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Conversation as Intercourse, The Organizational Roots of Impostor Syndrome, & Culture as the Agent of Change (Reading Notes 6.29.18)

Resource: Telling Is Listening: Ursula K. Le Guin on the Magic of Real Human Conversation
Link: https://www.brainpickings.org/2015/10/21/telling-is-listening-ursula-k-le-guin-communication/

Thoughts/Reflections:

Our dominant model for communication is mechanical. We see it as the process of transmitter information from a sender to a receiver. Communication, according to Le Guin is intersubjective. It involves an integration of bits & pieces of ourselves with another party. One example of this is how amoeba’s have sexy. They literally connect to one another and they exchange genetic information with one another. They are not merely informing one another. They are sharing parts of their very beingness with one another. Like this process, conversation is a kind of intercourse where we give ourselves to our audience and our audience gives parts of itself to us. Speaking and listening are the same thing in a fundamental sense because they both involve this intersubjective sharing.

Quotes/Excerpts:

Popova on the two possibilities of communication:

“Every act of communication is an act of tremendous courage in which we give ourselves over to two parallel possibilities: the possibility of planting into another mind a seed sprouted in ours and watching it blossom into a breathtaking flower of mutual understanding; and the possibility of being wholly misunderstood, reduced to a withering weed.”

“My private model for intersubjectivity, or communication by speech, or conversation, is amoebas having sex. As you know, amoebas usually reproduce by just quietly going off in a corner and budding, dividing themselves into two amoebas; but sometimes conditions indicate that a little genetic swapping might improve the local crowd, and two of them get together, literally, and reach out to each other and meld their pseudopodia into a little tube or channel connecting them.”

“Two amoebas having sex, or two people talking, form a community of two. People are also able to form communities of many, through sending and receiving bits of ourselves and others back and forth continually — through, in other words, talking and listening. Talking and listening are ultimately the same thing.”

“Like the two pendulums, though through more complex processes, two people together can mutually phase-lock. Successful human relationship involves entrainment — getting in sync.”

Resource: To Overcome Your Insecurity, Recognize Where It Really Comes From
Link: https://hbr.org/2018/06/to-overcome-your-insecurity-recognize-where-it-really-comes-from?utm_medium=social&utm_source=linkedin&utm_campaign=hbr

Thoughts/Reflections:

Insecurity is not just an individual problem. It’s an organizational problem. Organizational cultures and management styles play a major role cultivating an atmosphere of insecurity. Our unquestioned biases, assumptions, and practices can amplify imposter syndrome. People have to learn to be insecure and they usually learn this from society. To deal with imposter syndrome, address the problem at an organizational level. As yourself “Am I creating the kind of work culture that fosters self-confidence and trust or am I creating the kind of work culture that breeds unnecessary competition and conflict?

Quotes/Excerpts:

“And while coaching can be of great help, the usual advice — set better boundaries, take some distance — puts too much emphasis on insecurity as an individual failing. In fact, insecurity is a social issue with psychological consequences, not a psychological issue with social consequences. In the workplace, the roots of insecurity are often found around us, not within us.”

“Insecure people are made, not born.”

“Treating insecurity as a personal issue, then, leaves unquestioned the expectation that creates insecurity in the first place. It’s the insecure person’s job to toughen up, not the organization’s job to loosen up. No wonder the insecure work hard and feel alone.”

“Seen this way, insecurity is neither a flaw nor a drive. It is a byproduct of a workplace culture in which individualism is rampant, relationships are instrumental, and bias goes unquestioned. The answer to it cannot be simply to set better boundaries. To accept and overcome insecurity, we rather need to stop caring too much about each other and start to care more for each other, and for the place we work in.”

Resource: Where’s the king of the ants?
Link: https://seths.blog/2018/06/wheres-the-king-of-the-ants/

Thoughts/Reflections:

Change begins with great cultures and cultures don’t need hierarchies. Cultures are built on connection and trust, not on authoritarianism and bullying. The best thing about culture is that power comes from it, but you don’t need power to change it.

Quotes/Excerpts:

“It turns out that culture is the most powerful force available to us. Culture comes from each of us, from the connections between. Culture isn’t created by presidents, Popes or kings.”

“Hollywood has a culture, not a king. Silicon Valley too. Change the culture (slowly and persistently) and you can change everything.”

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