The Lost Art Of Conversation

LOL Wat R U Doing

 

The next time you are out at a restaurant, a coffee shop, or a bar, take a good look at the people sitting at the other tables around you.  Chances are pretty good that you will observe couples or groups of friends barely paying attention to one another, let alone actually conversing or engaging in otherwise meaningful interaction.  Instead, you will most likely observe most of them sitting around the table with their faces buried in their smart phones.

Hell, just last week at a casual burger joint, I observed a young 20 something couple—a guy and a girl—out on a date, barely speaking a word to each other. Instead, both of them were focused solely on their smart phones.  The saddest part about this whole observation was that this did not appear to be some awkward first date going badly—because judging from what little interaction I did observe they appeared to be a steady couple—no, this was actually their status quo.

Now I am using this one specific couple to illustrate a point, but take one look around in public and you will see that this is far from an isolated example.  This trend of smartphone induced non-interaction generally applies to both men and women, although women by far seem to be the worst offenders.  This trend also applies to groups of all ages, but the “millennials” and young people hands down take the prize as the worst offending group.

Young people today are so addicted to their idiot devices, that they have lost practically all ability to share in meaningful human interactions and conversation.  It is far more important and entertaining for them to play on apps, browse the internet, or text someone who isn’t present, than it is to have a meaningful thought provoking conversation with the person or people sitting right in front of them.  Obviously, whoever it is that they are texting is waaaaaaay cooler than the person that they are currently out with, and therefore must be doing something waaaaaaay more interesting.

Conversation and communication for Western youth—and by youth, I mean the aforementioned millennials and even some Gen X’ers well into their 40’s—has devolved into nothing more than texts, status updates, snap chats, selfies, hashtags, “tweets”, and tinder “swipes”.  In the extremely rare event that verbal communication does occur, it is usually vapid and short lived, because these people have the attention span of a toddler on crack and the verbal communication skills of a dead and decomposing mime.

The purpose of youthful social interactions today are rarely even for the actual human contact or meaningful interaction and communication itself anyways.  Social interactions for kids today are usually nothing more than fodder for status updates, tweets, “selfies”, or some other form of narcissistic self-absorbed validation on social media.  The art of, or desire for, meaningful and intelligent face-to-face conversation, discussion, interaction, and socializing is disappearing from Western culture—if it’s not already dead.  I mean seriously, why have a meaningful in-person conversation about intelligent and thought provoking subject matter, when you can “face time”, text, or instagram your latest “duckface” selfie and status update instead.

Now perhaps the young women of today are already too far lost to this vapid and petty world of smart phone and social media induced narcissistic instant validation, and the destruction and atrophy it causes to real communication skills—assuming that they were even developed in the first place.  But I do not write for them anyways.  I am writing for the men out there, and urging them to reclaim the lost masculine art of conversation.

Long gone it seems are the days when men gathered in gentleman’s social clubs, lounges, cafes, pubs, and taverns, to drink brandy, smoke cigars, and have hearty conversations and debates on politics, war, philosophy, literature, and current events.  Even if the conversational topics were less serious light-hearted banter—about women, wives, mistresses, dirty jokes, and sports—the point is that these interactions were focused around conversation.  Conversation, in and of itself, was a social activity.

Men once gathered in these locations for the sole purpose of conversation, brotherhood, fraternity, and meaningful social interactions, the result of which—regardless of social class—was a population of mature, well informed, masculine men.  A stark contrast to the generation of feminized “man children” in their 20s and 30s, living in their mother’s basement, playing video games all day.  Masculinity begets masculinity, and the association, socialization, conversation, and interaction of men with other men fosters that.

Now this is not to say that it is the lack of conversation skills alone which is to blame for our current culture of emasculated, immature, soft, weak, and entitled “men”, but it is certainly a factor—the other contributing factors are a topic for another day.  Yet the benefits of improving conversational skills, and fostering social interaction cannot be overstated.  Learning how to carry a conversation teaches not only confidence, presence, and the ability to firmly express ones views, but also the ability to learn active listening skills, the ability to debate, to defend ones point of view against criticism, and also the ability to understand both sides of an argument.  In short, conversational skills are essential to being an intellectually well rounded man.

I am personally a conversationalist.  I love conversation just for the sake of conversation.  I think an evening spent engaged in meaningful conversation is an evening well spent.  And by “conversation”, I am not referring to “how’s the weather” small talk, but rather real “verbal-sparring” thought provoking conversation.  I am talking about the passionate exchange and comparison of ideas, facts, and opinions, and the conversational and active-listening skills to appreciate it.

Conversation does not always have to be heavy, there is still plenty of room for light-hearted subjects and stupid chit-chat, but the point, is how many men today appreciate conversation simply for the sake of conversation, and can engage in such without distraction?

How often do men today get together for the sole purpose of uninterrupted conversation? How many people today possess real active-listening skills, the ability to articulate an intelligent point, and the attention span to converse for more than 5 minutes uninterrupted.  How many “kids” today are able to have a mature intelligent conversation or debate, without resorting to the typical liberal debate killers like “that’s racist” or “you’re ignorant”?

I suppose that its not really a surprise though, why the the art of conversation, communication, and debate is dead among the youth and young adults of today.  When you factor in a social-media smartphone lack of attention span, a desire for instant gratification and validation, an undeserved sense of entitlement, a total liberal brainwashing, a complete and utter lack of critical thinking skills, and an utter lack of maturity, then is it really any wonder why the brain-dead youth of today cannot hold a meaningful conversation.  Sadly, it seems that the art of conversation truly is a lost art.

Keep in mind, that the following was written by a socially awkward, misanthropic loner, who just so happens to enjoy a hearty conversation.

Revised 1-10-15

© 2014 by AB Frank, All Rights Reserved

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