The word „conversation“ seems to be a relict of former times, with a nostalgic touch, the same as the two people on the black-and-white foto. However, conversation seems to become cool again, but as something special compared to online messages where emojis are replacing words.
There is interesting literature about this topic. „The Art of Conversation: A Giuded Tour of a Neglected Pleasure“ by Catherine Blyth or „Reclaiming Conversation – The Power of Talk in a Digital Age“ by Sherry Turkle.
But even better than reading about it, is to actually practice it. Why not participating in a Conversation Meal organised by the Oxford Muse Foundation. The Muse was established in 2001 on ideas developed by Theodore Zeldin and is registered as a charitable trust in the UK and as a non-profit foundation in the USA. The Muses of mythology were not teachers or lawmakers but catalysts who brought excitement and a divine spark into everyday lives, enabling people to see and to say what normally they dared not. The Oxford Muse Foundation itself holds Conversation Meals in a number of countries, oftentimes in partnership with different corporations.
Zeldin wrote the menu himself and does not post it publicly online, as the whole concept of Conversation Dinners is more than a game. The questions are thoughtfully ordered to cover topics that grow more abstract and profound as the menu progresses.
The starters offer, “How have your priorities changed over the years?”
Fish poses, “What have you rebelled against in the past and what are you rebelling against now?”
In Grills, “How have you made and lost friendships and what other kinds of friends would you like?”
Desserts consist of lighter finishing questions such as, “What do you think about your spending habits and what do you need that money cannot buy?”
The outcome of a Conversation Dinner will depend on the person but a certain result is to have gotten to know a stranger very well and have come to profound realizations about oneself too.
Definitely two good reasons to organise a conversation meal.