Protons for Breakfast: it’s good to talk.

A conversation taking place at Protons for Breakfast

A conversation taking place at Protons for Breakfast

In just one month (Wednesday 6th November 2013) the Protons for Breakfast course will begin again for the 18th time. Amazingly we already have 102 people signed up and the lecture theatre can only take 120. So if you are thinking of attending, you should probably register soon.

I have thought a good deal about what has made the course successful. There are the wizzy PowerPoint slides of course; the excellent music; the fulsome answers to questions; the hands-on sessions; the discussions; the experts; and the presence of so many helpers. However, I don’t think it is any one of these things, although they all help.  I think that all these things are reflections of a fundamental respect for the people attending the course.

People attending Protons for Breakfast have a wide range of backgrounds and experience: the typical age range is from 12 to 70. But what they have in common is that they feel themselves to be ignorant in some way. My belief is that that the experience of ‘feeling ignorant’ is fundamentally like ‘feeling lost’. The key similarity is that when you are ‘lost’, you can’t tell someone ‘where you are’ in order for them to give you directions. Similarly, when you don’t understand something it can be very hard to explain to someone what it is that you don’t understand.

I have written about this at length before and there are lots of ways of getting around this impasse. But one of the best ways is to have a conversation about the thing you don’t understand. Even if the other person doesn’t know ‘the answer’ a conversation can be helpful. However, if other person has even a small amount of knowledge the conversation can be profound.

The power of ‘conversation’ is that by a two-way exchange of information, you come closer to finding out ‘where you are’, and when you know that, you can begin the journey to ‘where you want to go’.

As I get older and older and older and older I feel ever more strongly, that it really is ‘good to talk’.

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