• intrapersona
    558
    Eleanor Roosevelt once said “small minds discuss people, average minds discuss events; Great minds discuss ideas"

    Small talk is meant to be light and fun. It flees from depth and meaning. Personal questions are considered inappropriate. Likewise, any emotion besides happy or neutral is discouraged. Consequently, authenticity dies on the vine. The truth is that small talk allows two people to have an entire conversation without really getting to know each other.
    Instead of being light and fun, the conversation is flat and boring. It is like a game of chess where both players always know each other’s next move. It is a predictable exchange with predictable results. It serves many valuable social purposes. It’s the human equivalent of dogs sniffing butts. For the introvert, it’s particularly valuable as an efficient way to find out who’s worth talking to more. For everyone else, it’s just how we do sanity and maturity checks on new people while the stakes are low. It’s a low-key opportunity to demonstrate good judgement, so all the more reason why it makes you look bad if you can’t or won’t do it.

    Don’t mistake me: I’m not saying that every conversation has to result in an extended philosophical dialogue; the occasional chit-chat is fine. But we all know there are those close to us with whom our conversation is ALWAYS limited to things such as where they’ve gone out to eat recently, what activities their children are involved in, or, of course, sports. There are trivial people and there are small-minded people.

    There are many reasons why people have a tendency to only place value on shallow conversations and I will explore these further now. Most people assume it doesn't mean they are themselves shallow, it simply means they haven't had much opportunity to discuss "truth", be it of a psychological nature, spiritual, metaphysical, etc. In actuality though it is not that they haven’t had a chance, it is because they flat out reject it every time they come near it. Not that they are incapable of ever finding it interesting but probably because their interests in life never developed their minds to the capacity to be able to handle those topics without becoming utterly confused and/or depressed. There is a common phenomenon in the mind of humans that cause us to be preoccupied with the habitual thought patterns we learn most consistently through social interactions. We find it hard to break this thinking maze we have built while struggling and meandering through the development of the self.

    There seem to be two main reasons why some people always resort to the superficial, and both have to do with shortcomings of their education. To play on Wittgenstein’s famous dictum, the limits of one’s education mean the limits of his world:
    1) Some people have not learned to be able to calmly consider other points of view on topics such as politics or religion. They take everything “personally.” And so, they avoid such topics and make their conversation partners avoid them, too.
    2) People have not been taught to effectively use critical thinking, to subject things to further analysis, to ask deeper questions about life and to seek answers in their reading. Their conversation is hollow because their thought is hollow; because they are hollow.

    Fear is also a substantial component in people's tendency for vapid or lacklustre conversation. Some fears that are attributableinclude:
    Fear of not being understood
    Fear of being 'proven wrong'
    Fear of asserting oneself too much
    Fear of opening a can of worms
    Fear of upsetting another
    Fear of being seen as 'difficult'
    Fear of being seen as a trouble maker
    Fear of disturbing the peace
    Fear of challenging the status quo
    Fear of being lashed out at

    Another important factor is peoples inability to stay focused for too long (beyond 4 minutes or even less for some). This weakness inevitably forces people to change topic or look dumb (and uninterested).

    There are many that do like to get in to profound or important discussions, but far more that don't because it usually brings out emotions and heated arguments, especially in the untrained. They haven’t learnt how to be purely rational and not be offended by difference in opinion or retaliation to argumentation. Deep discussion is like that with a lot of people, though there are many that don't feel educated enough or are not educated enough and avoid these things out of insecurity, or their brain is something they only use when necessary. There are though, many I seldom find in the common public, that are intellectuals and enjoy learning about anything. These are people that enjoy deep conversation about most anything, as long as it does not get emotional, they learn from every word, and no matter the topic. They rationalize it and treat it as merely a discussion of knowledge and possibilities, no more.

    “Man gazes; the animal grazes.” - Joseph Pearce

    With Post-industrialization, people started to became less concerned about the moral dimensions of chit-chat. Instead, they began to fear it was conformist and shallow, a poor reflection of one’s personal depth. Anthropologist Bronislaw Malinowski, who formulated the first academic theory of small talk, belittled what he termed “phatic communion” - conversation whose purpose is social, not informational - as “purposeless expressions of preference or aversions, accounts of irrelevant happenings, comments on what is perfectly obvious.”

