The Lost art of Conversation

I read somewhere recently that more than 80% of all conversation is about other people. Otherwise known as gossip. 

“Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people”

This is a popular saying that has been attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962), but it’s uncertain if she ever actually said it. 

It took me way too long to look that up and fact check it. 

I’ve heard this saying many times, and it never fails to make me think. I mean, It’s true, isn’t it ? 

You take a group of teenage girls for example. They probably talk about boys, other girls, and celebrities. I’m generalizing here for clarity but stick with me. 

A group of millennials, talking about Coachella, or another big music event. 

A group of thirty-something liberal arts majors, talking about the best and worst parts of human nature. 

The difference in outward portrayal of intelligence is so obvious when it is broken down like this. 

Now, an anomaly in this pattern.  

Yesterday I (a teenage girl) and a group of my friends (also teenage girls) had a moderately lengthed conversation about heaven. Assuming heaven is real, how long is the time between one dying and one going to heaven? Is it a split second, or is there a two hour gap? Is there a waiting list for heaven? A waiting room? Once you’re in heaven, do you ever leave? Is overpopulation a problem? Is there only one heaven? Is it possible to die in heaven? These are only a couple of the questions we asked. 

It wasn’t an extremely religious conversation, as far as I know none of us are particularly strong believers, but it went on for a while and it was one of the best conversations I’ve had in a while. 

I know adults who couldn’t have conversations half as good as ours.

Actually, the whole idea of “wise minds discuss ideas” is in the definition of conversation:

Conversation: the informal exchange of ideas by spoken words.

This, of course, is the google definition. However, nearly every dictionary will mention something along those lines. 

“oral exchange of sentiments, observations, opinions, or ideas”-Miriam Webster

“informal interchange of thoughts, information, etc., by spoken words; oral communication between persons; talk; colloquy.”

“A talk, especially an informal one, between two or more people, in which news and ideas are exchanged.” -Oxford Dictionary 

I often wonder what it would be like if people only had interesting conversations. There are too many people in the world for us to not occasionally talk about people, and there are always events going on. However, ideas are timeless.

If you’re looking for a more simple list of ideas to talk about, here’s one:

  1.  Heaven 
  2. Feminism
  3. Miracles 
  4. Time travel
  5. The need for emotions
  6. Space travel
  7. Telepathy

There are many more, just look it up and about a zillion pages will come up. 

So whats my point? 

I can’t go a day without hearing someone talk about another person, but I can go for over 2 months before hearing someone talk about an idea. 

People are merely scratching the surface of what their brains have to offer, and it’s frustrating seeing (and hearing) people waste their intelligence on Kylie Jenner’s lips. 


Sincerely, The Ancient Mayan Civilization