“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”
I used to laugh at a quote that I came across several times in my youth. “The three things that should never be mentioned in polite company are sex, religion and politics” What I found funny about the quote and still do is that most conversations outside of those three, I find hopelessly banal. Perhaps it was the way I was raised. My mother was a very intelligent opinionated woman who was far from shy at expressing herself. Her sense of humour was quite bawdy and a lot of my communication skills come from her.
I can’t help it. I find sex religion and politics all to be fascinating subjects. What can be more interesting than the ways in which we interrelate as people, as cultures and as spiritual beings each with their own outlook on the universe. Yet without Sex, Religion and Politics there would arguable be no war. I can’t think of any conflict that is not a result in some way of at least one of the three. Yet what else is there to talk about? Health at its best is a subject that hopefully becomes exhausted quickly otherwise degenerates into rather lurid and tedious descriptions of bodily functions and operations. The weather also gets very tired very quickly. I don’t know that its possible to discuss one’s job without talking about how people relate to each other which quickly becomes politics on a smaller scale. There is a reason why these three and any other topic except S, R or P is known as small talk. What ever happened to larger talk. You know the questions that we all carry around inside of us that when shared offer us insight into ourselves and the world around us.
Are there subjects that should never be brought up? Is there any topic that is too socially unacceptable that two adults cannot and should not address it? I have always believed the answer to this question is no but increasingly I find that for many this is not the case. Mention certain subjects and large segments of the population will either turn and attack or lose all cognitive function as their limbic buttons are pressed and they go into a mindless rage. Ask someone to explain their beliefs and why they believe the world works in certain ways and they often quickly become defensive. Express a different world view then theirs and immediately too many scramble to justify why their belief or practices or culture is better. Nothing is wrong with that except that all too often people tend to take a challenge to their beliefs or practices as a personal attack rather than an honest inquiry to understand and integrate their thoughts with our own. How can we arrive at truth and understanding if we are unwilling to accept our differences. It is puzzling. Luckily not everyone is quite so insular.
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