in a dream. They both don’t have a direct claim to physical reality, but both are capable of inflicting pain. And, as with the broken glass, we must be very careful in wielding our words.
Remember when you die in a dream that you wake up? A conversation is also like that. When a participant stops being interested in the conversation i.e. stops existing in the metaphoric framework of that conversation, the conversation starts collapsing like a neutron star and you wake up to realize that it is gone.