James Radcliffe’s post On the Value of Conversation struck a chord with me. Honestly, I do not remember the last time I had a meaningful, in-depth, conceptual conversation with someone.
During youth, this type of conversation is commonly part of the honeymoon period in the early stages of a friendship when both parties hunger to understand each other and to be understood. It is a cleansing, soulful experience ending in a bond with a promise of the same connection at the earliest opportunity. Maybe it unfolds in the kitchen or at a bar or while taking a walk. It is private and non-judgmental.
As the years go by, static develops in the line. Lack of time, fear of disclosure, or as James indicates, lack of self-esteem restrains the type of dialogue that lends itself to “to plumb the depths and recesses of ourselves and the world.” People who become judgmental and defensive deter others from delving into areas that may touch on a sensitive subject. There is a fear of judgment on one side and a concern about sounding critical on the other. As James points out, it is important that “participants are willing to be truthful and present.’ That is much easier between people who are not protective of their truths and not preoccupied with their past.
The young tend to be less paranoid and have less of a past to dwell on. As people get older, they become jaded. Their hot buttons multiply and they carry mental baggage, riddled with guilt over actions they’ve taken that resulted in failure or disappointment.
For many years, my human connections have mostly been small talk, consisting of flavors of the month and highlights of the day. One of the facets of the blog community I relish is the thought-provoking subjects and the opportunity for “connection, communion, truth-finding, enlightenment, inspiration and healing.”
Thank you, James, for inspiring this post.