Do you remember the five tone sequence in the movie Close encounters of the third kind? This is where the connection between humanity and foreign species was made. This is where the two languages – of human mankind and of the extraterrestrials – found each other; the starting point for further contact, understanding, trust. Ta-di-da-da-du. Ta-di-da-da-du.
Only after I came up with the title of this book, I looked into the definition of ‘close encounter’. It was introduced by astronomer and UFO researcher J. Allen Hynek, in his 1972 book The UFO Experience, with the appealing sub title: A Scientific Inquiry. (I guess it was an appreciative inquiry as well.) Close Encounters of the First Kind are about visual sightings of an unidentified flying object less than 150 meters away. In a Close Encounter of the Second Kind there’s also a physical effect of perception: someone or something is reacting. Hynek calls it a Close Encounter of the Third kind when an animated creature is present; at that point (in my interpretation) there’s the possibility of cocreation. And there’s the connection with the 3.0 prefix. I somehow felt there was more about it to know…
Now for the encounter between two humans of the same kind. Are they? Are they the same, I mean? Isn’t it somewhat peculiar that we often run into another person, like in a business meeting, and start to share our questions (or demands) at once? What do we think at such a moment? Do we think about the mood, the background, the culture, the needs of the other person? Wouldn’t it be very wise to inquire this, before raising the subject of the conversation? What would be the best sound, the tone of voice, to use in this encounter? Which are the words we can bring up to make a connection? If the circumstances are international, you might be aware of the possibility that the other person speaks another language. But isn’t it very likely to assume that every other person somehow speaks another language? What would you do with this insight? In order to have a fruitful meeting, for instance?
In the mid 80’s, I was involved in computer software for hotels. In those years, all the reservation data was collected and rearranged in long batches of computer programs, during the night. When something went wrong – don’t ask – and my customer needed support, I first tried to connect from my home to the hotel, by the use of modems and telephone line. I learned that two remote computers need a lot of ‘encountering’ before they are able to exchange data. And in those days you could hear some of that through the earphone. When the two modems started to engage, they sent out ‘white noise’, like a radio that is off-channel. Both the modems did that at the same time, also shifting the amplitude (or baud rate, or something like that). At some point you could hear a mere bleeper-the-bleep kind of ‘music’ which gave me the idea that at that point the two modems new the right channel to connect. After that – so I heard from specialists – there was still more work to do. X-on/X-off, Odd/Even Parity and even a ‘Hand shake’. And when all this had been carried out properly, data exchange could begin… Are you with me? (And if not, I stepped in my car and drove to the customer’s computer…)
So, back to ‘human data exchange’… What can we do – what should we do – to prepare communication? What can we learn from connected computers, always taking the effort to ensure that they ‘understand’ each other before they ‘communicate’? How to find out the ‘baud rate’ and the ‘parity’ of the other, before or during ‘hand shake’?
Maybe it is an idea to show and share your own ‘user guide’ to the other. If you are willing to engage with people successfully, what would you like to mention in that user guide of yours?
What’s your ta-di-da-da-du?
You’ve just read one of the 110 chapters of my book Appreciative Inquiries of the 3.0 Kind. Find out more (and a special pre-ordering offer) on www.appreciativeinquiries.eu.