Today I Learn… I make a point of learning something new everyday. This is what I learn each day

1, Aug 12, 2008

Conversation– an intellectual sporting event

Filed under: Reading — admin @ 10:33 am

To my son. You told me with excitement about your 2-hour dinner meeting with an old friend of ours. You kept saying it was interesting. I fully understand why you were excited over it. You were actually excited over the reward of a good conversation with a person of ideas and good taste. In fact, I had anticipated it to be interesting and intellectually challenging meeting someone with a philosophy major from Harvard and an M.A. in theology from another Chicago Univ, then a law degree from Harvard.

Recently I was reading a book entitled Conversation: A History of a Declining Art by Stephen Miller, 2006. It was an interesting read. I hope you read it someday. Here’s something to share with you.

Michel de Montaigne, a 16th-C French lover of conversation, said, “To my taste, the most fruitful and natural exercise of our mind is conversation. I find the practice of it the most delightful activity in our lives.” I am not sure he would say the same if he had TV and computer back then.

On reading, he said “studying books has a languid feeble motion, whereas conversation provides teaching and exercise all at once.” He thought of conversation as an intellectual sporting event that will improve people’s mind.  Undoubtedly, elementary school teachers would stand up against talking more than reading for their students. For they surely wanted only their voice to be heard in class. 

It was such a fun to read and carry on a mental conversation with the author. I will post more on this later.

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