Communication and creation


If you can communicate then you can create.

The selection below from David Bohm’s On Dialogue is essential reading on the nature of communication.

But of course, such communication can lead to the creation of something new only if people are able freely to listen to each other, without prejudice, and without trying to influence each other. Each has to be interested primarily in truth and coherence so that he is ready to drop his old ideas and intentions and be ready to go on to something different when this is called for. If, however, two people merely want to convey certain ideas or points of view to each other, as if these were items of information, then they must inevitably fail to meet. For each will hear the other through the screen of his own thoughts, which he tends to maintain and defend, regardless of whether or not they are true or coherent. The result will, of course, be just the sort of confusion that leads to the insoluble “problem of communication” which has been pointed out and discussed earlier.

Evidently, communication in the sense described above is necessary in all aspects of life. Thus, if people are to cooperate (i.e., literally to “work together’) they have to be able to create something in common, something that takes shape in their mutual discussions and actions, rather than something that is conveyed from one person who acts as an authority to the others, who act as passive instruments of this authority.