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Paul Feyerabend sez:

I choose my word very carefully — they must sound right, must have the right rhythm, and their meaning must be sightly off center; nothing dulls the mind as thoroughly as a sequence of familiar notions.

Loving a intelligent conversation so much, i will always try to steer the subject into uncharted curious relevant ideas. That basically means i will often say things in which i don’t really believe a lot, and that are really weird, just because they frame things in different ways. You could say i just say those things to shock.

What one has to gain in doing this is that sometimes it is possible to spark new ideas in other people’s minds. The risk you run is that someone will try to prove you wrong. And that is boring.

Does it matter if my ideas are wrong? No. I am no dictator of anything. Who cares.

Does it matter if my ideas are dumb? For sure. Nothing dulls the mind etcetera, etcetera.

If you try to prove someone wrong, you are basically wasting your time. You will not convince the other person, because what’s at stake are not the words you are using, but the attitude towards life your words show (it’s a little more complicated than that, but something like it). You will not, for yourself, gain anything worthwhile, you’ll just maintain a status position (you are better than him), and to make things worse you’ll do so in such a manner that next time you’ll have to prove it all over again. You just created a game that draws you back, because brains have this strong tendency to keep coming back to «enemy hunting», and this games give you nothing.

And before you tell me that without doing that there is no conversation possible: Really, exploring ideas together is a whole different matter. It feels different, it requires different skills, and it has different long-term consequences. You could almost say the only thing they have in common is jaw movement.

So. Get interested in people. Watch them closely. Ask curious questions, ones that they have not answered again and again. Provide slightly off centre notions so that they can get curious at you in turn. Improvise. And never try to box them into what is “right” or “wrong”.


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