Thursday, April 15, 2010

I'm one. You?

You Made it!

Kindly click the friendly photos
"We are here to help each other get through this thing,
whatever it is."

Kurt Vonnegut

"The unexamined life
is not worth living."


"Imagination was given to man
to compensate him for what he isn't,

and a sense of humour
to console him for what he is."

Sir Francis Bacon



My name is Cloudia,
and I am a blog addict.

I should be writing,
or cleaning,
or meditating,
or walking along Waikiki beach.

But here am I:
hunched over the keyboard.
"Just one more blog!"

A study by Matthias Mehl, a University of Arizona psychologist,
recently published in Psychological Science,
offers hard evidence that those who spend more of their day in
meaningful and substantive conversation are happier than folks who mostly engage in small talk.

Dr. Mehl theorizes two reasons:

"By engaging in meaningful conversations, we manage to impose meaning on an otherwise pretty chaotic world. And interpersonally, as you find this meaning, you bond with your interactive partner, and we know that interpersonal connection and integration is a core fundamental foundation of happiness."

Or as I might say:
I feel better when the world around me seems to make sense,
and I feel best of all when you & I discover and share that meaning together.

Now don't get me wrong.
There is an important place in our lives for what I call
"grooming language."
Those gentling and (meaning-wise) unimportant sounds we make
as we comfort and bond, together,
like the grooming that our evolutionary cousins engage in
when the ticks are all gone, but they continue to search their companion's fur
for non-existent lice.

The unhappiest subjects in the study (by several measures including self-report)
spent almost a third of their conversation (28.3%) in small talk.
Sad to think, of all the inarticulate, unexpressed need & longing
that hangs in the air of many conversations.

How can the inarticulate bridge the
gulf that makes islands of us all?

The good investigator himself claims no "cause & effect" between the depth of conversation and the happiness of the conversors,
though he plans to study whether we can make ourselves into happier people
by engaging in more substantive conversations.

"Take two good conversations a day, and see me in a week."

Perhaps those who are more temperamentally grounded in exploration, inquiry, and interpersonal communication are also just naturally the happiest.

And how can you teach this to the naturally incurious?

My own undergraduate degree is in Psychology, so I appreciate the spirit of inquiry, and devotion to the scientific method of investigation,
that guides the profession.
But I always wondered where the questions,
the all important Hypothesis,
come from.
The germ of a theory that some intrigued investigator will build a valid study around, "Where does that come from?" I asked my professors.
"No one really knows," was all they could tell me.

"...this has always intrigued me." Dr. Mehl told a reporter.

Me too.

I always longed to have meaningful conversations with my parents.
Now that Dad is gone, I guess that I'm partly mourning the conversations
we never had and never will.

But you & I
we have found each other.

Day after day, we share the dear minutiae of our lives, the changing seasons,
the morphing circumstances of who we are.

We share something special
here on the World Wide Web of Connections.

Thanks for holding up your end of the conversation.
I will always try to live up to mine.

Warmly, cloudia