TED Conversations

Jake Maddox

Field Service Engineer,

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Do you find it difficult to engage in intellectual conversations with people in general?

It happens to me all the time. My wife encourages me to have dinner with her friend and her friend's husband. "It's the opportunity to socialize and meet new interesting people!", she proclaims. And yet the same boring conversations unfold. The guy rambles on about how many yards this guy ran, and how many interceptions this guy threw, and did you see how many spiders that guy ate on Fear Factor, etc, etc. I ask something like, "Hey, did you see that they possibly discovered the Higgs Boson at the LHC?" And the guy looks at me like I'm from Mars, "The LH what?". Then my wife makes a comment like I'm a nerd then everyone laughs. I'm far from a social misfit or hobbit, I just prefer to discuss things that stimulate me intellectually. I hope I don't offend anyone for saying so, but most of the time I feel like I'm surrounded by people that are intellectually challenged, to put it kindly. And maybe that's just it, if you consider that the average intellectual quotient is around 100. They're easily entertained and amuzed to watch television shows cataloging the "real world" of college kids living in a house together, arguing over who got the most trashed the night before at the club.

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  • Sep 14 2012: I do have those thoughts too, but I also find it hard to engage in such conversations myself, and prefer to do so in writing, such as on the internet, as I am doing right now.

    In a conversation, a spontaneous reply is expected, and on top of that, there may be a lack of knowledge about the subject. When you reply in writing, you have more time to think about your response, to compose your reply, and to do some background research if needed. I know what the Higgs Boson is in general, but I do not not the specific details, which might have made it hard to continue a conversation.

    Instead, perhaps we could take it upon ourself to help get the conversation rolling. In the example you gave, perhaps you could have gave them a little more information, explaining in simple terms what that meant, and how it affects us and our understanding of our surroundings.

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