Something interesting occurred to me last night as Greg S and I talked about TrumpNation. Let me explain with an illustration:
“… so you haven’t heard?” “No, I am not engaging in any new consumption – ” “Really? … You haven’t heard? … Let me tell you – “
It is that point of inflection that is important. You know something that I don’t. For the holder of the information, the telling is an awesome responsibility. Parents and teachers know this responsibility well. But it is also quite enjoyable to know something and tell it. “What’s the answer, professor?” “Mom, I’m confused.” Telling what we know to another human being. That’s the easy part. We all know stuff and want to share what that stuff is.
But in that moment when I – a PhD and college professor — someone who should know these things – reveals his ignorance – “No, really, I do not know what is happening” – the knower is surprised. But then an idea forms – an ‘importance’ to share. It is in that moment of formation that a world is created. In that moment I can hear the other person pause, perplexed. Immediately followed by a flood of opportunity — “Of all the stuff I heard today about TrumpNation what image, sound vibrates and comes into being? That which I can share with this person because he is asking me and it is important. “This man should know this.” That is a very special moment – it is world becoming – a reality forming – a possibility constructed by an individual out of the bits and pieces of news media. It is now owned by the giver because she took the responsilbity to share. AND – in sharing that “world” we both can investigate it.
At that instance at least two relationships are established. First, a significant connection is established, that is at the same time intellectual and affective. Two people – the knower and the not-knower – are bound together with ideas that resonate with overlapping feelings. That is true whether our world views agree or not.
Second, in that moment of consideration – what happened today in TrumpNation that this person should know — the knower constructs meaning – establishes what is import to her – frames a way of seeing and understanding – and is checking out that way of seeing.
There is much more to say about this knower/not knower relationship. * For now — This is a possible world we can choose – one in which the knower shares what she knows in respectful and responsible wonder with the not-knower — as we all trip through the hedgerow and tumble down the TrumpNation rabbit hole. Weeeeeeeeeeeee
*Of course it cannot end there – sharing what I know – we must also consider the source of what is known. I can see that what I am telling this person is important but is it true. He is being honest with me – am I being honest with him? It is everything and what we need of this Democracy is to survive —