    A small psychology study a few years ago found that people who spent more time in “substantive” conversations were happier than those who wasted their time on lighter fare. When researchers recorded snippets of conversations over the course of several days, the happiest person in the study engaged in only a third of the amount of small talk as the unhappiest. But there’s other evidence that small talk is salubrious, since social interaction seems to decrease stress. As one recent paper’s subtitle has it, “Minimal social interactions lead to belonging and positive affects.”

    Substantive conversation seemed to hold the key to happiness for two main reasons: both because human beings are driven to find and create meaning in their lives, and because we are social animals who want and need to connect with other people.
    “By engaging in meaningful conversations, we manage to impose meaning on an otherwise pretty chaotic world,” Dr. Mehl said. “And interpersonally, as you find this meaning, you bond with your interactive partner, and we know that interpersonal connection and integration is a core fundamental foundation of happiness.”

    Now that we have addressed what the contents effect is upon our minds it is important to address what psychological factors are responsible for the gregarious social types discussed above.

    Psychological research indicates that “Excessively polite” people were more likely to betray their peers than the less-polite.

    Another 2014 study finds that those who are described as “agreeable, conscientious personalities” are more likely to follow orders and deliver electric shocks that they believe can harm innocent people, while “more contrarian, less agreeable personalities” are more likely to refuse to hurt others.” They found evidence that agreeable people will often choose to do destructive things because they don't want to upset anyone by disagreeing with direct orders. Which expands on the famous milgram experiments done in 1961.

    Another important fact to consider is that psychopathy can closely be related with overt social behaviour. Their ability to mask an internal ascetic personality structure is uncanny. Externally, psychopaths create a façade of desirability and exemplify many positive character traits including being: Charming, Friendly, Intelligent, Sane, Sincere, Have Nerves of steel, Adventurous and Intrepid. The psychopathic person does not have the ability to experience genuine emotions, despite the seemingly sincere, intelligent, even charming external presentation. Indeed it is often observed in social persons that they exhibit genuine emotions when internally they are not present. This can be seen in the stereotyped teenage girl’s over-reaction about their girlfriend’s new haircut or item of clothing etc. (IE “Oh My Godddddd! That looks adorrrrrrrable!”)

    From my own experiences I have found excessively social people to be less trustworthy, more prone to lying and deceiving as well as egocentric and manipulative behaviour, coupled with hedonistic/trivial sex lifes. Funnily enough, according to MD Helen Farrel, these traits are found in psychopaths as well.

    It is also worth mentioning that people with overly-friendly, intense personalities have been correlated with brain abnormality. Individuals with these abnormalities lack visual-spatial skills and a tendency to be overly friendly with people, while generally being quite anxious people and have share irrational fears about non-social events, such as spiders or heights.


    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    Now, if I can argue completely to the contrary of what I have already spoken in favour of above... In many circumstances it may actually be so that the subtext of what a person says on a seemingly superficial level tells a deeper story about them if you listen closely enough. Some people absolutely require small talk because it allows them to scope out your approach to socialization and whether they'd benefit from going further with you on topics they actually find useful to discuss. Kind of like dipping your foot in the water before you dive and risk drowning in someone else's annoying/different interests.

    Trivialities like bus routes and rain, can tell us quite a lot about “who the person really is,” as Boomer puts it. Not because it’s a snobby shorthand for sorting a person by her pedigree, but because it lets you evaluate how she talks about her experiences, how she tells the story of herself, and how she approaches trifles like bad weather. Is she whiny? Wry? Cheery? It’s all informative, and none of it requires badgering anyone to reveal the moment of their most soul-shattering humiliation over cocktails. Ice-breakers like “Tell me about your weightiest belief” ask that your interlocutor dredge the depths of her soul on demand; small talk lets self-revelation unspool with a more civilized subtlety.

    I find this contradictory though as small talk forces you to water down your personality and therefore how is one to gauge more accurately if there is less information about one’s personality being transferred?
    Nevertheless this brings up an important point of never to mistake people who choose not to speak of deeper things with you, for people who cannot speak of deeper things. Assuming the second, is actually judging people in a way that makes you look a little shallow.

    If you act too good for small talk and pretentiously lunge for more “profound” conversations, or avoid any topic that isn’t important enough for your majesty, the only people who will be impressed are other socially inept critters with their own delusions of intellectual grandeur. People usually trash talk small talk because they suck at it. It’s evasion. “Oh, that social skill I don’t have? I hate that social skill. Who needs it.” This attitude isn’t characteristic of introverts: it’s characteristic of immaturity.


