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Telling Is Listening: Ursula K. Le Guin on the Magic of Real Human Conversation 

article from, written by Maria Popova

“Live, face-to-face human communication is […]a continuous intersubjectivity that goes both ways all the time.

My private model for intersubjectivity, or communication by speech, or conversation, is amoebas having sex. As you know, amoebas usually reproduce by just quietly going off in a corner and budding, dividing themselves into two amoebas; but sometimes conditions indicate that a little genetic swapping might improve the local crowd, and two of them get together, literally, and reach out to each other and meld their pseudopodia into a little tube or channel connecting them.

Then amoeba A and amoeba B exchange genetic ‘information,’ that is, they literally give each other inner bits of their bodies, via a channel or bridge which is made out of outer bits of their bodies. They hang out for quite a while sending bits of themselves back and forth, mutually responding each to the other.

This is very similar to how people unite themselves and give each other parts of themselves — inner parts, mental not bodily parts—when they talk and listen.”

–Ursula K. Le Guin