Reading an article from Brain Pickings, on Ursula K. Le Guin and “Telling Is Listening” found in The Wave in the Mind: Talks and Essays on the Writer, the Reader, and the Imagination, I was struck by the concept put forth by Le Guin that communication was like amoeba sex, where in actual amoeba sex, there is an intimate exchange of genetic material, and in comparision to human communication, a discourse, a lovely exchange of ideas and parts of oneself. This was interesting, because unlike human hetro sex, as the author goes on to say; which though fun, is mostly just a one sided exchange of material and in comparison to communciations, it is more like a lecture. Which got me thinking… much in the same way that the evocative title of this piece brought you here.
Often times I think that as I get older, and hopefully wiser and not just tired, I prefer the amoeba-like sex to the actual human-hetro sex, which can be messy and condesending, as if I’m giving a lecture, and which is altogether over too soon with nothing left to be said, but to contemplate the silence and hope that my point was made to everyone’s satisfaction, at least enough to merit another lecture in the near future. Laying there spent and uninterested in further exchanges, only thinking of getting up gracefully to move on, I wish for something more than the possibility of another lecture.
With that in mind, I find myself drawn to the relationships I have with women, where the conversation is the focal point of the interaction, the amoeba-sex model, where ideas are exchanged and not fluids delivered in an oh so brief plateau of extasy. Instead the longer more satisfying exchange of knowlege, soul and mind, exchanged in an intimate setting, without the fetters of world intruding and altering the exchange. A quiet dark restaurant, a grassy hill under a starlit night, a secluded park bench, a warm couch or bed in a place outside the day to day world. In those moments, tinged with emotional and intellectual energy, I have the stamina of youth, and can go on until the early morning, with no end in sight, no mess to clean up, no thought to finding an excuse to leave. In fact no need to breathe, sleep or eat, just pure exchange of body, mind and soul energy. Time stands still and I never want to leave and when I do, I’m sure to take a part of that experience with me as I reluctantly leave, to fuel my soul in the interim.
That same article said that we communciate with intent, the intent that what we say can be accepted or rejected, and that even the act of communication affects the sender as well as the receiver, in either result. That words are only a small element of that exchange, the context and intamacy being tantamount to the receptiveness, but in no way a guarantee of acceptance, but must be considered and is heard on some level.
In other words, mine actually, it’s all in the context. I can get an email from a co worker and it is just that, a thoughtful exchange of ideas or information, but if I get an email from a friend, it is more than the bits of information, there is thought to the context, the memories of the sender and the implication of those memories on the purpose and intent of the content. The context is the beachhead on which the invasion of your mind accompanying the data and its successful occupation. The context of the last time you met, how she smelled, how she felt, the longing to see her again, which brings you back the present. You wonder what she is doing now, ‘are her feet as cold as mine? is it raining there too? is she thinking about me right now as well?’ The the information that is contained in the email is secondary, but vital, and ready to be examined within that context, often changing the meaning of the literal words into a rich multitextured experience well beyond the actual data. Whether the data achieved the sender’s intent, we are changed forever by our interactions. That interaction growing in import in this life and carrying forward into the next. Like the two amoeba, the exchange enriches both and on the human scale has ultimate satisfaction beyond the sex.
That sounds very fullfilling almost ecstatic, but this blog is about conversation and not sex, human hetro sex is still wonderful fun and worth pursuing, however, great conversation makes the journey there all the more satisfactory. And as my father told me, it is the journey and not the destination that brings joy to your life, because when you get there, there is nothing left to do but sit on your ass. So here is to to a life with a jouney never ending full of friends and ameoba sex.
©The Autobiography of Mr. Perfect 2015