    Furthermore, most people only have strong opinions about *some* deep philosophical topics, not every deep topic ever, and will be disinterested if not annoyed if asked to discuss a topic entirely of your choice. It sends the message that you're more interested in the other person's ideas than in their comfort, whereas small talk gives both parties a chance to feel out how interested the other is in talking and what they'd like to talk about. Some people react to the idea of discussing anything deep as if you had asked them to work on their day off. The purpose of small talk is not actually to talk about anything, but to talk in order to make each other feel more comfortable. And people who know each other well really enjoy making small talk. I suspect people often enjoy small talk for its own sake.

    But how are we to know which relationship is more genuine?

    A) If a relationship involves only deep philosophical discussions about existentialism, we can safely make a guess that it is doomed. Philosophical topics often indicate a superficial relationship. Small talk on the other hand is the core foundation of any healthy relationship.

    B) If a relationship involves only small talk, we can safely make a guess that it is doomed. Small talk often indicate a superficial relationship. Discussions about philosophy and/or important life issues on the other hand is the core foundation of any healthy relationship.

    It does leave me wondering though if we'd consider these sorts of people in a sense to be "lesser" than those who DO actively engage in supposedly deeper thoughts and concepts. Those that contribute to the advancement of society, rather than to just go with the flow; fulfilling the basic physiological needs, and then not really doing much else that's "important." On the other hand, are we ever really in the position to judge exactly how one should be contributing to society, as long as they're happy?

    These are a lot of ideas I pulled from around the net on this topic hoping to inspire some insightful conversation on here about this ;)

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  • Terrapin Station
    10.5k
    I see the distinction as an expression of snobism oriented towards one's personal interests, which is the normative "deep" stuff to the snob in question. It's just like bs "high"/"low" art, culture etc. distinctions.
  • intrapersona
    558
    I see the distinction as an expression of snobbism oriented towards one's personal interests, which is the normative "deep" stuff to the snob in question. It's just like bs "high"/"low" art, culture etc. distinctions.Terrapin Station

    So every person who has a tendency towards deep thought is a snob trying to promote the snobbery of their personal interests? That doesn't seem very accurate tbh. What was said clearly outlined in gargantuan proportions a clear indication of the types of people in question but you seem to regard all deep thinkers as snobs... does it do yourself justice Terrapin? I know you want to show everyone how much of a snob you are... but please do it someplace else would you? :P
  • 0 thru 9
    828


    Great stuff! Very insightful descriptions of the many nuances of interpersonal communication. Several times while reading it i was nodding in agreement, having experienced similar situations. Thanks for taking the time to explore it, and hope that you can add even more. :)

    (The only thing that slightly befuddled me was format of the two sections taking the complete opposite viewpoint. Which is fine, better to give both sides of the story than one. But it took me a while to figure it out, despite the line separating the two sections. It might need an introduction, stating exactly what you are doing. And a conclusion might help to wrap it up. Because it is not entirely clear which side you agree with, or neither. Or both, depending on the circumstances. Any of which is fine. But making it extra clear might prevent misunderstanding, imho. Most interesting thoughts however!)

    Thanks again! :) (Y) (L)
  • Terrapin Station
    10.5k
    So every person who has a tendency towards deep thoughtintrapersona

    That should read, "who has a tendency to make a distinction between 'deep thought' and 'shallow thought' (and especially who sees 'deep thought' as normative and who believes that they engage in 'deep thought')."

    Or in other words, it's instructive that you're automatically assuming that the distinction isn't nonsensical.

    I'm not criticizing "deep thinkers." I'm criticizing the distinction as well as the people who make it and who believe that they are "deep thinkers" and that that makes them superior.
  • Buxtebuddha
    1.8k
    Trivialities like bus routes and rainintrapersona

    Are these always trivialities?
  • Benkei
    2k
    All talk is small talk. Philosophers talking more so than others. Subjects aren't inherently deep but are considered as such by those participating in the conversation. If we look at society, philosophical ideas are considered less deep and of less import than Justin Bieber's latest tattoo. Claiming his tattoo is small talk is short hand for saying you disagree with society's purported priorities and attribution of values.

    To which the masses will say: who are you? What do we care? Whatever!

