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.

The Myths of Equality 

I implore you to accept that equality is not equivalent to equity. 

Equality is simply a possible element of, and not an appropriate measure of, fairness. 

You don’t measure the success of a fish on it’s ability to climb a tree. What’s fair for the chimp, is not fair for the fish. Is it fair to say that Men fight topless in combat sports, so Women must also? 

So what’s our fascination with equality. Is it just easier to fight for an equal standard than to justify and highlight the measure of fairness. I mean,  it’s easier to say that person A has this right, so person B should equally have this right, than it is to express where the imbalance of fairness lay. 

Or maybe it’s easier to make the discussion about equality, as opposed to defining our specific gripes. 

Either way, we are encouraging unhealthy social, and also internal, dialogues of comparison and injustice. Life is not equal, it does not exist in a fair and email realm. We often have one of the other.  But as people, if we are to find positive results for. As many as possible, we need to be willing to acknowledge that equality and equity are not one in the same. 

If we acknowledge this, we can control the emotional charge of many of these discussions and aim to be subjective. But I guess the key is, not asking for everything in this world. 

As a disclaimer, DO NOT assume this to be in commentary of any current or future social discussions about equality and fairness. Rather, this is commentary about how we go about discussing them. 

This Sunday thought is one which I hope to continue to explore in the future. Keep posted for more. 

Guise. 

Socially Expectable 

People piss us off, weird us out, make us see similarities to ourselves and make us question why they could possibly be the way they are. 

The problem is, though, that we overgratify the value of our own opinion from others. By using terms like “socially acceptable” we express a self indulgent connotation that it is okay for someone else to dress that way, or behave in that manner. In reality though, whether we accept or reject someone’s sense of acceptable dress means shit. We are not a qualifier in their. Whether we should be a qualifier though, is a question of morals And cultural norms, one that I’m not currently prepared to approach. 

And so it is a matter of our social expectations which we are truly capable of passing commentary on. We expect to see people dress either how we dress, how celebrities and other public figures dress, or how the greater populace dress. Perhaps that is the most disappointing part of this thought. 

We have teenagers wearing shorts that are shorter than short, yet this now appears to be the cultural norm. So when we see someone dishevelled, in a comical outfit, looking like they have just emerged from a three months hibernation in front of a computer screen on a diet of domino’s and Fanta, we are confronted with something that is different, something that we did not expect to see. But how different we would feel of that was the norm, if that was how the majority of the population groomed themselves. 

With that, I leave you with this week’s thought. Don’t let our expectations guide our connections, don’t let acceptance be self-inflated, and most importantly, don’t let me tell you what to do. 

Guise. 

Speak Up

When did society start breeding them? When did we decide it is okay to nurture a lack of social skills and inability to speak in front of even the smallest gatherings? I’m curious as to whether it’s a lack of confidence, fear of judgement or simply too many people taking the easy way out by reading unconsciously from a script of paper. Our politicians do it, so why shouldn’t we?

On first instinct, we look at the internet and the online presence of human beings as detracting from the primal skill of public speaking. An increased time spent engaging computer screens against that spent interacting with physical specimens has, by no doubt, affected the our social skills as humans. We lose the freedom of buying time in between responses, effectively diminishing our ability to think rapidly and spontaneously. Most of us with an inkling of common sense can see this, and yet we continue to dedicate greater lengths of time to our digital presence.

Our ability to write essays, blogs and share creative ideas have in no way been reduced because of the internet. If anything, creativity flows more fluidly for this reason. The lack of 25 sets of eyes no longer has to stand in the way of human expression. For this, many more ideas and thoughts are shared every day. But at what cost? How do we value our inherent ability to address the masses upon a stage? Where would culture and politics be if the great speakers in these fields had given into their fear of attention?

I see a trend, a negative spiral of acceptance for giving into ones fears. When society reinforces and allows for our youth to stand and fake their way through speeches and addresses, we are taking one giant cultural leap backwards. We are accepting mediocrity and encouraging social anxiety.

These words will not change our schools curriculum to promote better speaking skills. It will not encourage the masses to take on speaking coaches. No. All that these words can do is encourage. They can provide the encouragement to deny yourself from mediocrity, and look to address this issue in each of your lives. When we lose our ability to speak to one another, we are but bricks in a wall. Knowledge may be power, but language is mortality.

 

Guise