We Can’t Have Real Conversations Today

Say Anything

It’s a Safe Place (Vegas Rules)

When I am allowed to ask questions in a safe space or place, there is a risk. If I do ask a question and the question reveals a possible political or social position all of the weight of the assumptions around that position automatically apply. This means as an example, if I ask a question about transgender, I am automatically presumed against it. The result is a heated discussion, anger, frustration and misinterpretation of the intention. There is no such thing as a provocative question without consequence.

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The build up of frustration pours out in social media, writing, music and even now in common natural interactions. I remember when holiday dinner conversations turned into fun events of disagreement and frustration but it seems to me that every day all day we are yelling at each other across the dinner table (not fun).

Nothing is Fair

The world is

Not fair

The inequity of everything is overwhelming. There are brand new terms and conditions being written in every camp of every issue. There isn’t any tolerance or patience for understanding. People take up their verbal arms on issues immediately and they want their justice. It is very difficult to have a conversation.

My words and language are shut down because I never had the right to speak them. I can’t sing lyrics on the radio in my car because I am not entitled to some of the words either. There is a secret list of words that people can and can’t use. While many of us know the more popular words, there are some that would be offensive that you may simply be unaware of until you use them.

For Words

Look Down if You Use the Wrong Ones

My children ask me about fairness and I don’t have any other answer other than “the world is not fair.” If you asked a gazelle or zebra if they thought the world was fair, they might point you into the direction of the lion. If you asked the lion if the world was fair, they might point you into the direction of the hunter.

Here and There

There is enough pain to go around for everyone. I don’t have the statistics on inequity for all of history. I don’t have the list of all the wrongs for all people but I believe that every group of people historically both inside the group and as a group have had issues and challenges. I believe that there are systemic issues that go beyond my comprehension under many conditions in many countries. I don’t think it is a problem that will be solved in my lifetime. It isn’t that I don’t care about it but more that I believe we have more pressing problems that we need to address together so that we do not go extinct.

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We can’t have conversations today because if we share an opposing view or opinion, the passions of the people overtake the logical aspect of the discussion. There is an underlying hum of anger noise living in the bodies of many people today. It is built up frustration and bottled exasperation. Many people keep their mouths shut and even when they go home, if their children or partners have a social or political position it can be an issue. They find themselves without a place to go. If they do find a safe place, it becomes a temporary relief or fertile ground for the next argument.

@Work, Online and Public

There is no such thing as a safe place online. Our children will be held accountable for every post and every word indefinitely as long as a record exists. As a society, we either need to grow in our tolerance for things people say or we need to not say anything. There are cameras and microphones in every aspect of our lives. Most people today have an active live microphone within speaking distance at all times. If someone recorded you saying something in frustration, anger or some other reason, you will be held accountable. Words are weaponized. Children are living in fear of saying the wrong things. Children are killing themselves or harming themselves over words. It isn’t limited to children but this generation is really impacted. I can see it in my youngest son on a daily basis. All of the unspoken rules. All of the offenses or offensive things that can be said and having to maintain some semblance of self awareness.

I tell my boys not to put information online unless they have thought about what the consequences of a post would mean.

I ask this question to you. If we can’t communicate anymore, how will we start to solve difficult problems and challenges?

When and where can we have conversations today?

Will there be a new kind of Speak Easy where we can Speak Easily?

What do you think?