    Hence, this too is small talk.
  • Agustino
    11.3k
    To which the masses will say: who are you? What do we care? Whatever!Benkei
    Fuck the masses! Why should we bother with what people with 2mm brains say? >:O
  • Bitter Crank
    8k
    Eleanor Roosevelt once said “small minds discuss people, average minds discuss events; Great minds discuss ideas"intrapersona

    Shove it, Eleanor.

    Small talk serves several functions, as indicated. Society depends on it, because it enables us (sans telephone or keyboard) to stand in close proximity for a while. Between strangers, small talk is a cover for closer examination. (Close examination without a cover is a bit too intrusive, especially for Anglo Saxons who usually maintain at least an arm's length margin.)

    Between friends, small talk allows for reaffirmation of the relationship, it's a friendly activity. Sharing a bit of food, a drink, is an extension of 'small talk'. It's small actions. Small actions can serve the same function as small talk.

    Small talk is the way we groom each other. We could go through each others' hair looking for fleas, lice, detritus, and so on, but we gave that up a million years ago. Maybe we should have preserved the practice. We could be discussing Schopenhauer while we pick lint off each other's clothing.

    Not everyone is academically, philosophically, scientifically... oriented. It requires a substantial commitment and preparation to succeed in those games, and most Americans (60%) do not have a degree, and even if they do, they might not be "big idea people", which is fine. Most educated people have to attend to the work of maintaining.

    While "What is the purpose of our existence" is indubitably deeper than "The 21 bus is always late", the latter is a better opener than the former, if you don't know the other people at the bus stop.
  • Agustino
    11.3k
    Small talk serves several functions, as indicated. Society depends on it, because it enables us (sans telephone or keyboard) to stand in close proximity for a while. Between strangers, small talk is a cover for closer examination. (Close examination without a cover is a bit too intrusive, especially for Anglo Saxons who usually maintain at least an arm's length margin.)Bitter Crank
    And can I know why we need to act like Machiavellian undercover manipulators? Does that make you feel good about yourself or what? You like being like that?

    Between friends, small talk allows for reaffirmation of the relationship, it's a friendly activity. Sharing a bit of food, a drink, is an extension of 'small talk'. It's small actions. Small actions can serve the same function as small talk.Bitter Crank
    Yes, agreed.

    Small talk is the way we groom each other. We could go through each others' hair looking for fleas, lice, detritus, and so on, but we gave that up a million years ago. Maybe we should have preserved the practice. We could be discussing Schopenhauer while we pick lint off each other's clothing.Bitter Crank
    Yes too.
  • Bitter Crank
    8k
    And can I know why we need to act like Machiavellian undercover manipulators? Does that make you feel good about yourself or what? You like being like that?Agustino

    "Cover" is a normal social thing. It's not the same as "undercover". There is nothing Machiavellian in what I said about cover. Another example: A bunch of straight guys in the YMCA shower and locker room can stand the forced naked proximity if they can "cover" the situation with small talk about sports, their work out, running shoes, and the like. Just standing there, silently, is a bit too "exposed". Maybe it's a way of keeping everybody's gaze pitched upward. "Hey, I'm up here." Gay men generally like the naked closeness of the YMCA, talk or no talk,, but a lot of straight guys don't.
  • Bitter Crank
    8k
    All talk is small talk.Benkei

    Exactly.

    There are many categories of talk: philosophical talk, car talk, sports talk, religious talk, farmer talk, kitchen talk, pillow talk, construction talk, military talk, bar talk, political talk, interior decorating talk, yoga talk, lawn talk, work talk, queue talk, etc.
  • Agustino
    11.3k
    "Cover" is a normal social thing. It's not the same as "undercover". There is nothing Machiavellian in what I said about cover. Another example: A bunch of straight guys in the YMCA shower and locker room can stand the forced naked proximity if they can "cover" the situation with small talk about sports, their work out, running shoes, and the like. Just standing there, silently, is a bit too "exposed". Maybe it's a way of keeping everybody's gaze pitched upward. "Hey, I'm up here." Gay men generally like the naked closeness of the YMCA, talk or no talk,, but a lot of straight guys don't.Bitter Crank
    Why? I've always found these social "covers" as you call them hypocritical and absurd. I never had such inhibition for example - if I'm naked in a public shower / locker room / sauna etc. - I never understood why anyone would find it strange. It's not like you're in there to have sex with them are you?? Say you're naked with other men. Why is small talk needed? Why does anyone presume that I will look for their phallus if they don't talk? I found the same happening in saunas with both men and women. But the human body is the human body, no big deal in that setting. It's not like I'm walking naked in the street is it? I'm supposed to be naked in the shower, sauna, locker room.
  • Benkei
    2k
    Fuck the masses! Why should we bother with what people with 2mm brains say? >:OAgustino

