Speech is a Process of Thought

Speech is a Process of Thought

I talk a lot. Probably too much, if you ask some of my friends. That is because I have known a little secret about conversation for quite some time now – Talking can help us form our thoughts and discover new things. In a sense, conversation is a process of thought.

According to Heinrich von Kleist, ideas come from speaking. “The best thoughts, in his view, can be almost unintelligible as they emerge; what matters most is risky, thrilling conversation as a crucible for discovery.”

You need to have actual conversations for this to happen. Instant messaging doesn’t provide the same kind of insight, nor does the type of conversations that happen online in various social media platforms. You need to be “in the presence of and in close connection to your listener” for this magic to take hold.

If you find yourself getting bored with a conversation, try to remember that it is not boring for the other person, and more importantly, a conversation can take unexpected turns.

In her book, Reclaiming Conversation, Sherry Turkle breaks it down like this:

“And we have to reconsider the value of the ‘boring bits’ from which we fell. In work, love, and friendship, relationships of mutuality depend on listening to what might be boring to you but is of interest to someone else. In conversation, a ‘lull’ may be on its way to becoming something else. If a moment in a conversation is slow, there is no way to know when things will pick up except to stay in the conversation. People take time to think and then they think of something new.

More generally, the experience of boredom is directly linked to creativity and innovation. . . like anxiety, it can signal new learning. If we remain curious about our boredom, we can use it as a moment to step back and make a new connection. Or it offers a moment, as von Kleist would have it, to reach out and speak a thought that will only emerge in connection with a listener.”

I know that some of my best ideas have come through in random conversations I have had. That is one of the reasons I talk so much. It helps me figure out things. If we listen to each other and let the conversation bloom, perhaps we can both learn something new, spark a creative idea, or make a deep connection.

Want to chat? Hit me up!