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We Are Too Afraid To Talk

by - 03 January

The Oxford scholar and thinker Theodore Zeldin on the art of conversation. (Part 2 of my interview with him) 

Did we forget how to talk and to listen?
Not forget because we never knew how to do it. In the past people used to try to persuade other people to be of the same opinion, to order other people, to make people obey. And you had to be very careful what you said to people who had power because they could then cause you trouble. Therefore we did not talk too much, we were afraid to talk and we're still very afraid to talk in many places. And that is why I'm saying that the people who say that we have lost the art of conversation, don't know what the conversation in the past was like. Because it was showmanship and so on.
We have to invent a new conversation and that is meaning that we move from the public sphere to the private sphere. In the private sphere is the only place where you can be less afraid that what you say will be used against you. In private life that one can make interactions and relationships. And what matters most to people today is their personal relationships, their family and their friends. And that is how you reconstruct society by one-to-one, by small nano-particles.
Read the whole interview with him here:

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