Marsalis and Oakeshott on conversation

Wynton Marsalis:

Great jazz requires a strange alchemy of instinct and expertise, of empathy and teamwork from its musicians

Jazz teaches you how to be a person, and how to ripen your personhood through empathy

Michael Oakeshott from The Voice of Poetry in the Conversation of Mankind:

Conversation . . . was . . . the very basis of education, and a metaphor for civilization itself. Each educational encounter was in its small way an initiation into civilized discourse. . . . The languages of science and mathematics, of arts and letters, of sport, religion, the trades, and the professions were all for him part of a “conversation” that made up the human inheritance. Only in entering this conversation could one become fully human. Education was everywhere the price of entry. . . . The ultimate business of education, then, was learning how to be a human being. . . . The calling of a teacher was neither more nor less than to initiate the public into the “conversation of mankind.

In conversation, ‘facts’ appear only to be resolved once more into the possibilities from which they were made; ‘certainties’ are shown to be combustible, not by being brought in contact with other ‘certainties’ or with doubt, but by being kindled by the presence of ideas of another order; approximations are revealed between notions normally remote from one another. Thoughts of different species take wing and play round one another to fresh exertions. Nobody asks where they have come from or on what authority they are present; nobody cares what will become of them when they have played their part. There is no symposiarch or arbiter; not even a doorkeeper to examine credentials. Every entrant is taken at its face-value and everything is permitted which can get itself accepted into the flow of speculation. And voices which speak in conversation do not compose a hierarchy. Conversation is not an enterprise designed to yield an extrinsic profit; it is an unrehearsed intellectual adventure. It is with conversation as with gambling, its significance lies neither in winning nor in losing, but in wagering. Properly speaking, it is impossible in the absence of a diversity of voices: in it different universes of discourse meet, acknowledge each other and enjoy an oblique relationship which neither requires nor forecasts their being assimilated to one another.