Art of Conversation

What does ‘art of conversation’ mean? In its elevated, refined form, conversation is civilised speech that takes place between polished minds. It avoids chatter, gossip, and debate but instead it has purpose and features humane, intimate elements. Apparently, it takes two or more to have a conversation, but the quality is often questionable and substandard.

We frequently encounter conversations where the participants switch topics quite often for reasons of convenience, whereas conversation is supposed to be more substantial and sustainable. These ideas are fading away also because a lot of people seem to have adapted to a “trendy” or “alternative” lifestyle. So to say we prefer commenting on, or rather to, digital devices than having a decent, intellectual conversation with one another.

John Armstrong, Philosopher, University of Melbourne, laid bare the principles of holding a decent conversation and defined the art of conversation as the encounter of two polished minds that are tactful enough to listen, confident enough to express their true beliefs, and subtle enough to search out the reasons behind their thoughts. This requires seriousness and the same level of motivation on both sides.

We are gradually approaching a robotic era, slowly becoming accustomed to superficial, digital-based chatting on a variety of social media. We have become estranged, alienated from ourselves and lost sight of the essence of life that was once surrounded with interesting, edifying in-person conversations. We have even stopped noticing the presence of other people in the same room as much as others fail to acknowledge out presence. Body language and facial expressions allow for a more nuanced understanding of a person’s tone and overall message, which is the key to building trust and unwinding. Unfortunately, now it all seems to be unattainable goals. We seek no more the truth from others or ourselves; who has the patience and time for a substantial and sustainable conversation?

However, it doesn’t mean that people no longer starve for in-person conversation. Secretly, we all yearn for real, truly satisfying conversations, as we miss the idea of discovering the thoughts and ideology of others which is what really helps us to connect with one another. It brings out the best, real inner-self of other people and also the truth about us.

There was an article on detox digital where there is this practice to eliminate digital devices or Internet for a few hours or for a day. This allows us to connect with nature, relate to people, and gives us a temporary respite from the frantic pace of life. It actually makes our life interesting if we start to think more than to watch other lives more. This idea is not only conducive to building a network, but is also instrumental in building a strong relationship in families. It is worth trying.

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