One of the things that infuriates me more than anything else is the idea that certain ideas and positions oughtn’t be discussed because it’s not polite or respectful.  The idea of two people stating their opposite opinions and being content to disagree without discussion is horrifying to me.  Are your convictions so weak that they can’t stand up to scrutiny?  If you could be convinced that your opinions were wrong wouldn’t you want to know?  It’s easy to hold wrong-headed ideas if they’re never challenged but good ideas will survive.  Only through conversation and debate with opponents can you iron out the kinks in your thinking.

Not everyone is comfortable having long conversations.  Some people use endless smalltalk as a crutch to avoid conversations about life, love, the universe, religion, politics and other heavy topics.  I can’t fathom why anyone would want to avoid discussing the most important questions ever posed by humanity.

That is not to say that you should be confrontational.  But don’t fear conversation.  Allow your mind to go where the conversation takes you without planning or direction.  Often I find myself choosing to or compelled to spend long solitary hours with a single individual.  The resulting conversations are totally unpredictable but always informative and inspirational.  Sometimes the biggest ideas that I get come from pointless conversations with others because brains work better in tandem.

Sadly I think that the fear of conversation is like the unwillingness to hire tattooed youths.  No one will admit that they hate people with tattoos but everyone is afraid that their customers and fellow employees will discriminate against the tattooed so they don’t get hired.  Similarly, few would admit that they are unwilling to discuss their deepest thoughts but most people I suspect would say that they don’t want to make others uncomfortable with deep thoughts so they avoid deep topics.

This is my plea to you: embrace the chaos and depth of conversation.  Leave no stone unturned and no sacred cow unslaughtered.  When your mind goes somewhere, take someone with you by sharing.  Learning how to filter your thoughts and think before you speak is only important if the people around you are a bunch of over-sensitive ninnies without any cerebral activity.

Dialogue builds civilization; censorship destroys them.

Advertisements