The Power of the Cross
God and Humor

Brewing Culture

One of my favorite sites right now is Brewing Culture.  I recently met  Erik Lokkesmoe, who is the founder of this organization, at the IAM conference.  Check this out...

"THE DYING ART OF CONVERSATION: Conversation is one of those acts that require subtle forms of social imagination: an ability to listen and interpret and imagine, an attentiveness to someone whose perspective is always essentially different, a responsiveness that both makes oneself known and allows the other to feel known — or else does none of this, but just keeps up appearances. It may be, then, one of the most fundamental political and social acts, indispensable to negotiating allegiances, establishing common ground, clearing tangled paths. Conversation may reflect not just the state of our selves, but the state of society. O.K. But listen to "talk" radio, with its combative recruitment of allies; or "talk" shows in which guests are promoting themselves or their products and hosts are prepared with leading questions; or "talk" news shows in which conversation becomes a form of shouting. Look at our isolating iPods, at text messaging with its prepackaged formulas, or instant messaging with its iconic smiles, so necessary to make sure the telegraphic prose is not misunderstood. Cicero gave advice about conversation (It ought "to be gentle and without a trace of intransigence; it should also be witty"). Montaigne hailed its pleasures ("I find the practice of it the most delightful activity in our lives"). Henry Fielding praised it ("This grand Business of our Lives, the Foundation of every Thing, either useful or pleasant"). Adam Smith prescribed it (calling it one of "the most powerful remedies for restoring the mind to its tranquility"). Society depends on artifice. Conversation is an art.(NY Times)

Launcher: How does the state of our conversation reflect the state of our society, the state of our souls? Attentiveness is physical, as well as mental and emotional. What physical habits can foster conversation? e-mail sixposts@brewingculture.org to receive these posts on a weekly basis.

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