    You'll need to live with them all the same and after you telling them to fuck them(selves) that will be harder. If you don't like how people think or about what they think, instead of dismissing them you could try engaging them in a way that will get them interested. Seems more productive to me.
  • Bitter Crank
    8k
    From my own experiences I have found excessively social people to be less trustworthy, more prone to lying and deceiving as well as egocentric and manipulative behaviour, coupled with hedonistic/trivial sex lives.intrapersona

    I don't want to get too personal, but maybe this reflects more about you than the alleged excessively social people you have encountered. We who are socially dull witted may find that the socially adept run circles around us, which is likely to seem like negative behavior. And, of course, your observations are going to be true, at least some of the time--because some people are liars, thieves, knaves, and scoundrels, whether they are socially skilled or not.
  • Agustino
    11.3k
    You'll need to live with them all the same and after you telling them to fuck them(selves) that will be harder. If you don't like how people think or about what they think, instead of dismissing them you could try engaging them in a way that will get them interested. Seems more productive to me.Benkei
    You are right boss. It is a negative tendency that I have to disparage unintellectual people, which I should keep more in check. It just angers me, their self-righteousness, and the fact that they don't respect intelligence. As for making living with them harder - not really, one thing about the masses is that they're quick to forget - that's what I've learned. But it is immoral and should be avoided. Afterall I think it stems from some sense of inferiority. As in if you really are superior, what's the need to show it and rub it in their faces? Certainly you only do that if somewhere deep inside you think that you should be superior and yet perceive yourself as inferior.
  • Agustino
    11.3k
    I don't want to get too personal, but maybe this reflects more about you than the alleged excessively social people you have encountered. We who are socially dull witted may find that the socially adept run circles around us, which is likely to seem like negative behavior.Bitter Crank
    That's not true. The very social people I have met aren't consciously immoral, they just simply don't have a brain! They get themselves into so much trouble, and they have small passions, like sex and drinking. They have a strong group mentality and always have to be around someone, if you force them to be alone they go crazy... They're very all over the place, and not focused at all, don't really have clear goals or plans.
  • Bitter Crank
    8k
    Say you're naked with other men. Why is small talk needed?Agustino

    I don't think this is really very complicated.

    Men (or women, for that matter) who are comfortable in their own skin can be naked in semi-public situations (like locker rooms, nude beaches), and talking in a locker room isn't evidence of insecurity. But... a lot of men (sorry, don't have any stats for "a lot") are kind of touchy about their physical selves.

    It isn't that there is anything wrong with the bodies they are; they may have exemplary bodies: well proportioned, appropriately muscled, handsome face, clear skin, hairy or not as each prefers, etc. But, they just don't feel comfortable being naked and exposed to other people. Like it or not, some people are a bit neurotic. You may have encountered neurotic people at some point in your life.
  • Agustino
    11.3k
    I think that much rather than that, is that their minds are continuously focused on dirty intentions, and so they think everyone else is like that. Hence they seek to cover themselves (to protect themselves from people like them), etc. Folks are too immoral, they think all of us are also like that, and they don't respect certain places like saunas, locker rooms, and so forth - where people are meant to be naked, and there's meant to be no fucking sex or sexual activities going on.
  • intrapersona
    558
    That should read, "who has a tendency to make a distinction between 'deep thought' and 'shallow thought' (and especially who sees 'deep thought' as normative and who believes that they engage in 'deep thought')."

    Or in other words, it's instructive that you're automatically assuming that the distinction isn't nonsensical.

    I'm not criticizing "deep thinkers." I'm criticizing the distinction as well as the people who make it and who believe that they are "deep thinkers" and that that makes them superior.
    Terrapin Station

    So you are saying deep thought doesn't exist and there is essentially no difference in content between a childrens tv show and a university lecture... :O
  • intrapersona
    558
    Subjects aren't inherently deep but are considered as such by those participating in the conversation. If we look at society, philosophical ideas are considered less deep and of less import than Justin Bieber's latest tattoo. Claiming his tattoo is small talk is short hand for saying you disagree with society's purported priorities and attribution of values.

    To which the masses will say: who are you? What do we care? Whatever!

