I find it odd that most people insist that they want peace and quiet, but they seem to prefer what I call “Artificial Noise”, such as a constant, blaring television or blocking out the world with an MP3 player and ear-buds for hours at a time.
Those who prefer to be glued to the television may think it weird that some people talk a lot and like a good old-fashioned conversation and us blabber-mouths may find it weird that they don’t enjoy human conversation, but prefer to live vicariously by staring at or listening to an electronic device. These are the same people who would just about die during a power failure while I’d simply light a candle or oil lamp and lose myself in a good book or a lively, intelligent conversation about metaphysics, astronomy, philosophy, string theory, black holes or the last time Paris Hilton or Lindsay Lohan got arrested.
I’ve begun to think that conversation or “Human Noise”, as I call it, was a lost art-form and was gone like letter writing. Why pick up a writing implement and pay for stationary, when one can send an e-mail or text at the speed of light? Maybe, because of technology (e-mail, texting, etc.), we are devolving into a non-verbal species who may soon be reduced to primate-like grunts and crude hand gestures. Maybe we’ll soon be able to communicate telepathically, by osmosis or live in symbiotic silence like sea anemones.
I can’t remember the last time I had a really good conversation that was deep, meaningful, entertaining and I walked away feeling excited and enlightened. I believe it was back in the mid-eighties and we were probably all stoned on something or other.
People now have too many gadgets that allow them to avoid human contact and yet they believe that they are social entities. We can text, chat and e-mail, so there is no need to write or speak.
I remember as a child, every Sunday afternoon a bunch of adults would converge on my uncle’s porch for a beer and deep conversations and I found it fascinating. I would sit in a corner and listen and hope they would not send me off to play with the other children when they spoke of things that were not for the ears of children and that happened often. Sometimes they reminisced or told jokes. Sometimes they gossiped or talked about work, social ills, Hollywood stars or the latest news headlines. Sometimes the conversations were totally silly and nonsensical and they would just laugh. I loved the human exchange and the beautiful simplicity of humans discovering the entertainment value of other humans, while learning from either other and enjoying each other’s company. At times, they even got into heated debates about racism, politics and religion and I’d sit there watching and listening and looking forward to a time when I’d be an adult and have such remarkable group conversations, but unfortunately by the time I was that age, the internet and cellular technology had all but rendered the world mute.