Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Intentions in Conversation

I've been re-reading "Crucial Conversations" and am getting reacquainted with the concept of the pool of shared meaning, and it's caused me to wonder about our pure intention when it comes to conversation.

If I've got a hankering to instigate a conversation about a topic that's of interest to me, why would I feel the need to talk about it with another person? Is it to get support about my ideas? Is it to share information? Or is it to persuade the other person to go along with my way of thinking?

I've been thinking about this ever since my mom and I somehow found ourselves smack dab in the middle of a conversation about religion - an area we don't really see eye-to-eye about anyway.

If I'm truly committed to dialogue, I will be willing to suspend my assumptions for the purpose of learning something - and I may eventually change my mind. Which brings me to another question: do both parties need to be committed to the same outcome? If not, is it really a dialogue? Or is it more of a debate?

Just wondering. What do you think?


At 3:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jodee - In case it helps, a quote from the proponent of dialogue David Bohm, who said:

"Intentions are commonly thought to be conscious and deliberate. But you really have very little ability to choose your intentions. Deeper intentions generally arise out of the total significance (of the situation) in ways of which one is not aware, and over which one has little or no control".

[From an article posted at]

At 8:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Conversations between mothers and daughters have a different dynamic than any other conversation. Mid-life for the daughter is mid-point of the transition from daughter to caretaking to caretaker. The bond between mother and dauther can be a constricting band that stifles listening or it can be enlightening. So many factors bar clear conversation between the two. Enjoy each part of the transition and treasure what you read in yourself. Your mother will always be a different kind of conversation partner. Katherine

At 8:45 AM, Blogger Jodee Bock said...

Ah Andrew and Katherine - thank you so much for your thoughts here. I'm currently reading "Home With God," the last in Neale Donald Walsch's Conversations With God series, and am thinking more about subconscious, conscious, and superconscious thought - translated to body, mind, and spirit. I'm working to recognize those distinctions, so am noticing whether I can become more aware of my intentions. I appreciate this new reference with a slightly different twist.

And Katherine, thank you so much for your comments about the mother-daughter dynamic. I learn so much about myself when I talk - and listen - to my mother. I'm learning to be more grateful even for those places where the listening (on each of our parts) seems to be stifling or enlightening. Of course, the only listening I can do anything about is my own, so just noticing that is a huge revelation for me and I can then choose a new listening space.

Ah, life is good!


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