Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Day 107: Keep Talking

I loved and still love a ton of different kinds of music. Back in the day, when I was a teenager, I was a big fan of Pink Floyd. There's a song I would listen to over and over again on their album The Division Bell. It was called "Keep Talking." The song opens with a voice that's electronic, simulated, like one you would hear through a computer. The voice says,
For millions of years mankind lived just like the animals. Then something happened that unleashed the power of our imagination. We learned to talk.
Later on after the first verse of the song the voice returns as an intro to the awesome, trippy, musical interludes that Pink Floyd is known for, this time saying
It doesn't have to be like this. All we need to do is keep talking.
I've only known these words from this song and it's always been one of the most memorable tracks on that album for me. The song is a back-and-forth between David Gilmour and a chorus of women and it feels like a couple that can't seem to connect because the woman feels like the man isn't talking and the man feels like he's can't talk. That's a pretty familiar experience, right?

So familiar, I think, that's its application is universal.

I was thinking about this song tonight as I was sweeping the floor after dinner. I, alone in the kitchen, as The Wifey was giving The Boy a bath. I thought about the conversation she and I had earlier tonight on the way home from a family walk. We had a bit of a disagreement on a major issue: potty training. I won't get into the details because, well, you know, but what's important is that we kept talking. We talked the whole thing out to a reasonable conclusion. I then thought about other times in my life with her, with friends, with work relationships, with strangers (a 20-month old provides a lot to sweep) where I didn't talk. While not talking has sometimes been the wisest course of action, most of the time not talking has only created problems for me in my relationships.

That's when this song came to my head. As I looked up the song, I learned that these weren't the words of Pink Floyd, but Stephen Hawking. I had no idea! While I don't agree with the overall premise, I have always loved the line "we learned to talk." And then as I listened to it tonight the other line, "all we need to do is keep talking," jumped out at me. I think it's safe to say that we are actually "learning to talk" our entire lives.

Humans are so unique in this way. We talk. We write. We have words. Our words unleash "the power of our imagination." When we talk, we can be life-giving or deadly. We can build others up or tear them down just by talking for a little bit. We can create great things or destroy. Talking can be bad, but as I shared above, I think we hurt ourselves more when we don't talk. I believe this is the case because more often than not we don't refrain from talking because it's wise.

We don't talk because we're afraid.

We're afraid of speaking up because we don't want to have conflict. We're afraid of sharing an idea because we don't want to be rejected. We're afraid of asking questions because we don't want to sound stupid.

I was reminded tonight that talking isn't merely some evolutionary experience that's separated us from the animals. Talking is a gift. Don't let fear choke that gift.

Keep talking.


  1. My wife and I have been carrying on a conversation for several days now sparked by our observations of different members of our family and their interactions while we were all camping last weekend. As I complimented one couple's ability to interact and support each other well, my wife stated, "It's because he talks." It struck me that she was right. He talks, they work out their plans together, and both are better for it. In the other engagements we observed, there was much less talking happening... and there were challenges that arose because of the absence. Then, today, I read your thoughts. Good advice, well timed. Thanks, friend.

    1. That's a great observation. Thanks for connecting here, Tim. Hope all is well!