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Humberto Maturana: 7 Conversation
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Biosphere, Homosphere, and Robosphere: what has that to do with Business?
Humberto Maturana Romesin and Pille Bunnell

Language consists of coordinations, of flowing in the coordination of coordinations of behaviour. Language takes place in this flowing - which is why I have transformed it into a verb: languaging. You know from daily life that when you hear a word you do not know what the conversation is about, you have to hear a sentence so you hear a whole process. The word conversation comes from the Latin con , which means "with", and versare, which means "turning around". So conversation is turning around with somebody else. I use the word conversation to refer to the interlacing of languaging and emotioning.

Conversation takes place in the interlacing of languaging and emotioning.
All that we humans do we do in conversation; in the coordination of coordinations of behaviour and emotions. When we learn a particular profession we learn a particular network of conversations - this is so because we learn the doings and the emotioning that has to do with those doings. In this process the history of human beings has been a history of progressive generations of different worlds through different networks of conversations. And this has taken place since language began to be conserved in the living of our children, which I maintain is 3 million years ago. Everything about us, including our bodyhood and particularly our brain, has changed in accord with the conservation of living in language.

Language, as I said earlier, provides us with the operation for creating objects, indeed the minimal operation in language constitutes an object. Once my wife, Beatriz, was carrying a lot of packages on a rainy winter day and wanted to take a taxi. She saw a car with a driver by the curb, opened the door, got inside, and said "Please take me to...." thus giving the driver her address. She closed the door and when she had been taken home she asked "How much do I owe you?" The driver answered, "Nothing madam, I am not a taxi driver". This is very fantastic because the object 'taxi' appeared in the coordination of coordination of transportation. So objects arise in languaging. We say objects pre-exist language, yet in the living objects arise in language.

The result of hundreds of thousands of years of languaging has been the appearance of many different kinds of objects, many of which are conserved. As we live in conversation new kinds of objects continue to appear, and as we take these objects, and live with them, new domains of existence appear! So here we now are, living in these very funny kinds of objects called firms, companies, profit, incomes, etc. And we are very attached to them - my goodness! we kill each other according to what has arisen in our conversations of commerce. Just the same, we are not necessarily stuck in any of the objects we create, we can always reflect and say "Oh, I'm not interested in this any more", abandon an object, change our orientation and begin a new history.

This is why the world we live, we do it, we make it, even if it seems that it is carrying us. It IS carrying us, but we are carrying it too, because we conserve it in a systemic dynamics. So yes, our life is changing, but we maintain the ability to reflect on our liking or not liking of our circumstances. We can reflect as we have language. Other animals cannot reflect, as they do not live in language. I am not asserting that we are the only animal which languages, but we are the only ones who LIVE in language, we are the ones who make languaging and conversation our manner of living. This is a peculiar condition. Look, here we are today, in conversation. We enjoy it, we caress each other with language. We can also hurt each other with language, we can open spaces or restrict them in conversations. We live in this, this is central in us. And even in this we are a living system, we shape our own path of living according to our manner of living, as do all living systems.
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