I have come to a conclusion today: People do not like conversations.
Like actual conversations, ones that matter and have substance. Not the shitty, empty ones that are about how the latest [insert current popular trendy band/pop-star name here] album is a “religious experience” or how the new [insert name of latest trendy food and/or beverage] at [insert name of eating establishment or franchise here] is “SOOOOO GOOD”, but ones that actually make you think. Ones that challenge you. Ones that actually may make you a little mad; however you still want to hear what the opposing view is because you want to learn.
We had house guests over the other night and a conversation was started. The topic: politics and economics. In a nutshell: How the corporate world would handle it if the US Federal Government would raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour. The conversation never got to an argument, voices may have gotten a bit raised (because people get passionate about these things), but never to the point of yelling (One guy’s voice is just low and booming, not his fault) and the discussion was very intelligent; however it was broken up because others were too uncomfortable and they decided that we should play a game instead.
Unfortunately, this tends to happen a lot and isn’t just a one time occurrence.
Today I was watching The Green Party Town Hall that was on CNN last night and there was a comment made that we are afraid to have these type of conversations. I was also watching Chelsea on Netflix and Zelda Williams was a guest. She also made this comment on how we, as a society, are afraid of having conversations that have differing opinions. How we are afraid of hearing other views that may challenge our own ideologies and actually learning from differing opinions. I am not saying you have to agree with the other person, and their views, but at least listen and maybe understand why they think that way. I have listened to people with theological views, differing political views, differing technological views and even though I don’t agree with them (Hell, some I think are batshit crazy or even fucking stupid), I still listen and give a differing opinion; however when the conversation turns into an argument, that’s when you break out the games, change the subject or tell the person that this topic is escalating and that you no longer want to talk about it.
In my opinion an argument is where the conversation goes from sharing ideas, to forcing ideas upon the other person (ie; here’s what I think vs. I will make you think like me) and I think that’s what everyone fears. I think we have gotten to the point where we cannot differentiate between the two different forms of communication or we are so afraid of a conversation escalating that we try to stomp out an intelligent conversation because we think it’s an argument waiting to happen. This is something that needs to stop. We need to have these discussions. It’s how we learn and how we grow as a society and it’s how you grow as a person. Again, in my opinion, you can’t grow as a person by talking about the weather, or looking at funny cat videos with people all the damn time, just as you can’t live off of potato chips and twinkies. Eventually, you are going to need to get some real food in you.
I hope that we all overcome this fear soon, because people need to start talking.
Like in real life.
Preferably over coffee, but not Starsucks.
Real coffee. Real conversation.
Actually, at this point it doesn’t matter; just start having intelligent conversations.
Just start talking.