I have heard that once it happened in a madhouse: A psychoanalyst was watching two madmen through the keyhole. He didn’t want to disturb them and they were in such a great conversation. Both were professors of a university. Professors are more prone to become mad. Their very profession is a mad profession. They deal in thoughts, they deal in thinking, and when thinking and thoughts become too much, madness happens.
Those two professors were talking and the psychoanalyst was looking from the keyhole. He was surprised about only one thing. They were talking nonsense; nothing was relevant, consistent, not even one sentence was related to another. One was talking about something and the other was talking about something completely different, their talking was not related. That was not surprising, that’s how mad people are. The surprising fact was this: when one would talk the other would listen.
When he stopped the other would start, but the other would start not in any way related to the first; he would start from somewhere of his own, out of the blue. This continued. Then the psychoanalyst knocked on the door. They opened the door. He said, ”I am very surprised about one thing, and have become very curious to know: why, when one talks does the other stop? And you are talking about such irrelevant things – one talks about the earth, the other talks about the sky, they are not related at all – then why do you stop when the other is talking?”
They both laughed and they said, ”Do you think we don’t know the law of conversation?” This is the law of conversation: simply that you talk, then the other stops; when the other starts, you stop. This is a polite mannerism. But you are related to YOUR inner talk, the other is related to HIS inner talk.
You come nearer, but you remain parallel. Dialogue is not possible. Dialogue happens only when you really listen to the other, and while the other is talking, you are completely silent. Then only is dialogue possible. When the other is talking and you are talking within yourself, your inner talk continues, how is a dialogue possible? These are two parallel lines, like a railway track, parallel lines running for thousands of years, meeting nowhere.
1. Just Like That – Osho