1990 - ESSAY - SWIMMING IN IMPLICITY (a continuation)
by David Boulton
All week I had been living in a sea of questions about dialogue. Dr David Bohm, an eminent scientist/philosopher and a man for whom I have great respect and affection, was about to come to Apple. He was coming to learn whether a dialogue about the relevancy of dialogue was possible in such a large and complex organization. Traveling among some of the participants and being drawn by the imminency of the event, I could sense that some of the issues were beginning to constell: Companies are already seeing the need of becoming learning and collaboration oriented • the obstacles to learning and collaboration are outgrowths of our inabilities to share meaning • dialogue represents an environment entirely concerned with people learning to share meaning • an improvement in people's general abilities to share meaning has many positive implications for particular functional inefficiencies (individually and organizationally) • the logic for dialogue is profoundly practical.
My friend Barbara and I were sitting together going over these points. We were focusing in on the central obstacle to dialogue - to sharing meaning: the fact that each of us, necessarily, has a different body of experience in/forming the meaning, that in any given instant, we are experiencing. That, each of us proceeds from an untold number of unconscious assumptions which, when taken as a whole, can be seen as acting as one "lens" and one "tether". We were getting more intense, exploring and seeing that we both subtly suffer from the assumption that there is a "right way" - a "one" right way which mirrors the one who holds and is held by the assumptions.
At this time Daaron, the five year old I belong to, came into the room - picked up a whiteboard marker and began drawing something on his part of our whiteboard. (This is not uncommon - we have no real hard and fast rules about accessing each other. Also, he has his own "protected" section of the whiteboard in my room.)
Busily, he began drawing, without hard angles, what looked like a maze. He then said: "Dad, I have invented a new game I want to tell you about: "The map game". Barbara and I paused our talking and he continued by drawing a fat line that cut across the main path in the maze. "After turning to get through all this stuff [he said as he pointed to the heart of the maze], we have to cross this river [pointing to the fat line] and... the problem is ...it's guarded by an ALL-I-GATE-OR1 ..Describing its [ferocious] two teeth while drawing it, he began to draw another creature which looked like a human being with a contorted face and belly. This creature was deeper into the maze and on the other side of the river from the alligator. Finishing the drawing, Daaron said: "Most people think it's [the problem] the alligator before the river's shore, but the real problem [of the game] is the CYCLOPS on the other side."
Content to have shared in the dialogue, he left the room and went off to play with Charlie [his dog].
1 (he is experimenting with phonetic stuff)
Mental note quotes: Without an understanding of the migrational nature of tangents there will be dis/ease when moving through the mind field.
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