Know where you are at all times
Some discussions can be captivating, others, on the contrary, can be harrowing. How do you explain these differences? Is there a way to “elevate” a conversation?
There seem to be four levels of discussion.
Let’s see what they are.
Talking about people:
Most often, when we talk about someone, it’s to criticize them. Unfortunately, it is rare enough for people to get together to praise a person’s qualities. Thus, the lowest level of a conversation is the one that relates to people, since it is above all the attraction or repulsion that is expressed. This is the opinion that is formulated on criteria that are most often purely subjective.
Talking about events:
The second level is about current events, because it’s the emotional side of the subject. There is no real detachment and analysis. We remain at a rather intermediate level in the discussion. Images can take over our ability to reason calmly and wisely.
Talking about ideologies:
At this level, we’re only at the level of belief. That is why the argument that is created around an ideology is only there to justify a decision or a personal interest. Ideological debates, whether political or religious, can be intellectually interesting, but we must not forget that most often they lead nowhere because each debater remains anchored on his or her initial ideological position.
Talking about concepts:
The only discussion that can “elevate” is one that is devoid of any value judgment, bias, attraction or repulsion. To do this, one must have an approach that is the most rational, the most idealistic, the most conceptual.
The approach is cold but it is above all the logical and reasoned argument that is expressed. You don’t express an opinion, you develop a reasoning. This is why a more objective report can be made by giving priority to ideas.
Of course you can use the “lower” stages of the discussion to illustrate a concept, this is called storytelling. This will be even more effective because you can communicate on a more emotional level with your audience. The problem is not to get stuck at low levels of discussion. Thus, it is appropriate to observe oneself to realize how much time one has spent on this or that level of discussion in order to evaluate its intellectual interest.