Humans Are Conversational


Humans delight in discourse; we derive immense pleasure from the particular sounds of others. As each word reverberates through our eardrums, a sense of familiarity and security sweeps broadly overtop our being. Like a young child who frolics merrily through fields of blossomed daisies, conversation is a means by which we obviate the vicissitudes of life and indulge our inner sense of play.

As with play, human conversation is carried out in numerous fashions. We may speak with one another at work, we may speak with one another at social events, or we may speak with one another privately in our personal quarters. And as a result, much like the diversity found on a grand bookshelf, that wooden home of prolific authors, we have a multitude of conversational styles.

Upon an early morning rise, we may make a late morning run to work. Herein can be found unique conversations. The power dynamics between superiors and subordinates can bring egg-shell interactions, wherein which the subordinate forcefully entertains a loquacious and authoritarian superior by being passive and phlegmatic; to nod with a false sentiment of enthusiasm upon each declaration, the subordinate must. In contrast, the interactions between mutual powers within the workplace have qualities of light-heartedness and equanimity; they have less tension and appeasement, as neither party yearns to impress upon the other a false sense of liking. Professional conversations are rather varied.

But even more varied than work place conversations are conversations of culture; the conversations wherein which an athlete interlocks socially with a computer scientist, for instance. Culturally bound conversations come in two fashions, and both have distinct problems and qualities.

The first style of conversation found in cultural settings are when two sub-cultures interact, like a gothic subculture and an academic subculture. Because both parties are human, and thus dislike awkward interactions, they will speak on whatever they can conjure up: grasp at straws. In example, the academic can utilize sociology to discuss the categories of gothic culture, and the goth can rely on the first-person semantics of lived experience to inform more thoroughly the rigid and abstract academic. But the two shall nevertheless endure a sensation of nervousness throughout.

The second conversation style found in cultural settings takes place between two members of the same culture; for example, when two fans of a given band discuss their favourite members. These conversations are bewildering and esoteric to outsiders, seldom can grasp their idiosyncrasies without the cultural context the speakers. Put otherwise, when speakers of a common background speak to one another, it is like two wizards speaking in a magical language.

In similar fashion, the conversations of our personal life can likewise be esoteric and bewildering for an outsider; the gossip that floats maliciously around our social circles, the inside jokes that ring laughter throughout the halls, or the events we speak so fondly of in times of reminiscence can confused greatly an outside observer. It is as though new-comers to our social circles must be trained in cryptography and number theory as a prerequisite; otherwise, they shall feel excluded.

Nevertheless, humans are clearly so conversationalists; we root entirely our lives in the delights of social interaction that involves various acts of speech. Within seconds of bearing sight onto another, whether verbally or not, we are engaged in a conversation with them. The first person to look away, the first to look the other directly in the eye, or the first to leave the others presence is speaking clearly to the other; humans are inherently conversational, whether we so desire to be or not.


Ideasinhat is a business development analyst and longtime reader of academic literature. He writes books and essays on science and philosophy, and posts them to this website. The essays, as with the books, cover topics from psychology, philosophy, and cognitive science to economics, politics, and law.

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