The "woowoo"


I couldn't tell you the first time I heard it, but I realised about a year ago that I kept hearing this same term, over and over again - "woowoo"

Have you noticed this? Interesting concepts, ideas and conversations can be put to bed by ending a sentence with "the woowoo", "that's rather woowoo" or "but that's a bit too woowoo". When conversations end this way, I notice that I feel that something meaningful has been lost: the potential for exploring something neither participant might fully understand, or that we can't fully explain, and for me, that capacity to explore the unexplored should be acceptable and encouraged. I would absolutely love for that realm of the unknown and un-grasped to be open for consideration.

Have you ever been in this situation? When I recently attended the IceBreakers UK inner work retreat, "the woowoo" came up a lot. There were instances where, concepts were being discussed or shared by the group, but the conversation ended too soon to dig deeper into what "the woowoo" might represent. The main intention that I came away with is that there is a real need for people to talk about and to consider "the woowoo", but that there might be no safe spaces or landscapes for that thought to take place in. What can I do to create this space for people? How can I facilitate or encourage others to feel safe to have these conversations?

I know in myself that, I often feel ill-equipped to communicate exactly the idea I might be holding in my mind, to the point where if I try, the words tumble out of my mouth as a jellied mess, rather than a fully-formed idea that others can understand, consider or play with. Even if I wanted to extend these conversations, I lack the words to explain my thinking in this realm, and so, "the woowoo" very naturally acts as a placeholder, an excuse and an apology.

Perhaps you disagree? It could be that, "the woowoo" is used simply as an appeal to logic and an acknowledgement that, if something cannot be observed and explained, then it simply isn't worthy of discussion. It could be that, we recognise the hurt that belief in something on faith alone can have. Arguably, we may want to distance ourselves from that and instead focus purely on the rational world. However, by closing our minds in this way, I believe that we do ourselves and others a disservice and there will be much of life, culture and history that we will never be able to comprehend or consider. If we want to encourage empathy for all of humankind and foster diversity of the mind, I believe that we must do our best to understand and consider what we do not know.

My intention for the future is to use the skills and understanding that I have to try to improve this situation for humanity. I don't currently have anything to show you, but I do have an open mind and some ideas. Consider this post as the beginning of me opening up to you about my intention. I would be very keen to hear your thoughts on this, would you let me know what you think?

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