An Undervalued Type of Engagement

Late one Friday afternoon in Rhode Island, a buddy and I are talking social change. 

This buddy, he's got the winning combo of a big mind and a big heart. Which means conversations with him are a tour de force of fresh thinking and warmth, and that invariably draws out my own fresh thinking. 

We take ideas and flip them upside down, shake them out, scrape them out, kick them out, try fashioning newer, better ideas. 

Gone is anything autopilot and boilerplate or stale and run-of-the-mill. There's no place for that here. It's the kind of conversation that pulls your mind to new edges, pushing out the boundaries of your thinking. 

We finish with a big hug. My buddy goes to his dinner. I go to mine. And as I eat dessert, it occurs to me: We all need this kind of generous intellectual engagement. 

Our minds weren't meant to be stagnant and lethargic, full of inherited wisdom and regurgitated ideas. Our minds were meant to be exercised, to be put to their fullest use. 

As I rinse off my dishes, I decide something: I must take full responsibility for getting regular and deep intellectual engagement. I must put myself with people and in places where big, generous thinking is demanded. 

It expands the mind. Surely, the heart, too. But it also expands our sense of what's possible. And this world of ours can always use more people with an expansive sense of possibility. 

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