Kindness is universal and in abundance, everywhere. It paves the way toward remembering people we cherish in our lives. From family to partners, to 10-minute conversations with strangers on the train. Somehow, we remember them.
In these contexts, the intimacy comers through, and mindblending is the vehicle to get there.
What is it?
Mindblending is when the conditions for articulation are optimal in that it requires no translation. Zero hesitation exists & has no power. You’re just speaking naturally. Equally, we both share the same semantics, or better, our arbitrage definitions are mutually understood.
What are the principles of mindblending?
- No judgement of circumstances: the other party’s, the environment, the conversation.
- Open ends & soft absolutes: Whatever the activity or topic, the endings, and leads must be broad enough that any action by either party towards these is accepted. They are welcome. On the other hand, there may be some absolute thoughts & opinions at play. If they are articulated without imposing or intent to persuade, ie. ‘soft’ when listened to, then it would be deemed valuable.
- Joy in the journey, not in the conclusion. The leads and endings exist, yes, but reaching there is the adventure. We can’t wait to hear what the other says. It is a gift to listen.
- When it ends, cherish the death. It must conclude. Cherish the memory. You can continue it another time. Exhaustion at the edge of conversation is rebirth of new thought.
How does it happen?
It can happen naturally. In striking up a conversation with someone, act as if you are longtime friends with them. Icebreakers hinder your ability to act with bravery. Polite introductions are a synonym of hesitation. Ask the greatest questions already: that’s who you are anyway. No need to break the ice when you can see one’s depths through it.
There is first the intent to explore together. Mutual interest between the two to arrive at the depths of a theme – an ending to a book, the frontier of a field, the future of humanity – to seek its darkness. The thrill of the unknown is addictive when exploring one’s conversational subspace with another.
There is then the expanded awareness of the voice: their tones, rhythms, questions, and bodily cues. We start listening, truly listening, to what they say. We listen not from our position, but from a mutually-created perspective. We just happen to use ours as mere materials. It is through Socratic Dialogue, that we build world wonders of moments.
What’s the problem?
We are severely lacking in mindblending moments. One, it is intimate so hesitation is at play. Two, it can be easily misunderstood as a pursuit via courting. People aren’t used to being vulnerable on the regular. Seeking depth in another’s answers is considered implicit flirting in some cultures.
Hence, the normalization of mindblending is a challenge. More on talking for companionship as opposed to an ulterior motive, more on the pursuit of articulation & surrendering ourselves to the craft.
Also, the poorer (in skills) man’s naturally pattern when their thoughts are challenged lead to negative responses (eg. Ad hominem, etc.). This can discourage the act in the first place. We were taught to listen and speak critically, but not speak warmly & listen empathetically. In some cultures, neither is even mentioned in the first place.
How to effectively mindblend
Say enough to instill provocation. When we share our thoughts, some words are triggers that will compel the other to express something. Stop yourself as soon as possible when this happens: Let them act on that spark as it comes to them.
Sometimes, say things parallel, not against them. People denote this as ‘thinking out loud’ or ‘open thoughts’ and doesn’t necessarily serve the topic at hand, but can serve as an indirect trigger for furthering a conversation.
Play the Tennis game of semantics, to emerge new ones. It’s the greatest form of respect to emulate the other’s vocabulary. It shows you’re listening, but that you’re considering their definitions as well. New ones may naturally emerge and are mutually agreed.
All in all, Mindblending is nourishment in mnemonic form. We will always remember them. That’s how we live.