    Hence, this too is small talk.
    Benkei

    Granted subjects aren't inherently deep but how can you even know that since you are bound to subjectivity?

    You can't say "philosophical ideas are considered less deep and of less import than Justin Bieber's latest tattoo". Yes they considered by most to be less important but by definition they are less deep. It's like Terrapin above trying to claim it doesn't exist either.

    When a topic or concept reaches a sufficient level of complexity or technicality then it is considered deep.

    To argue that justin bieber's tattoo is not any more deep than quantum uncertainty is just ludicrous. All we have is subjectivity and our subjective definitions of deep/small talk is a definition. Saying it doesn't exist is like trying to say that the definition of hard work doesn't exist. Everyone knows it does!
  • intrapersona
    558
    I don't want to get too personal, but maybe this reflects more about you than the alleged excessively social people you have encountered. We who are socially dull witted may find that the socially adept run circles around us, which is likely to seem like negative behavior. And, of course, your observations are going to be true, at least some of the time--because some people are liars, thieves, knaves, and scoundrels, whether they are socially skilled or not.Bitter Crank

    Well it was coupled with the psychological evidence provided. You can't argue against facts bitter crank.

    There have been friendly people with humble personalities, no doubt. But for the most part I see their short comings in being a graceful person with a high regard for virtues. It is as if they are pretending to be someone and they put on a facade that includes an excess of compliments and pleasantries without actually ever being honest when it is needed. They remind me of psychopaths, faking emotions just so that they can boost their social esteem and ranking, and indeed there are scientific correlations to support my assumption there as provided.

    I don't find myself to be socially dull witted, I always make an effort to be friendly, reply with novel comments and try to find some rapport... but I watch very closely what the other person does and can see correlations within the traits of the overly social characters.

    I know what you are talking about though and is akin to how intelligent people can run circles around the stupid and seem like negative behaviour. As social intelligence is a form of intelligence. However I just don't think I am applying to that category as I have learnt how to be social and have a clear understanding of the signals to be correlated.
  • intrapersona
    558
    You'll need to live with them all the same and after you telling them to fuck them(selves) that will be harder. If you don't like how people think or about what they think, instead of dismissing them you could try engaging them in a way that will get them interested. Seems more productive to me."— Benkei

    You are right boss. It is a negative tendency that I have to disparage unintellectual people, which I should keep more in check. It just angers me, their self-righteousness, and the fact that they don't respect intelligence.

    As in if you really are superior, what's the need to show it and rub it in their faces? Certainly you only do that if somewhere deep inside you think that you should be superior and yet perceive yourself as inferior.
    Agustino

    It just angers me too, they think their self-righteousness is actually a doorway past intelligence, that they don't need it. In fact what ends up happening is that they become less virtuous and end up promoting vices as often with the growth of intelligence comes the growth of virtues.

    But even intelligent people have ego and everyone struggles not feel superior to people in majority of circumstances. I have often taken agustinos point and tried to play a game with them with my intelligence, ask them questions like an interrogator would in the courtroom and see if you can get them to either A) Directly express how much of a fool they are in their own words B) Show you something they know that you don't.

    When it stops becoming a game of one upmanship, there is potential for growth on both sides... curse natures design flaw of the ego.
  • intrapersona
    558
    Like it or not, some people are a bit neurotic. You may have encountered neurotic people at some point in your life.Bitter Crank

    eeerrr yeah... like 80% of the population! (especially women)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qAVPK-UNBzk
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FGExHJo5ag8
  • Terrapin Station
    10.5k
    So you are saying deep thought doesn't exist and there is essentially no difference in content between a childrens tv show and a university lecture...intrapersona

    The distinction is nonsensical in my view, yes. Just like attempted high art/low art etc. distinctions.
  • intrapersona
    558
    Great stuff! Very insightful descriptions of the many nuances of interpersonal communication. Several times while reading it i was nodding in agreement, having experienced similar situations. Thanks for taking the time to explore it, and hope that you can add even more. :)

    (The only thing that slightly befuddled me was format of the two sections taking the complete opposite viewpoint. Which is fine, better to give both sides of the story than one. But it took me a while to figure it out, despite the line separating the two sections. It might need an introduction, stating exactly what you are doing. And a conclusion might help to wrap it up. Because it is not entirely clear which side you agree with, or neither. Or both, depending on the circumstances. Any of which is fine. But making it extra clear might prevent misunderstanding, imho. Most interesting thoughts however!)
    0 thru 9

    Thanks for taking the time to read through it ;)

    I wanted to give both sides of the argument because truths sometimes isn't absolute and can be bipolar. I think most philosophy programs in universities also aim to give an unbiased education of what we know, at least good ones :)

    With that said, I am heavily in favor of the view that society places too much important on insignificant, superficial vanities that actually end up making peoples lives less valueable.

