The Random Comic Strip

The Random Comic Strip

Words to live by...

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."

[Spanish Proverb]

Ius luxuriae publice datum est

(The right to looseness has been officially given)

"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."

Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.


Thursday, February 12, 2009

Conversations


Have blogs become the new conversations? I am contemplating reading Plato's "The Republic" (no, I am going to do it, not simply thinking about it*) and was reading a little online so that I might get a feel for it, to see whether it will be my usual few pages each night before sleep or a non-stop marathon (undecided so far) when I read a passage on the 3rd page where Plato speaks of gatherings for conversations. And I realized that I, we, rarely do this anymore.

I often did this with friends in my youth. Especially while in the Navy. When aboard a ship, out at sea for days or weeks, gatherings were common. Friends, both casual and close, would lounge on the fantail and chat. Most of the conversations were light, as Plato also described, and covered lies and half-truths and boasts about girls or past experiences. But some had more depth, philosophical, and covered our deep seated feelings about life. These conversations, more intimate and among close friends, are things I don't seem to do anymore.

I still chat with friends, even family, but they aren't weighty discussions about the affairs of Man or the meaning of it all. Just chats. I've had deeper conversations with my mirror.

Our conversations change over the years. When I was young, I thought and talked about all manner of things. Now, I just think about them and sometimes share these thoughts with you.

Oh, I still have conversations with my friends and associates. Mostly on the golf course. But they are shallow even though they range from politics to women. And that is a broad range indeed. Most of the conversations are actually just light banter. Or about immediate issues such as health or who recently passed away (a lot more of that lately since most of those I know around here are elder non-statesmen).

We banter mostly. Clever (we think) little insults about each other's game or weight or age. Nothing serious. Unless it concerns the weather. Weather has become a serious subject, it seems. But I digress.

I watch news shows on TV where various talking heads and pundits do more arguing without listening than anything else. Weighty discussions on PBS seem to have no give and take, all very one sided, all in some agreement or answering oh so probing questions of an interviewer who seems more enamored of the guest than knowledgeable of the subject at hand. And all of these interviews seem to be book promotions.

I miss philosophical discussions with my intellectual peers. Or with those I find to be superior intellects. The latter are different than those who think themselves to be superior intellects. I am reluctant to start such discussions. I am fearful to be thought of as a "stick in the mud". I want to be liked, to be seen as cheerful and bouyant.

Depressing, don't you think?


(* It is now a month since I wrote that and I still haven't started reading "The Republic")

8 comments:

Michael said...

The meaning and enjoyability of conversations really does depend on who you're talking with, doesn't it?

The thing I look for in the interlocutor, is a unique point of view, and the willingness to share their insight. My friend and I call it being 'random', because we can often start by talking about our respective school lives, then ice-cream, then evolution vs. creationism, then comedians, then our favorite meats, followed by a competition to see who can name the capital of various countries.

You seem to have that ability, you talk about different things, some 'serious', some 'trivial'. And blogging does provide a medium in which can discuss things, philosophy, or anything you want.

The Republic is on my pile, too.

Michael.

The Jules said...

Some of the best coversations I have are with my brothers, as we have a shared history, similar outlooks and a complete inability to be offended.

As Michael said, one of the great things about them is their randomness, and they can go from philosophy to boobs, physics to boobs, or the meaning of life to . . . well, you get the drift.

It's true what you say Douglas, and having a decent conversation seems so unusual these days that you remember it for ages!

Douglas said...

Michael and Jules - Yes, the subjects we discuss seem to wander aimlessly at times. Some comment will lead to another subject and then to yet another, something may happen nearby that triggers another subject. By the end of the chat, you will be unlikely to remember the
first subject. But conversations of depth and meaning... very rare indeed.

Argentum Vulgaris said...

Is the net and the world of blogging and other conversational tools, slowly eroding our ability to communicate face-to-face?

AV
http://netherregionoftheearthii.blogspot.com/
http://tomusarcanum.blogspot.com/
http://thingsthatfizz.blogspot.com/

Douglas said...

AV - It's a good question. I don't think so, though. I think it is broadening the town square, expanding the dialogue to include more participants.
I would love to sit and chat with you face to face, for instance, but distance and monetary circumstances prevent it.

Butler and Bagman said...

Not depressing...intriguing and I feel the same way. One thing I have learned from obsessing after...not conversations really, but arguments...is when I'm thinking, "I could have said this," and "Whens she said that I should have said this." Then I remind myself of my Rule #27B: "Don't have conversations with people who aren't there."

Argentum Vulgaris said...

Is the net and the world of blogging and other conversational tools, slowly eroding our ability to communicate face-to-face?

AV
http://netherregionoftheearthii.blogspot.com/
http://tomusarcanum.blogspot.com/
http://thingsthatfizz.blogspot.com/

Douglas said...

AV - It's a good question. I don't think so, though. I think it is broadening the town square, expanding the dialogue to include more participants.
I would love to sit and chat with you face to face, for instance, but distance and monetary circumstances prevent it.