Conversation is Simple.

Are we just complicating something simple? Conversation: I’ll say something, you say something back. Exactly. This is all we do, I agree. Inside the moment this is all we experience. To adapt something from C.S. Lewis, looking through the crack in the door we don’t see the sunbeam. The light is what we look through, not at.

Yet when we step outside the sunbeam and look back at where we stood looking through the door, we see the beam and could describe it. Standing outside our talks, we can dissect the experience after the fact, and articulate the principles we see in our retrospective vision.

It’s the same in all disciplines: the adept act is simple from the inside, complicated from the outside. The baseball player can analyze his technique by looking back at his swing on film. He might break it down into its parts and work on each movement individually. He might talk about his stance at the plate with a coach, and they probably would together see so much they could talk, then drill, for hours. Yet when he goes back up the plate to hit, he doesn’t try to hold all the complicated detail in his head. He will say to himself as he walks up to the batter’s box “now get out of your head. Just hit the ball.”

As the practitioner advances, his experience from the inside of his craft grows simpler and simpler, yet his description of his skill, for those not yet practicing at his level, grows more and more rich and nuanced.

Simple or complicated? Yes. I’ll say something, you say something back.

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