The Museum of Vestigial Desire

Conversation

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Even if conversation never happens, the possibility exists.

Because of this possibility, we engage and participate in conversations all the time. But what is a conversation really?

A conversation is not just a dialogue with a multi-party contribution. Even if it says nothing, it happens as an outbreak of partnership. Even if no exchange happens, a partnership gets established. This partnership does not have any deep significance.

A contribution is not valuable by default.

That is where the script comes in.

If conversations were to be scripted dialogue and not mere speech with an unspecified intensity, then they could actually matter more.

Scripts are not static, pre-cast entities. Scripts are puddles of programmatic logic. They are algorithmic. Algorithms only define the structural basis of an entity and leave the content alone.

This is on the whole wise. Because a structure can accommodate multiplicities of content-types. There are no restrictions except the delivery of a certain reward. And rewards are only desirable. Actually as far as conversations are concerned, they are the only desirable outcomes.

Not having a script is not a sign of openness. It is a sign of disinterest. Openness has a value only if it offers a genuine possibility of escaping the conversation and the need to converse. And that is never going to be possible anyway. All claims of freedom from the entanglements of life are false.

The closest we can get to this freedom is having a closeted space for improvisation. Improvisation is a practical reflection of freedom. There is a scope for variation. And there are limits. That is all that is needed.

After the scripted conversation has taken place, the question can be: who spoke? The writer or the actor? And this is not a simple question. Both have contributed at different stages.

To pursue authorship in this case is futile. But authorship was never interesting anyway. Because no matter what the public declaration might be, the perception of a stake is another matter altogether. If an actor feels close to an experience that was scripted by someone else, that closeness cannot be either dismissed or questioned.

We hold on to the potential of conversation. And do not give up. We place it in the sanctuary. We do not get locked into a battle with the casual notions of conversation. Within the window of a conversation, you never know when a script kicks in. A script is too hidden a tool to be possible to defend against. It can be deployed anytime. And then no amount of analysis will help.

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