Rivers of Conversations

Wild. I just had this wonderful vision. I saw this small village and through the middle of it ran a river. Everyday the people of the village went down to the river to gather water, wash their clothes, or to travel to other villages further down the river. Throughout the day, all of these people near or on the river all talked and had conversations with one another. And when they talked, I saw their conversations flowing from their mouths and going from village to village just like the river flowed between them. What I became aware of was that not only did the river sustain the people but so to did their flow of conversations as well.

4 replies on “Rivers of Conversations”

This reminds me of a vision I had with some people, whom I haven’t seen since, at a mutual friend’s going away party at a pub. We were talking about various things–a lot of ideas and projects we were working on–but having a hard time hearing each other because of how loud it was. And we suddenly thought it woudld be great if we all carried little whiteboards with us that we could draw on, so we wouldn’t just be speaking to each other, but also drawing each other. And then from that we somehow thought of a movie where somebody was talking about something, and as the words were coming out of his mouth, they would be continually visually sketched out in the air around him. Makes present-day TV seem kind of weak, no? I like the idea of standing by the flow of conversation and every now and then sticking your hand in to pluck some particularly exciting flow.

No wonder you have such interesting visions living in Vancouver though. Land of rivers and trees!

Interesting thoughts and ideas, especially you talking about plucking something from the flow. That clicked something in my head when I heard it. Not sure what. Always happens, then sometimes weeks later something else clicks and then I make the connection.

What’s interesting though is that I just realized what we are really talking about here. Symbols. Words allow us to be quite detailed in communicating with others but they can often get in the way. Pictures are great because they can say so much with no words but it can be difficult at times to communicate a detailed message with just an image. A symbol, however, is somewhere in between encompassing the best of both worlds. And of course the alphabets in many languages started out as symbols but some today still have pictograms in them (like Kanji).

What’s also interesting is that there are computing languages today that are starting to make use of symbols or elements so that you could code a program in 30 symbols instead of 100 or more lines of code. I can’t remember the language I read about but it was like a few years back even. It would be interesting if someone created a social programming language that allowed people to do things and manipulate information just by combining a few symbols which represents different structures, relationships, and data flows.

Oh, that sounds a little like Labview, which I used to use when I was doing research. It was like building circuitry, except with little boxes that did bits of algorithms. There would be a box for the if loop, a box for an iterator, etc, and you would wire them together like a flowchart to make things happen.