Building up the Conversation (part 9)


Building up the Conversation


Rounding Off

All games are played according to the rules. They have their start and their finish, and so also in conversation, the winding-up is tantamount to ending the topic. Without this rounding up, no satisfactory conclusion will be reached. It may be argued that if conversation is taken only as a game of words, the weaving of expressions by the maestro, what does it matter whether it is rounded off or not? In answer to this, it may be urged that though a play of words, conversation is not merely an idle or loose exercise of vocabulary. A conversation to justify its name is to be an efficient medium of communication as well as a means of educating ourselves. In conformity with this argument, it is necessary that a conversation be rounded off and that the moderator automatically take this up and summarise the arguments for and against: not in a classroom manner, but in an artistic way.


Exploring Jointly

Without the help and co-operation of those taking part in the conversation, join investigations or joint explorations cannot be made. If in a conversation we become too engrossed in rejecting what others are saying and establishing our own arguments, much energy is wasted in going round and round because eventually someone or other may take personal offence at the views expressed and the true spirit of the conversation will be destroyed there and then. Conscientious  conversationalists, therefore, avoid such situations and devote themselves to the proper building up of conversation through co-operative or mutual effort.

The word 'exploration'  is particularly significant because just as in the discovery of a mineral or in adducing inductive reasoning to something yet unknown, groping, feeling, testing, etc., are involved, so also in a conversation that works to an educative or informative end, all participants should bring into play their mental capabilities to promote free conversation, as far as possible. Sometimes, it is enough to put in just a word like 'absolutely' or 'not always' and if  the conversation is taken up by another who says, 'there i disagree, i'll tell you why',or, following 'not always' starts to resuscitate the remark with his own arguments, the conversation is passed round and thus is taken out of the hands of the person who first made the remark.


Arriving at the Truth

Joint exploration should lead the speakers to undiluted truth which is the objective of all purposeful speech. If the conversation moves towards this goal, the participants will not stray from the point. Contradictions as such are ruled out, because counter-reasonings would be wasteful in nature, by way of both time and energy. Instead of contradictions and attempts to show that the other party is in the wrong, It would be more helpful  to adopt an attitude of acceptance and then of rejection. Also acceptance and rejection have to be done by common consent. Thus if a certain view is accepted, it will be equally plain to the conversationalists why this argument has been accepted, just as it will become plain to them why another is not.

Without this type of congruence, it will not be possible to proceed with speed in any conversation, and when speed is lagging, knowledge is delayed in its appropriation. It is, therefore, a general rule that explanations mar and nullify the very purpose of a conversation, and that any explanation that is given should be reasoned out by the conversationalist individually. The wheel of conversation moves, and the different persons in the game have to keep the wheel moving, helping it to acquire the highest revolution that is possible. When his turn comes, the individual has to contribute efficiently with minimum words as the situation warrants, and let the conversation move on to others.


Mental Aptitude

In all verbal 'combat', an aptitude of the mind to cope with the current level of discussion is of great importance. mental aptitude does not necessarily mean that a person has to be an expert on the subject. A person may attend a music recital without knowing the intricacies of the music that he listens to and may still enjoy the performance. He is able to do this because he has an inherent taste for and interest in music and in the absorption of the sensations of melody and harmony; he enjoys and appreciates them without necessarily understanding the technicalities. In the same way, one may participate in a conversation without understanding every bit of what is being said. This, however, is only a euphemistic expression because no person of 'standard' intellect and brain-power can remain ignorant for long about the topic that is being discussed if he or she pays careful attention to it; by the application of the same common and average intelligence, he can put forward his views which may prove highly rewarding to those who are actually taking part in the discussion.


Sincerity and Frankness

The building-up of anything is painstaking and a conversation calls for similar effort. The main citadels of such effort are sincerity and frankness in conversation. A person cannot pose as all-knowing in a subject of which he has only sparse knowledge. Nor can he succeed in confusing the issue and the subject-matter  for long if he is in a group of knowledgeable people. Duping of any kind or saving the situation somehow may work in other circumstances but not in any proper conversation. A person will do much good to the situation if he comes out with something like, 'I do not know much about it, but I feel...' some in the party may be kind enough to enlighten him on the things that he does not know or at least what is relevant in the given context.

Frankness and Sincerity must come from all participants in the conversation. A person cannot be frank if he knows that whatever he says wiil be laughed at or treated as a jest by the others. He cannot show his sincerity if he feels that his group is too sophisticated to appreciate sincerity and may even take it as weakness. When however, individuals in the group take it as their base through the interchange of one another's knowledge and experience, the core objective and purpose of the conversation are fulfilled.

To be Continued....


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