"It doesn't always have to be like this ... all we need to do is make
sure we keep talking."
... Stephen Hawking
I am indebted to Bruce Munton who inspired this conversation.
Consider this: in the
(read: in our unexamined, untransformed
all that there is, has been distinguished by evolution or by a Supreme
Being or by some other originating force - whichever is your
persuasion. But in
of transformation, all of this is distinguished by (and as) our
speaking. Your life is distinguished by speaking.
is distinguished by speaking.
is distinguished by speaking. Indeed, transformation itself is
distinguished by speaking. Look: transformation is a
We distinguish "speaking transformation" as different than "speaking
about transformation" (there may or may not be an
If transformation itself is distinguished by speaking, then the
to transformation, is through speaking. And if the
to transformation is through speaking, then the implement for
transforming anything that's untransformed (and I do mean
anything) is speaking. In other words, the
milieu in which we transform anything that's
untransformed, is conversation - rather than the
drama of that which is untransformed (yes there is a very
subtle difference between the two).
To fully get this (ie to fully grok it - as Robert
Heinlein may have said), I have to differentiate between transforming
something ... and changing it. Prior to the onset of transformation, a
thing is what it is. And post-transformation, the thing is still what
it is. It stays the same thing as it always was. It hasn't changed
from the way it was. Transformation doesn't change anything. What it
time, is the
in which we hold the thing ie in which the thing
(if you prefer).
Intuitively, we already know
and its conditions don't have to always be like this. Intuitively, we
already know of the possibility of transformation. But the way we know
it, is pretty much the same way as "caterpillar" already knows the
possibility of "butterfly": even though it's already built in,
it's not fully
And in the absence of
of transforming the way things are, we go for the next best thing: we
try to change the way things are. We've blurred the line
between change and transformation - but they occur in different realms.
Added to that,
doesn't fully let in the possibility of
transformation at all (fully allowing for the possibility of real,
thrilling transformation, calls for a certain courage, a
and for navigating a daunting course away from playing small).
Actually it's worse than that: it's "plus ça change, plus
c'est la même chose" - the more things change, the more
they stay the same. That means changes we effect on
and its conditions, are likely to have the exact opposite results, and
keep in place the very conditions we want to change, prolonging their
lives, ensuring they'll persist. Transformation, on the other hand,
heralds the possibility of something completely new coming
forth, something which mere change has no
"But it" (ie whatever it is: politics, racism, wealth
inequality, you name it) "has to change" you tell me, "it
must, it's wrong.". So here's the thing: standing flat-footed in
our own experience, and observing without prejudice, reveals we
can't transform anything we make wrong! Who knows why it
works that way? ... but that's the way it works: that which we make
wrong, we can't transform. We may change it, yes. But the more we
change it, the more it stays the same. We're
... or so it would seem. And
is wired in place by our seeming reluctance to differentiate between
transformation and change, and to be willing to speak transformation.
This is the malaise of
and of us, its denizens: we don't know who we are (I mean we don't know
who we are really) and therefore we have no facility with
our own miraculous power to shift the quality of our lives, of living
through speaking. That's the malaise. Conversation is the cure.