Of Heat and Light

Electricity powers both heat and light. We expect dependable networks of electrically powered machines to generate heat and provide light to disperse darkness. Interaction is the electricity that powers relationships. Like electricity it will generate both heat and light. Interactive video games with a partner produce predictable light, sound, and conversation with minimal heat unless opponents get overly competitive. It can provide manageable passion for rivals having a good time. Athletic competitors, however, anticipate having a good time while they are imposing their will on others, not trying to have a kind, calm discussion about what to do with a ball. People avoid interaction in their relationships because they are not confident there will be noticeable light, but they are pretty sure there will be competition and maybe blazing heat requiring a referee. And we know some people who don’t care much about light, they only appreciate chaos. Partnerships gain interaction skill and confidence with practice. Sometimes they require an umpire, but skill does not develop without commitment, effort and appreciation for mutual influence and trust in the benefit of heat and light.

By talking to ourselves about what we know, we have internal narratives that we employ to help us progress with light in dark chaotic places. We invite the one with whom we have an attachment to trust that our map is useful to navigate a disorderly place together. We must acknowledge that all strategic information is equally valuable for the task at hand. Successful personal influence works this way. When we use our ideas to reason, draw conclusions and untangle problems we will naturally collide with rival stories. Emotions rise and heat ensues, but not necessarily either havoc or immediate awareness of the best course of action. Thoughts and feelings of speakers and hearers generated from the sharing of sound evidence invite them both to carefully consider that their prospective behavior suggestions come from the desire for illuminating light and not avoiding heat.

Because communication begins with me, as a speaker I can assert to the hearer that the story inside my head can be used as some of the facts needed to make a favorable decision. If they both are committed to the process, of in with the good and out with the bad, then the hearer and the speaker should expect to have their own agenda – a map they believe to be worth considering. Nobody forces their blueprint on the other. Both speaker and hearers expect precise if – then, since – then assertions. Defending one’s story creates not only heat, but also the hope of a mutually enlightened point of view. Both participants construct arguments for mutual insight that will eventually shine a spotlight on the desired outcome for the challenge. This is a collaborative rivalry with heat and light more like an interactive video game than a boxing match.

The use of the assertive language to solve problems is an interaction skill. It does not develop without commitment, effort and appreciation for mutual influence with the expectation that the process will be an adventure of heat and light. In a marriage, the excitement of robust, successful collaboration can also restore dissipated heat. Since marriage – from torrid to tepid and back, and other alliances are important, then generate a durable, energetic bond of heat and light without explosive contention.