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An Intentional Conversation

Updated: Mar 18




What are the odds right now you find yourself sitting at the edge of a hard conversation? At the edge of saying those unspoken words that got stuck in your chest that time you needed to say something before your fears overcame you?


Hard conversations are hard. Aren’t they? That’s why we avoid them. Maybe some of the reasons why we don’t like to step into those hard conversations is because of our inability to hear something that could challenge our belief system, to share a dialogue and uncover uncomfortable truths about ourselves and conflict with opposite truths about ourselves or someone else. If we have ever found ourselves auto-piloting life, not paying attention, it usually might be happening because we have avoided those hard conversations.


Socratic Dialogue and an ideal state of consciousness enables a genuine relationship for truly connecting and relating with another human through a philosophical practice called Phenomenology. By diving into these two doctrines we will tap into how Socratic Dialogue is in its core one of the best ways to illustrate the depths of what phenomenology is supposed to bring to the table.


Every act of consciousness we perform, every experience that we have, is intentional. Yes, we know that already. In common speech, when we act intentionally, we are referring to the degree of voluntary willingness to perform an action. However, it is important to understand that when we look at intentionality from a phenomenological point of view, intentionality belongs to the realm of knowledge and stands as a doctrine that seeks to understand the world as it is interpreted by and through human consciousness. In other words, the action of intending, philosophically, refers to the conscious relationship we have to an object. As plain and simple as that. Approaching another human being as another human being as a whole by themselves is part of the idea that intending a person must come with an awareness that both subject’s identity, beliefs, values, etc, are to be anchored in each of the participant’s grounder and authentic identity.


The father of philosophy, Socrates, knew that this conversation we are having right now, is very true indeed. His philosophy was constituted by a method for arriving at truth and education through the vehicle of dialogue. These interactions are understood as the encounter between two individuals who will deliberately and authentically engage in critical and open conversation to mutually educate each other.


The way Socrates made most of his transformative and enlightening mental realizations about philosophy were carried through this Socratic Dialogue. In these conversations there is conscious engagement to drop down all veils of preconceived judgements and knowledge by avoiding theories and paradigms. All of which is at stake in the both the subjects reality that could affect the conversation is completely erased. All past experience is intended to be erased. Then, a loving space for discussion is opened and there is a horizontal relationship in the hierarchy between both subjects involved in the conversation. The helper observes, listens, questions, feels, gets impacted, and empathizes with the fellow subject whom receives guidance as the helper moves pieces around in order to arrive at the truth of the matter. This interaction is characterized by not the mere exchange of words and sentences. Rather, this dialogue constitutes all sorts of communication channels such as those that are not spoken out loud: body language, facial expressions, silence, etc. Further, this process involves a compromise and commitment of humility, acceptance of uncertainty, and the promise of not trying to manipulate the direction of where the conversation to the truth or conclusion is headed.


Now, before we assume this method to be a bulletproof method for arriving at the truth, let’s face the facts. Words will never be transcendent enough to allow us an explanation of the divine realms beyond human understanding. It is important that both subjects are equally aware of the fact that the whole intentional and courageous act of stepping into this conversation might not take them from point A to B. If we expect an outcome, then the conversation from the start, then from the start the conversation might potentially inauthentic, lacking sincerity, because the role of biased reflection gear the conversation into a direction that can alter the purpose of the conversation. The self-reflective work and introspection that these conversations bring up into the surface are what the Socratic Dialogue is for.


Taking note of what has been previously discussed, it is imperative to point out that The Socratic Dialogue is a phenomenological phenomenon. When a person as a person directs his/her attention towards another person the two people are intending each other in its purest of forms. In other words, phenomenology can also be explained as an effort to recover the relationship that has been forgotten between the human consciousness and the world.


We have evolved to loose contact to the world as a place where things are things by themselves; we have become used to relating to the things and people around us and immediately involving judgement into them. If there was no intentionality -no real contact with the world outside of us- humans would not be able to have a world in common. Through a phenomenological attitude we allow the person in front of us to organically flourish without forcing or trying to impose a direction of truth because of a knowledge we know from our own experience. It will aim for a state of "consciousness" that has a univocal quality. Without structural differences within consciousness; there is just awareness, pure and simple.


So why do I come and talk about all this? Because it seems that this type of back and forth conversation, even though it’s challenging, is the most effective way to arrive at a truth or realization about oneself from within. Putting the words out there allows us to gain distance from the inner dialogue that goes on inside of our heads. Additional to this, what this Socratic Dialogue allows is the ability to explore, dig further, and uncover truths about ourselves and our reality.

All things considered, I believe having these conversations are important because it seems like much people are sitting on an immense amount of unintegrated wisdom that sits in a painful fear of mistake. So instead of changing our behaviour, having those hard conversations, intending the person in front of us in its entirety, and as a result change our lives is a hard task. Because we’d rather sit in familiar pain than to stand in the edge of uncertainty. When we don’t expand and grow, we remain under the same patterns and habits and then we wonder why we feel unsettled.

How about we make a rule to have all those hard conversation we fear to have and dare experience the life and relationships we truly deserve. I promise that your ability to having these challenging conversations will determine the quality of your life, relationships, and ability to feel safe within your own mind and body. Let’s have the courage to look in the eyes at the person across the table, look deep within and start digging. And do this again and again because Socrates reminds us to always keep questioning and investigating, to never cease the search because in reality, all we can actually be completely certain of is that we know nothing at all.

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