Framing conversation

Distinguishing “praising/blaming” from “looking/puzzling”

In her lecture “Thinking about Technology” (pages 73–83 in Ursula Franklin Speaks), Ursula Franklin opens with a thoughtful disclaimer:

I would like you to take what I’m saying in no way too literally. I’m not engaged in a praising/blaming exercise but rather in a looking/puzzling type of endeavour, because while we are in a most interesting, fascinating, and certainly perilous time, I don’t think we are sitting helplessly on either an up or down escalator. When I compare observations and insights, I do so not so much in an either-or mode but rather as a point–counterpoint of a complex orchestration.

Distinguishing when we’re “praising/blaming” from “looking/puzzling” (and tending toward the latter more than the former) seems important to considered conversation.

Before I go, here’s another treasure, Franklin’s definition of “thinking”:

I think of “thinking” not only as a very enjoyable activity but also as something akin to taking your mind for a walk around a question the way you might take a dog around the block for a walk.