TED Conversations

Thomas Hawkins

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When does a conversation become worth while?

I want to know when a conversation is worth while? Is every conversation worth having? Are we just venting or gaining something? Perhaps a little of both, but are they both just as important?


Closing Statement from Thomas Hawkins

It seems for the most part that the majority of people determine the worth of a conversation by satisfying selfish and/or mutual group needs. A follow up question would be, do we think about satisfying these needs before entering a conversation? I don’t think that we do on a social playing field, gossip, etc; therefore, it is fair to say that for the majority not all conversations are worth having. Worth while conversations are those where we are able satisfy/solve our needs/questions. Therefore, this must require some premeditative thought, to an extent, depending on severity and consciousness of the individual’s needs and desires of the future conversation.

Although, I’d like to propose and entertain the idea that "all" conversations are worth while regardless of what novel you have written in your conversational speech. The answer lies in the opportunity. This latest conversational masterpiece and/or self-published disaster came into existence through an opportunity to have a conversation. Rather than looking at the end product, maybe we should think about the worth in the opportunity of invention and discovery. I am not denying that some conversations are more worth while than others, some are mundane and draining, good and bad, but I’d like to throw a stick in the spokes and stop the bike of “reward thinking”. It is worth while to debate, question and be curious toward even the most “unworthy” topics of choice. We may not even satisfy our own needs, but be there for another to talk with. A shoulder to cry on, if you will.

Is it possible to find reward without having won a race? Yes...

ps. Just a little note of thanks. Thank you for all your comments, really interesting points of view. I also must say sorry for being on the "down low" as of late. Busy days. All the best

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    Sep 15 2012: In order for it to be worthwhile it has to be a conversation, by definition it has to be an exchange of ideas. There are a myriad of reasons that ideas are not exchanged and masquerade as a conversation or communication, for what ever reason the ideas are not exchanged qualifies it as something other than a conversation.

    A genuine conversation or communication is quite rare even here on TED. Mostly it is someone disseminating their ideas without regard to the the receiver of the communication. The reality is that most people do not really communicate with others and life which make them susceptible to manipulation.

    The sad thing is that this is mostly a self imposed sequestration by consideration.

    The essence of life is communication it is what allows one to learn, understand, enjoy, be happy, like, be motivated, survive, play, win, teach, motivate, and all the laudable things in life, not the least of which is to exchange.

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      Sep 15 2012: hello Pat.

      a very well put together reply. thank you. I have two questions.

      can I ask what do you mean by "the sad thing is that this is mostly a self imposed sequestration by consideration"?

      Also, are you proposing that a conversation is worth while if it meets its definition?

      I very much like the end of your reply. thanks again
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        Sep 15 2012: Re the 1st Q, I mean people refuse to communicate because of provincial thinking or other considerations, whom ever they refuse to communicate with they have in effect sequestered themselves away from those people. The middle east is an example of this.

        The corollary of this is that you have to choose who you communicate with clearly you have to control this.

        Re the 2nd Q, yes
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        Sep 17 2012: emotions are a part of the communication.

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