The Field Dynamic Theory of Conversation
As a geek, I thrive on the exchange of ideas. I've always maintained that ideas are cheap, plentiful and should be shared; not hoarded "in case someone else steals them." I don't call it brainstorming, because that has a very specific connotation, but it's closer to a free flow of ideas.
A good discussion is more like a flow than you might just imagine. I've found that you need a suitable potential energy difference between conversants to keep it interesting - if the participants are too much alike, there is no flow from one person to another. You don't have ideas that the other person wouldn't have either. If the difference is too great, the potential difference and amount of flow can kill - just like sticking your fingers to a power outlet could.
But having people just far enough apart from each other, who share just enough of a common language, it can become a thing of beauty. A revitalizing force that'll charge your batteries for a long time, getting you all anxious at all the potential in the world. It might not end up in anything concrete, but it will make you feel good - one of the prerequisites of liking the life.
(I was considering Tweeting this, but I realized I don't have the time to make a shorter version of this lousy analogy... I'm off to explore some places in London I've never been to before ;-)
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