The Culminating Column, Emphasizing Dialogue

But a short time ago, I encountered a fair albeit short-sighted critique offering the idea that my column and opinion pieces have often drifted away from the needs of a common man and into lofty and extraneous presentation. And, further, that my rhetorical affluence consistently conceals the meanings of my aforementioned pieces. The spirit and epoch of my column has been such: to inspire dialogue and further an appreciation of the beautiful and sublime, of the undervalued and overlooked aspects of life. Thus, it is appropriate that my final piece underscores a commonality of all the others: what they all hint at but only the summation reveals.

The crux of it all lies within the importance of dialogue, of conversation, of thought, of reflection! Moreover, into the beautiful and sublime that results from the beneficiality of said verbal art forms. When dialogue and conversation are a common desideratum, formative experiences are then commonplace—university and student alike reap the rewards. Alas, the finality of a column naturally will labor over the why, and why the themes and narratives are of such importance.

As Albert Camus states, “You cannot create experience, you must undergo it.” That is to say, the well-ordered externalities of dialogue lie only within the experience of said dialogue and cannot be brought to fruition without it. Certainly then, it must be said that dialogue is an encapsulating term for the conversations we partake in with others, with the ancients, and with ourselves in reflection. Dialogue yields to us, who we are to become, via these interactions. When we are eager and willing to seek out that which we have not heard, we discern that which we wish to hear and that which we don’t. It is through conversation and reflection that our convictions and beliefs are recognized and formed. Thus, it is my hope that all my columns, both those previous and this included, held a flame to the latent tinder of words yet to be spoken within all who read them. Often it is only within vexing and conjectual dialogue that any concrete discernment is found and convictions are built.

Dialogue further surrenders the reality of relationships to us, revealing which sprouts will blossom and which will capitulate to the baneful reality of the world. In a world where fornication is casual yet conversing over a meal equates to a marriage proposal, dialogue often becomes a secondary factor in friendships and relationships alike. It is dialogue alone that scrutinizes compatibility, yet is often employed only as a surface level means to a transient end—that is to say, getting to know each other has become a secondary facet of interaction. It is this temporal and futile reality of dialogue that I realized a yearning for more was not an overused banality, but an actuality worth pursuing. Invoking the witty Yogi Berra, I often felt, “It was impossible to get a conversation going, everybody was talking too much.” That is to say, often it is difficult to draw the substantial from the muck of illusory.

Finally, as it is dialogue that sifts from the paramount and insignificant, it is through conversation and reflection that we find an appreciation for that which is beautiful and sublime. That, in life, which does not fade in the face of time, that which has permanently altered our path and formation towards what is good, that is what we must seek out. This appreciation derives from a newfound realization of what is important, a realization that finds its origins in dialogue with others and with ourselves. In the bonds formed and interests discovered through dialogue, we begin to revel in a newfound appreciation of all that is around us. Conversations awaken us to maxims and truths that we took for granted, and the real world applications of witticism we long forgot. Reflections, likewise, awaken the latent parts of ourselves, and dialogue within yourself—discernment—reveals to us our dreams and goals alike.

“Much unhappiness has come into the world because of bewilderment and things left unsaid.” The latter half of this Dostoevsky quip underlines all that I have attempted to convey. Dialogue, conversation, and reflection are and will continue to be vital aspects of human formation. Certainly, it is my hope that this column has continuously sparked all three—and if not all, at least one. It was my aim to alter the culture around me, to invite all into an atmosphere of deeper and authentic pursuit of more. And the only veritable outlet for such expressions is exposure to dialogue in all forms and capacities. That is the summation of the spirit of my column, and I certainly hope that this particular one only serves as a reinforcement to that which has already been said.

Featured Graphic by Nicole Chan / Graphics Editor