“He knew very well that the grat majority of human conversation is meaningless. A man can get through most of his days on stock answers to stock questions, he thought. Once he catches onto the game he can manage with an assortment of grunts. This would not be so if people listened to each other, but they don’t. They know that no one is going to say anything moving and important to them at that very moment. Anything important will be announced in the newspapers and reprinted for those who missed it. No one really wants to know how his neighbor is feeling, but he asks him anyway, because it is polite, and because he knows that his neighbor certainly will not tell him how he feels. What this woman and I say to each other is not important. It is the simple making of sounds which pleases us.”

~Peter S. Beagle, A Fine and Private Place 1960

I first blogged this quote back in 2002, in reference to blogging. It’s still very relevant, don’t you think?

(The photo is not directly related to the quote; it’s just one I haven’t posted before.)

3 Thoughts on “The Simple Making of Sounds”

  • I think in general it certainly will apply. Sometimes when a person asks me how I am, while we cross walking down the same hall in different directions, I test with various answers.

    – “Couldn’t be worse, thanks for asking”

    – “Oh you know, the regular, terrible”

    Stuff like that.

    They rarely even listen and keep walking, and almost NEVER answer when I ask how they are in return. It’s odd.

    But there are a few folks in my life that I really strive to listen to, and they strive to listen to me and care. Those same people tend to read my blog and either post or email/talk to me about it. That’s fine with me. Having a limited circle of people that are very close is more than rewarding enough.

    • You know, I thought I’d subscribed to your blog, but I guess not. The oversight has been corrected! If I don’t have them in my google reader, I never remember to visit other blogs…

      In reply to your comment, I think you’re right. I have seen blogs that generate 100s of comments per post (personal or art blogs, that is), but it’s all ego-stroking, not meaningful conversation. I’d rather have a half-dozen people I can really sit and talk with than scores who say hi and run on by.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.