Conversation Economies and Vanity Traps.

Life becomes easier when you accept that noone actually cares what you have to say. 

Preface: I’m not saying any of this to be a party pooper (also, I’m rambling)

It’s true that most people need a distraction, and distractions just so happen to be plentiful on the internet (our blogs included). Distractions often help people cope with the looming existential dread.

Perhaps “people not caring about what you have to say” isn’t the most apt description for what I’m trying to say here. I believe every conversation is a negotiation regardless of the setting. Some people may care — but not necessarily for the reasons you think. 

There are resources being bartered in relationships and during conversations. Time just happens to be one of those resources that I think many people can agree on.

But ofcourse, Time is simply the most noticeable; there are other resources too.

Two lovers telling each other lovey dovey stuff under a palm tree is an exchange of resources (emotional or physical). One or the other needs to feel safe and secure, the other re-assures — even on a bad day.

If I attend a party (dear god, I hope I never have to) It’s in the interest of maintaining healthy relations with the host. And if it’s not that, I’m attending because I’m an extrovert and I like being surrounded by people. I mean, sure, I probaby care about the friend having the party. But either way, I’m investing myself and there are unforeseen returns I may be subconsciously expecting without even realizing. Maybe I want them at my future party (please don’t come) or maybe it means a lot to them to see me at their party. And maybe they have resources are super funny and I don’t want to lose those resources them as a friend. So I attend because it’ll be in my best interest to show that I care. So I invest I attend. After weighing the pros and cons of going or not going.

I mean, we keep in touch with people we like right? Because having them in our lives adds something “positive”.

(When I say “we” I’m referring to normal people that do these things. I’m personally beyond saving at this point)

We invest time and effort into saying “hi” here and there to keep those bonds strong. Parallels can be pulled from how we address our business contacts. You can forward the same Merry Christmas message to all the clients on your mailing list and edit those messages to look like they were uniquely tailored for them (but they don’t need to know that). Point is, I won’t be doing that because I care about my clients’ feelings and aspirations; but because I want to continue doing business. Which is easier when I continue to talk i.e invest.

Or maybe — or maybe I’m just a psycho looking for patterns and systems even where there are none. Trust me, the possibility hasn’t escaped me. But luckily this isn’t about me.

To add a layer to my previous statement of how “noone cares what you have to say”. I would say noone cares “unless you’re important” or “unless you’re their centerpiece”.

You need to be important for anyone to actually listen to what you’re saying. Definitions of being important are flimsy — but I say you just need to matter to someone, or to people.  And you do that by providing a resource — the corporate world calls it a service. I just call it “the same thing”

Take a buddy of mine for example. He loooves Jordan Peterson’s lectures, quotes them and even puts the man’s published works on his statuses encouraging people to purchase. Because Jordan Peterson changed his life.  I don’t doubt Jordan Peterson’s overall intelligence, and I do see how he could have sparked my buddy’s neural blindspots. 

And because of that, Jordan Peterson, a well known clinical psychologist, is “important” to my buddy. And everything else that Jordan Peterson has to say is a quotable beyond critiquing (for some reason). Odd behaviour coming from one of the most unnecessarily critical people I’ve ever known. But JP is now important, so in many ways he has become exalted — sovereign. 

Point to what I’m saying is, you need to be important if you care about people listening to what you have to say. Until then, you’re in a pitch meeting. You are still trying to convince people that what you say is “worth” listening to. No matter how insightful it is.

If you ask me, I think everyone is worth listening to — but try saying that idealistic mumbo jumbo to your average internet surfer. Your average Tinder swiper. Trick statement: don’t try, you’ll just waste your time, most won’t hear you until Rihanna says it lol pardon my hyperbole.

You need to realize that to become important is to actively participate in our reality with the intent to engage. And to engage, you need to continue to negotiate. I won’t be so clinical as to give a step by step of what to do, but I know you need to give people (or a particular group) what they want. Often times by saying things they feel but are afraid to say openly. 

My favourite (and by that I mean worst) is the more sinister kind of negotiation — selective populism — encouraging your audience to form connections from seemingly separate concepts with the intent to have them under your banner. i.e. us — Them — This view — Their view — We know — They don’t — an off-brand neo-Fascist approach to handling conversations and communities. 

But with all this rambling I fear I may have given you a glimpse of future content I intend to release here. Much like the Ethnocentrism and Gigachad Vortex pieces I wrote, I intend on writing a piece titled “Starting A Cult Is Easy” with the satirical bent of that one piece I wrote called “The Perfect Way to Make Friends on WordPress” . Let’s see where it goes yeah?

But seriously. I should get back to poetry for a bit. It’s been a while.

 

– O.D. ©2021

 

Art by: tatasz

 

10 Replies to “Conversation Economies and Vanity Traps.”

  1. Your first sentence had me. It’s easier to come up with better posts when I accept that I’m nobody special, and that I better make people’s time worth it if I want to say something. Anyway, thanks for this post!

  2. There’s nothing like a big fat slice of humble pie to start my reading day out with.

    On the other hand, I was thinking, as I sat here after reading this, somewhat unrelated, but I really appreciate how you write. Like, your style, I mean. Starting off with a statement/premise that could easily be taken out of context… but one keeps reading and you build upon it and add dimension in such a way… it’s very engaging and makes one (or at least me) think. I like that. So now I have some thinking to do and no talking. Thanks for this one, OD.

  3. My husband frequently says I have not heard what he was saying. Not listening is what he means and sometimes he’s right….I am not.My Mother always used to say :”None so deaf as those who won’t hear.” I know that is not quite what you are saying in this post but it is where my head went with it.

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