Thoughts on contact

I love the wiki for the Reboot conference. Lots of simple features to engage and connect flesh out ideas and get involved with the content in advance of the event itself.

My talk will be about Contact and our ambivalence about it. Here’s the latest version of my summary on the wiki.

I first came across the notion of “fuck off, come closer” when doing psychotherapy training. It captured the confusing but human pattern of acting like we want to be alone when deep down we’re desperate for contact.

We’re caught between our need for spontaneity and our desire for control.

Ask people what they think of meetings and they’ll offer variations on a theme of “waste of time”. Those same people actually thrive on relationships – it’s just a question of what sort of meeting we’re talking about.

Likewise, most of us dread giving and/or listening to presentations. Presentations seem to have become about show rather than about being present to each other.

Research demonstrates the extraordinary influence that the quality of human contact – or the lack of it – has on the brain, on our personalities and on our behaviour. It confirms how easily we can be deceived about how we make choices and how much we influence each other. Most of this goes on unconsciously.

The individualist mindset sometimes neglects the power of what is created between people, where it’s not clear who initiated or created the idea. What sort of contact is energising – and what sort dampens the possibility of co-creativity? Does technology help set up the “weak signals” that might connect us better, or does it get in the way?

I’m aiming for this to be an experiential session and not death-by-powerpoint.

Feedback welcome, here or on the Reboot page.

4 thoughts on “Thoughts on contact

  1. Matt Moore

    So we crave contact but on our terms. But because it involves other people, it can never be completely on our own terms. And if it we try to control it too much, it is unsatisfactory because others have to want to come to us.

    How rare is it to want just one thing & not its opposite as well? And ultimately do we only want the things we cannot control, because they are only things worth having?

    Hmmm – I think I need to have a 3-hour conference call on access control lists to rid myself of this philosophical turn.

    I’m with Annette – a post talk follow-up would be great.


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