Bringing conversation back into our lives

Aristotle was...pretty good at conversing.

Aristotle was...pretty good at conversing.

One of my favorite things about Freemasonry is what many organizations (including churches and the like) call "fellowship." In modern-day English, we call it "hanging out." When we're not in a formal meeting (or sitting formally at prayer, for instance), we're still gathered with like-minded folk, eating, drinking and, most of all, talking.

As someone who works from home and communicates with my coworkers via an online chat if we need to (sometimes we just sit around independently and work for 45 minutes or so without saying anything), I don't have an opportunity to grab lunch with a coworker or chat with someone at the water cooler or coffee pot.

And, in fact, in turns out, even people who do work in offices together aren't talking to each other as much as they used to. Same with people who sit around the dinner table, staring at their phones instead of talking to each other.

Author Sherry Turkle has been writing about it for a while now. She has a new book called Reclaiming Conversation, which is about bringing conversation back into our lives.

It's an extension, really, of work she did for another book on being alone, even if we're connected. Here's her TED talk on it from 2012.

She talks more about the new book on the Art of Manliness podcast.

In the lessons of the second degree of Freemasonry, we learn about the seven liberal arts and sciences we should really study to become well-rounded humans. Of the seven, three really relate to conversation: logic, grammar and rhetoric.

I won't go into detail here, not because there's anything secret in the ritual, but because practicing the art of conversation is so much more important than sitting by yourself reading this. But if you want want to learn more, The Masonic Roundtable has great discussions on each:

Grammar
Rhetoric
Logic

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One Comment

  1. I’m not gonna lie; sometimes conversations are hard. Not always of course, but I find that where a group is concerned I interact in spurts and then need to pull back into myself. Think of it this way; for all the years we’ve known each other, I think we’ve maybe only had 2 or 3 real conversations, and only one of those alone. Intriguing to think about isn’t it? I’ve had more conversations alone with your wife, and I’ve known you twice as long as her. 🙂

    I also work mainly from home, like you. I have fewer opportunities to people though. Strange as it seems, the two best relationships I have these days are via the smartphone; that’s almost depressing but it is what it is.
    Mitch Mitchell recently posted..Of Course We All Look Good On Social Media

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