Conversation: (n) informal interchange of thoughts, information, etc., by spoken words; oral communication between persons
I guess I’m trying to understand Mr. Webster’s inclusion of the word “informal” in relationship to “conversation.”
I surmise that he might be thinking that a conversation is different from a discussion, because the minute it becomes a discussion it has an agenda, or at least a main subject. And a discussion transforms into a debate if the two people talking are in disagreement, becoming an argument when each person is determined to stick to his or her guns, trying to convert the other person.
My problem with a conversation is that it often becomes two human beings reciting their resumes to one another, allowing time for the other one to counter with similar information. In other words, “How are your kids doing?” Space of time, space of time, space of time…
Now it’s my turn. “This is how my kids are doing.” Space of time, space of time, space of time…
Because of the social media craze in our world, even the discourses we have with each other live and in person have begun to resemble Facebook with verbal posts.
To me, that’s not a conversation. A conversation is best defined, I believe, by the idea that two people get together yearning for fellowship and hungry for fresh insight.
It’s not a series of soliloquies in which we hope the other person is listening, but rather, dialogue peppered with questions, some indecision, observations and enough incompleteness that the other party feels comfortable contributing.
Conversation is the absence of the deadly five questions:
- How are you?
- What have you been doing lately?
- How are the kids?
- Health been excellent?
- What’s going on with the job?
If you can avoid these five questions religiously, you can sit down and have an actual conversation, which can turn out to be truly spiritual.