Without purpose or agenda

In a conversation exploring the depths of dialogue and presence, Craig and Jesse get into the intriguing parallels between Quaker meetings and Gurdjieff groups, revealing how these practices foster a deeply present state of mind, akin to a slow, thoughtful game of chess.

I Think that there’s a beautiful edge of curiosity here, around looking at the unknown, which is the utter willingness to show up, like dumbfounded, or stupid.

~ Jesse Danger (12:59)

[…] leaning into the asking-as-a-five-year-old, or asking-for-a-friend-meme. I also think [our] challenge needs to contain, letting go of the urge to control the result. [When] asking as a five-year-old, I’m not hiding from the possibility that people are going to respond, “that’s stupid, Craig.” I’m not hiding from that. I’m asking as a five year old because it challenges me to ask the simplest question.

~ Craig (13:41)

In the conversation, Craig and Jesse dig into the intricacies of meaningful dialogue, emphasizing the value of approaching conversations without an agenda or purpose. They discuss the concept of dialogue as proposed by David Bohm in his book “On Dialogue”, emphasizing the importance of creating a space free from authority or hierarchy. This concept aligns with Jesse’s experiences in Gurdjieff groups and Quaker meetings, where a deeply present state of mind is cultivated, devoid of ego and personal agendas.

The dialogue further explores the idea of conversations being like a slow, thoughtful game of chess, requiring patience, presence, and a willingness to engage with the unknown. They discuss the challenge of asking questions with the innocence of a child, free from the fear of appearing ignorant or the need to control the conversation’s outcome. This approach, they argue, opens up new possibilities for exploration and understanding in conversations, whether in structured groups like the Gurdjieff or Quaker meetings or in everyday interactions.


David Bohm’s book, On Dialogue — Craig references this book as an inspiration for their discussion on dialogue. David Bohm, a renowned physicist and philosopher, explores the concept of dialogue as a free-flowing and agenda-less conversation that isn’t bound by authority or hierarchy, emphasizing its potential for creative and transformative understanding​​.

Gurdjieff groups — Jesse mentions participating in Gurdjieff groups, which are based on the teachings of George Ivanovich Gurdjieff, a mystic and spiritual teacher. These groups focus on self-awareness and deep presence, aligning with the Quaker meetings’ approach to deep, mindful engagement​​.

Quaker Meetings — Both Jesse and Craig discuss the Quaker meetings’ influence on their views of presence and dialogue. Quaker meetings, known for their simplicity and emphasis on inner guidance, involve participants speaking from a deeply present and relevant place, akin to a form of spiritual expression​​.


(Written with help from Chat-GPT)