Monday, April 29, 2013

The Art of Conversation

The dying art of conversation is a sad fact of modern society. 

Many people say that it is already dead, buried by email, texting and instant messaging. Social media is the final nail in the coffin of the art of conversation. Now we talk just to exchange information rather than for the pure pleasure of a meaningful spar between two people. 

It all started with the arrival of the email. What was envisioned as a business tool was soon turned into a medium of personal messages. The email took the place of a phone call and replaced this last mean of human contact. However, email did not receive mainstream acceptance and social gatherings like dinners and cocktail parties kept the art of conversation alive.

The arrival of cell phone was the final straw. This device is the main reason why a whole generation does not converse. They chat, message, email or send out instant messages, but never converse with each other.

Having a good conversation is not difficult. The rules have not changed much since the days of Greek who first introduced the world to the delightful art of conversation. Every educated person in ancient Greece was expected to hold their own in a conversation and great matters were settled during casual conversations.

The Victorian era was the heyday of the art. Everyone in the society from the lowly servants to the heist aristocrats was an expert in the art and a good conversation was the common way of spending a pleasant evening.

Modern technology has made every person an isolated island, which exchange snippets of information with similar islands. This situation is usually mistaken for a conversation. The art of conversation, although dying, is not completely lost. The habit of conversation requires careful nurturing to elevate it to the status of an art.

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