Quora answer: What is the nature of a “deep conversation”?

Feb 18 2014

Deep conversations are those that somehow delve into the nondual core of the worldview. I have talked about this before in other answers. The nondual core of the worldview has layers and those layers are Order, Right, Good, Fate, Source, Root. So conversation in general tends to be erratic because one is attempting to generate information and information is always a surprise. if you are smart you do not tell the same person the same piece of information more than once, and strangely enough we can remember mostly what we have told whom. So what we do is fish around for things to talk about which will be news to the other person to whom we are talking. This tends to produce a random path as everyone present tries to fill in something that the others do not know. If we are telling something that someone among the group knows, but others do not we mention who knows the story already in many cases, and this allows the person who knows to listen again without exhaustion from hearing the same thing over and over. Somehow the acknowledgement of our knowing something already allows us to bear listening to it again.


But when we exit this random interchange of information which we can think of as chatter into a conversation with direction then that takes on a whole new significance because in those conversations there is some sort of mutual discovery. The conversation itself reveals something to both members, not just unknown facts about each other, but something about what they share together is revealed in such a conversation. An excellent example of this is in the Last Picture Show where there are conversations between the youths and the elders concerning the wild days of the elders when they were youths, and in that there was a sharing because it had a bearing on the crazy things the youths were doing at the time and allowed the youths to understand something of the context of what they were doing in the broad sweep of their lives, while the adults by revealing the secrets of their youths were able to relive their youth and bring it into focus as it had impacted their lives. One of the things about such conversations that reveal the depths beyond the appearances of life is how unexpected they are and I think the Last Picture Show captures that unexpected quality better than any other film I can think of.


So we enter into a flow of mutual revealing which has a direction and a limit it step by step reveals a path with a certain unexpected order to it. And the depth of that revealing has to do with the appearance of the levels of nonduality which can be encountered for instance when someone says the right word, at the right time, in the right place, to the right person. RTA in Sanskrit is Arte in Greek. It originally meant something like cosmic harmony. But later became associated with Dharma which has to do with doing what is the correct thing for ones caste. It was taken over by Buddhism as signifying the morality of the Buddha. In our culture it means something like following the spirit of the law rather than the letter of the law. What is right points the way to justice externally and temperance internally two of the four virtues.


In the midst of a deep conversation one knows when one has gone deeper when one encounters the good word. The good is the source of the variety of things, it is a cornucopia from which the abundance of different fruits comes. What is good leads to more good as increasing returns and it is the dual of evil not just the bad. The good is the ultimate source of morality. Something may be right but not good, because the good takes into account the nature of the person for which something good is prescribed by someone else. And generally we are only effective in teaching what is good by our own actions that are good, and also by explaining what has worked out for us in life in such a way that the other person can intuit what might be good for them, which is different from what was good for us. Since shoe sizes and styles differ just as feet and clothing styles differ which we are attracted to, so what is a good shoe for one person is not for another by both internal and external measures that only we can make ourselves.


In the midst of a deep conversation one knows when one has gone even deeper when one encounters the fated word. The fated word is one that recognizes one’s own inner essence and how that will cause circumstances to play out regardless of what one actually does to try to change them. Fate is not determinate nor arbitrary but something nondual between them which is called dreeing the wyrd in Old English. There are certain things about our lives that are weird and remain so throughout our lives, or perhaps it is just an incident were fate intervenes for good or evil, such as when we have an accident, or death rises up to meet us and sometimes snatches us away from ourselves. It is at these moments that our life flashed before us. When it flashes before us we see how everything led to this moment whether arbitrary or determined. The wyrd is what is laid down in the Orlog. In it there is no difference between past and future there is only what is completed and the incomplete still to be resolved. In what is wyrd we step beyond our idea of time is either linear or circular and are open to another dimension of time that might be called mythic. Our own fathers and mothers are unique, and we recognize their uniqueness in relation to the archetypal fields of which they are one permutation.


In the midst of a deeper conversation one knows when one has reached a profound level when one hears the source word. This is when one meets what Jung calls the archetype. Each of us has a father and a mother for instance, Even orphans or children estranged from their parents have a void where that archetype should be. All the fathers in the world, good, bad or indifferent form the archetypal field of the father, and the same is true for mothers. All mothers of all kinds form a field to which we all are related through the vast history of the myriad  some generations of the 80 billion or so people who have ever lived. The source word unveils the archetype and allows us as Hillman says to see through the current situation into the archetypal field in which we may be caught. Much of what is our Will in the Nietzschian or Schopenhauerian sense to what Freud calls the trieb (more than just instincts) are generated out of the archetypes.


In the midst of the deeper conversation one knows one has reached an abysmal level when one encounters the root word. The root word is one that takes us back to our own roots and ground our selves letting us know who we are. Jung calls this individuation. Jung sees it as unfolding the mandala of our selves. We are unique and the root word allows us to recognize our own uniqueness. Normally the root word is a name of God. Our own Lord, i.e. God as we know Him which is how He is in relation to us as a unique human existent creature.


These are the levels of depth in conversation within the Indo-European worldview. At first we are caught up with the other with whom we are conversing in a joint venture of exploration and unveiling. Eventually we are both learning which neither of us knew previously. We follow the uncanny order of the unfolding of this collaboration by which we reveal to each other what we did not know about ourselves. But then at some point as we go deeper we see more than just the uncanny ordering of the unfolding of the mutual  knowledge but we begin to recognize what is right, then perhaps eventually what is good, and then perhaps eventually what is fated, and then maybe its source, and maybe then our own root.


But when we look closely at ordinary conversation, and listen to it carefully we see that all these levels make their appearance at certain times without those lost in chatter being aware. Or maybe they are aware for a moment but then lose focus and the moment passes into the normal oblivion and forgetfulness of life as it is lived and the chatter continues unabated. But all those levels and depths are there sometimes being revealed, and sometimes close below the surface of ordinary conversation, if we are but aware. Sometimes we speak and reveal more than we know about ourselves. Sometimes we have a Freudian slip. Or there is a joke that is just too true to be funny. Life is passing and appears to be superficial but it is not. We are constantly revealing more about ourselves than we want to or can really grasp ourselves. So part of the art of conversation is to listen at the various levels to the chatter. Each level is there just beyond the surface to be seen if we can hear it. Language itself speaks at all these levels all the time despite our attempts to remain on the surface of life. We are on a raft in the middle of the ocean and the raft is sinking. At some level we know it, and at some level we are responding to that extreme situation authentically as we find ourselves in the undertow that is taking us out into the deeper waters against which our struggles are helpless against the overpowering tide toward the depths of life as it faces death.


Deep conversation has palpable meaning. Meaning unfolds from the nondual, Within the Western tradition at any rate that nondual nature has discrete levels of emergence. As we face those levels one by one and breach them we discover new worlds within ourselves. But even if we cling to the surface of life and avoid the depths we are overwhelmed by those depths. Deeper conversations are those in which we share this with others, share the order of our lives as it has been revealed to us with others, share what is right and wrong (or left, i.e. sinister) , share what is good and bad (or evil), share what is fated, share the sources, and even the roots of who we are in what is ownmost to our selves. Sharing the nonduals is to share the core of life with another. It happens rarely, perhaps once in a lifetime if that. But when it happens it gives meaning to our lives, and that meaning can infuse the whole surface of our lives and pervade all the common everyday things we do together. Perhaps we are just chatting with each other about trivialities, but if our perspective is that of the depth of life together, then those superficialities have their own profundity tied to our finitude.

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