    Instead of teaching people to wonder and marvel at the world and promote virtues, we end up foaming at the mouth trying to prove to one another how normal and special we are by just regurgitating the same filth that is promoted via social media/reality tv etc.
  • intrapersona
    558
    The distinction is nonsensical in my view, yes. Just like attempts high art/low art etc. distinctions.Terrapin Station

    Right, gotta love when people state their opinions without providing any reasoning or logic behind it, especially twice or three times in a row. lol.

    So if complexity doesn't exist. The conjunctive word 'the' has the same level of complexity as the equation E=MC2 and there really is no difference between the most learned and advanced minds of our time and that of a down syndrome person who has half his brain missing?

    Make no mistake, this isn't a strawman. I am just using your argument "complexity or deepness doesn't exist" to go further and show how complexity doesn't exist ANYWHERE in nature.

    You are trying to assert that a rational classification is absurd. If you want to do that, why not just go ahead and say all rational classifications are absurd?
  • Terrapin Station
    10.5k
    Right, gotta love when people state their opinions without providing any reasoning or logic behind it, especially twice or three times in a row. lol.intrapersona

    You asked me a clarification question. I answered it. If you want to try to support that the distinction isn't nonsense, you're welcome to attempt an argument supporting it rather than simply asserting that it's a good distinction in a bunch of different words. Arguments aren't a factor of word count after all.

    So if complexity doesn't exist.intrapersona

    Are you implying by that question some connection between "complexity" and "depth"? What connection, and how are you defining "complexity"?
  • Bitter Crank
    8k
    You can't argue against facts bitter crank.intrapersona

    Of course I can argue against fact. With the election of Donald Trump, we have moved into the post factual era and truthiness is now old hat. A has been. A tired old hag. Get with the program, Intrapersona, reality is a crock. There are no facts, just opinions. And some opinions are more valuable than others, like yours, for instance. ;)
  • Gooseone
    107
    Personally I'm a bit annoyed with the degree of small talk I'm confronted with, small talk in this appears to consist of talking to gain a direct positive emotion, to contribute to some sort of group spirit and to vilify others with specific traits.

    I can see the social reasons underlying small talk yet that doesn't suffice to address the amount of it in my mind, I wouldn't easily blame individuals for their inclinations towards superficiality though.

    There's emotional inclination, if people are never challenged in their idea's certain emotions might come up if they're challenged and things might become awkward (Also, historically, being too open with critical thought in public might not have been very beneficial). Then there's the value judgements which can switch a lot throughout the day i.e: At home with family is what matters and that's where people become engaged with what they say, work is just to provide for the family and it's of no importance what is said there outside of work related stuff. There's the introvert vs extravert issue which might be at play at times and you have social upbringing and education.

    Then there's the overall western society where consumerism kinda depends on people giving in to "shallow" inclinations and is set up to cultivate this trait and which also contributes in another way; what does it buy people to put effort into thinking deeply about things and, if a large part of society doesn't do it, isn't it easier / more comfortable to just stay dumb /shallow?

    One thing which isn't mentioned in this topic so far and which is, to me, crucial in most conversations is humour. It can break the ice, show you to what degree people are able to put things into perspective and give an indication what's common for them and what's quite far out of the norm.

    Also, as Terrapin might be pointing out, if someone is talking about general relativity just for entertainment without any emotional inclination and without the aim of gaining any further understanding vs. someone who is actually distraught about Justin Biebers new haircut and is investigating all the gossip to gain an understanding why he decided to have a haircut, who is doing the small talk then?
  • Benkei
    2k
    Granted subjects aren't inherently deep but how can you even know that since you are bound to subjectivity?intrapersona

    That's your own answer there. If we're bound by subjectivity then there is no objective measure. By definition.

    What you can do is develop a persuasive definition of "deep" with some measurable aspects, like "being taught at an academic level" to come to some sort of categorisation. It will be an arbitrary category though and Beliebers will still think you're a boring douche and a snob to boot, having no clue why you're so shallow going on about the meaning of life all the time. Or ethics, God forbid!
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