Have you ever spoken with (or listened to) someone who seemed to have an unfair conversational advantage; perfect thoughts flowing effortlessly at the most opportune moments? I’ve become intrigued by this idea of transcendence within dialog, and find myself nibbling at anything that represents the potential to understand even a sliver of this puzzling pie. And while I’m tempted to just attribute this miraculous capacity to repetitive practice, I can’t help but think there’s a bit more to chew on.
So what the hell am I even exploring here? What do I even mean by conversational transcendence? I think it might help, at least initially, to describe what I'm not referring to. I'm not talking about knowledge. While a deep understanding of a topic may often disguise itself as transcendence, it's really not what I'm speaking to, and in fact, in many ways it's completely contrary to the concept (at least as I'm conceiving it). Now, transcending the current state of a conversation does require basic topical familiarity and some degree of a shared contextual playing field, but beyond that, we're talking about traveling to another mental planet. Knowledge becomes nearly irrelevant against a capacity to flow in and out of seamless cognitive connections.
As a primer, take a listen to Jason Silva, someone who quite literally skates along the edge of transcendence for a living.
Although many of Silva’s videos are one-sided, I think it begins to paint the appropriate picture (or at least preps the canvas) for this concept of conversational transcendence. It's a skill for which I never gave appropriate attention, if I truly recognized it at all. A capacity to parallel process, linguistically load, and dynamically deliver deeply connected meaning in real-time. It's not simply deep knowledge, and it’s much more than just speaking quickly. Electric neuronal energy and the gravity of the given moment seem to instantaneously align. It's as if there are multiple parties operating concurrently. One higher state of consciousness devising creative connections, and another bodily vessel carrying out the verbal delivery. On rare occasion, and utterly captivating given appropriate attention, two or a few individuals will achieve this transcendent state in a single conversation. In this case, it may seem as though a dozen people are at work. Each individual being aided by their higher mental master, with an additional group hive-mind that seems to supersede the entire experience.
This isn't a door I've unlocked (I'm not even sure there's a key to be found), but I now know when I see it. The out-of-body conversational flow-state. The separation from subjective awareness. The unification of moment and mind. conversational transcendence.
For added context on what initiated this exploration, dive into the following conversation on Anchor: