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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 15 2012: Guess there's always informal chit-chat when you first meet somebody, since neither of you has a grasp how much you might appreciate an intellectual conversation...
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      Sep 15 2012: Good point to reinforce Hugo! I also believe, as others have mentioned on this thread, that when we first interact with someone, there may be informal chit-chat as we get to know each other. The conversation will, or will not evolve as we decide who we want to interact with at any given time.

      You have shown us here on TED that you are knowledgeable, insightful, curious, eager to learn and teach. You have built a foundation for more intellectual conversation, and in my humble perception, that is exactly how we engage each other in conversation.
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        Sep 15 2012: Thank you Colleen! I really appreciate your compliments.

        Yes, like you said, the conversation may evolve or may not. From my high school experience, when I first talked to someone, I will have at least a grasp about how he will think of an intellectual conversation, because you know for some people, they dislike participating in an intellectual conversation. For instance, when I say something, say, nerdy and intellectual, he be like:" What? Speak English, Hugo." But I also have a friend who I love to talk to him about politics, we always spark great debate together.

        While on platforms like TED, I'm inclined to say we usually just go directly to intellectual conversations since some assumptions are rightfully made: pretty sure jocks, hippies, rebels wouldn't even peek up at this website lol.
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          Sep 15 2012: I appreciate YOU Hugo! I LOVE to see all the young people (our future) here on TED, who are so insightful, interested and interesting, as you are. We can learn a LOT from you:>)

          I think that valuable conversation can include playfullness AND serious intellectual discussion/exploration. Our comfort level is important don't you think? I feel that when I'm comfortable with someone, I'm much more willing to share information and truly "engage" in conversation.

          I agree that on TED, people often assume that we are here to share information in a respecful way, and that is really fun. I think we have some "rebels" here too:>)

          And "hippies"? I didn't even know that word was still used! I was a "hippy" in the 60s......that's 1960, for those of you who cannot remember...LOL:>) Flowers in the hair, playing the guitar and singing peace songs.....another lifetime....equally as serious and playful:>)
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        Sep 15 2012: Lol I'm flattered :) You know I first came to TED to watch those videos to improve my listening skills... but obviously I've changed my expectations here.

        You are right that our comfort level is very important. When I don't feel like talking too much(meaning I don't feel much comfortable around), I will just be a introvert. But when I do, I can be a noisy one...

        Haha I guess I wanted to say like "extreme nonconformists" or "radicals"? That's an interesting thing to know that you were a "hippy" in 60s lol. I wish I'd had a chance to remember it... it looked quite fun in those clips I've seen.
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          Sep 15 2012: In my perception, listening is a very important part of conversations Hugo, and you do it well....both listening AND communicating your thoughts, feelings, ideas, opinions and beliefs.

          Don't EVER accept someone telling you that you are not knowledgeable because you are young.....and s/he is more knowledgeable because s/he is older. That is simply NOT true, nor is it a way to genuinely connect with conversation.

          Those were the days my friend! The hippy days were indeed fun and challenging....war protests and things like that. Life changes....sometimes.....sometimes not so much.....we still have wars unfortunately....when will we ever learn?
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        Sep 16 2012: Haha thank you Colleen.

        My dad tells me all the time that I'm not that knowledgeable because of my lack of experiences and I still need to go through a lot of things. From within I don't want to accept that but I try my best to convince myself that he has a great point so I can actually learn more:) I used to be all cavalier like a typical teenager but now I feel like I've grown a lot:)

        As always it's really nice talking with you!
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          Sep 16 2012: It's always nice talking with you too Hugo:>)

          In general, the more life experiences we have, the more we have an opportunity to learn, grow and evolve as humans. To do that, we need to be open to possibilities, which you seem to be. I'm looking forward to more insightful conversations with you...carry on my friend:>)

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