Conversation Essay

1040 words - 5 pages

Deconstructing and reinventing conversation

Like fire, conversations are fun, bring us together, and make food taste better.

Also like fire, conversations require 3 main components to exist.  You can't have

a fire without air, fuel, and heat.  Similarly, you can't have a conversation without

Presence, Language, and Objective.

In this essay, I will try to deconstruct conversation into its three major

components, and then add a couple of disruptors to see how conversation takes

place "out of time" and "out of place" using the internet.

Fuel - > Presence.

Presence is what a person brings to a conversation.  Its everything from their

clothes, their sex, their height, their skills, ...view middle of the document...

e., all participants speak English or what

have you.  Beyond this though are first the kinds of phrases, the word ordering,

and the way we respond to each other.  Ticks like "uh huh" or "yeah", mutually

familiar "comfort" colloquialisms, iconoclastic icebreakers, and pop culture

references "D'oh" all make up different parts of a rich conversation.

What is an "iconoclastic icebreaker"?  I like these kinds of terms, they are little

feelers people throw out to see if they are "OK" or "one of us", like a secret

handshake from a Masonic order they quickly advise the participants of as

yet unstated world views, belief systems, or insider-ness.  Introducing an "F"

bomb casually then gauging the reaction, or "God willing", or "Damn that (insert

political party name here)" all help set ground rules and have always particularly

fascinated me.  They can also be less "intense" and really exist to discover the

literary capability for the conversation - thus helping the participants level set

the proceeding activity.  Again, IE, one could say "Chesterfield" to see if the

others are from a certain locale, some industry jargon, or simply a "big word" to

establish literary capability.  These couldn't be characterized as "iconoclastic" but

the word is kind of fun, plus the two i's … like … alliteration.  Eh?

Heat - > Objective

Id characterize this as purpose, or topic, but most conversations really have

objectives, because most participants are thinking "what is in it for me" when

engaging in a conversation.  We tend to enter conversations with a subconscious

objective because we're simply confronted with the opportunity and have to

react to stimulus.  But occasionally we set up conversation to achieve some

kind of objective.  "To get to know each other better" is probably among the

most common, followed by "hoping to get laid" , then "getting a laugh".  In a

teaching context, the objectives are usually specific and fairly spelled out.  "How

to spell", "how to play guitar" , "how to lead others" etc. could be objectives in

a conversation between a teacher and student....

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