There are events in our lives that are so embedded in the folds of our brain that we remember them with all five senses and even that metaphysical clarity that comes occasionally. One of those events is the washing out of my mouth with soap by my mother.
Yes, I had a “smart” mouth. The best punishment might have been tape. For several decades my sarcasm was lethal and could be really mean. While there was often humor, the skill came too easily for me. So, after we had a season of vicious politics, looking at our personal culpability is paramount if we want to live in a world where people don’t use their first base instincts. Maybe to remember or learn how to speak truth without quick judgement of other’s belief systems? Too many times if you get the first jab in, you don’t actually have to listen–and listening with curiosity is a talent to embrace in any season.
Humans are meant to have conversation. We solve problems that way. When we first huddled in groups in a cave around the fire, we talked in some fashion about the hunt, the weather, the food and the people over the hill with the new furs. Moving fireplaces into bedrooms in castles and not just having one fire in the great hall for everyone, set up part of the social system for feudal Europe. Television and its voracious appetite for our time killed more than one relationship due to conversation stagnation or the clicking of the remote control .
For me, having a lively, intellectually based conversation, with people listening and talking and taking turns and there being a bit of chaos is a rare treat when it happens. It is why the two new groups that I joined in 2016 have excited me so much–conversation is expected. If you hear the same old same old around the fire, you are SO Boring.
But, and there is always a but, the talking that many people have been doing is full of angst or hate or fear or anger or righteous indignation. (one of my specialities).
Let’s figure out how to mitigate that national tendency and move on a friend by friend, neighbor by neighbor path to regain our conversations. If you have time send me your suggestions for a small action we can all take to err on the side of humanity and not hate.
My class at Colorado Free University has one session left in January and after that I will be ready to tackle teaching people how to use their words.
Joanna, trying to practice what I preach