The revolution may not be documented
Transcript of this video:
Earlier this year I was in Barcelona and I went to see the Sagrada Familia cathedral which, if you don’t know it, is this remarkable piece of architecture that has been built over the last century or so in the centre of the city.
Although I’d seen it once before this time, when I stood outside it, I was in awe of this – to me – absurdly but exquisitely beautiful building and thinking of how over the last century masons and artists and builders in their thousands had slowly built this cathedral, many of whom would never see it finished. It’s still not quite finished.
But if in that moment someone had tapped me on the shoulder and said, “oh, well, let me tell you more about the history. I can see that you’re interested. Or, do you know the principles of Gaudi’s architecture? Or have you seen such and such another building in the same style?” …that would’ve really spoiled the moment.
I was thinking of this experience when I was taking part in a story circle, a process I picked up from my friend Kat Koppett, in which people share stories. But we have a rule that after someone has shared a story they don’t explain the meaning or moral of the story. And other people in the circle don’t comment on each other’s stories.
There’s just this sort of respectful pause before someone else shares their story. And I think in a little way that’s a little like standing outside the cathedral in silence and allowing for some awe around the ending of a story.
And in that silence instead of making things explicit, we actually leave open other possibilities for unspoken connectedness.
And I’m gonna make another leap here. I was also thinking about how someone’s been explaining to me how in the world of academics, there’s now so much pressure to publish articles and theses with many many links to other published work because it’s by writing well sourced and attributed material that you climb the academic hierarchy.
It creates this perverse incentive to, as I would put it, to over-document everything. And paradoxically, if we try to make too much of our human experience explicit, I think we actually reduce it in the same way that tapping me on the shoulder outside the cathedral would’ve done.
Because so much of what makes human existence meaningful and rich and satisfying cannot be made explicit and must sometimes be left to be implicit and felt rather than detailed.
I’m just tacking on the end of one or two of these videos a little description of the work I do in case you might like to work with me. I work with individuals and teams to communicate and work together more effectively. I use a whole range of approaches a lot of them inspired by my experience in psychotherapy and also in improv theatre.
And I try to root the activity in real world conversations. I think there is more texture and richness in what appear to be everyday interactions than we realise. And by paying more attention to that kind of detail we can actually increase our satisfaction and effectiveness in how we work.
It’s partly connected to my project called Unhurried where I explore that in greater detail. So if that’s of interest to you, I’d be really happy to have a conversation with you about it. And thanks for watching the video.
Photo by Ashim D’Silva on Unsplash