Small Talk

Something that I’m definitely not good at is small talk. It makes me uncomfortable, feel stupid, and offers a hollow feeling in pretending to connect with someone. It’s safe to say, I do not like small talk.

There is, however, a form of conversation that I enjoy even less than that, and that is gossip. As soon as my brain registers that we the conversation has transitioned to gossip, I’m checked out. My consciousness goes to a subconscious place, hiding itself from the incoming discord of rumour, innuendo, unsubstantiated assumptions, and biased conceptions of past experiences.

Quite simply, I’m aware of the benefits of this primal form of human collaboration. A primordial connection to others through the discussion of a third party and their habits and idiosyncrasies. I understand that everyone of us use it to build relationships, and that it is a safe ground away from the taboo topics of small talk, but I am curious where my instinctual aversion of the topic has developed.

And I wonder, knowing that this form of communication and social bonding is important to us, why do we spend so much more time on this, than we do on the discussion of ideas, thoughts, opinions and innovations. Why are we happy to accept that the dealings of the Kardashians can make the nightly news, reaching a mass audience in an instant, but in order to hear the discussion of real world people’s ideologies and challenges, we have to resort to the niche corners of Reddit and the rest of the internet.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad that we have this ability to connect and share with other individuals in the same mindset as myself, but for how long. With the looming threat towards net neutrality in the United States, do not be fooled to think that won’t affect the rest of the globe.

So the question I leave you with today is, what have you done this week to discuss something bigger? What information have you absorbed from sources other than your mainstream news organisations, Facebook feeds, and radio advertisements.

If we hope for a population of individuals, thinking for themselves, challenging the decisions of our leaders constructively, and pressuring the major news articles to raise the quality of reporting and removal of bias, then that starts with each of us.

Guise.

A passing moment 

A thousand blades of grass below, and broken clouds of shades above. Wandering ants and rising plants, surrounding sounds of neighbours plans. 

A million microscopic cells at any single visual point, paint a picture for the sake of sake, and weave a memory within our mind’s tapestry.

Take any single moment in time, isolate as many elements of that moment, one by one. Take it in. Separate the sound of passing traffic, from the whistle of that summer breeze. Every muscle, ligament, and bone that works together as you scroll meanderingly through Facebook, your eyes constantly adjusting, re-focusing, absorbing. 

Millions upon millions of unconscious cells been carried though a fragile ecosystem that we call ‘person’.

It’s almost not our fault, that we live lives filled with such extensive stimuli, it would be impossible to appreciate every single element that goes into making any given moment, a reality.

There is a peace, however, in slowing down and isolating the experiences.
Take a moment away from your feeds, from the unending flow of information at your fingertips. A slow deep breath, and a taste of mindfulness.

In a world which is passing so quickly, it is these moments that centre me. Putting existence into perspective. 

Guise