Life

Samuel Johnson’s Timeless Wisdom on the Art of Conversation and Knowledge Acquisition

   We talk to people non-stop every day: we chat with other parents when we pick up and drop off our children, with clients, bosses and colleagues at work, with our children and spouses at home, and with our parents when we have time. We’re all master conversationalists – a lot of the time is cliche, polite, and most of the time beating around the bush, probing, dodging. An article in The New Yorker said: “Our society is full of bad talk these days, in part because it provides more interesting content on the Internet and on TV. Talk is not chat (too noncommittal), not debate (too much) arguing), not a symposium (too academic)…we talk to each other not only to discover ideas, but also to share grievances and joys, compare experiences, express sympathy or detect nonsense.” Dr. Johnson, an 18th-century British literati, liked to
   talk , Good at talking, and have done some analysis of the conversation. He said that if you want to master the art of conversation, you must first have knowledge and conversation materials; second, you must have the ability to control language; third, you must have imagination, and put things in a state that ordinary people cannot see; fourth, you must be calm Self-confidence, there must be an indomitable determination. Among the four, the second and third may be more difficult. Everyone has something to talk about, and there are many people who talk non-stop, but the talk is so intricate and penetrating that the listener is elated and convinced. Such a person It’s a life coach. Johnson said: “The most pleasing pleasure to a rational being is the exchange of ideas in a free and easy conversation, where experience removes doubt, kindness removes competition, and one can speak freely as long as no offense is caused. , others listen only for pleasure.” He quoted Bacon as saying: “Reading makes a man full, conversation makes a man quick, and writing makes a man precise.”
   Johnson not only understands literature and politics, but also understands education and life. Having dinner at Sir Reynolds’ house, Johnson talked about the quality of various wines. He said that Bordeaux red wine is too weak, “A person will not be drunk even if he is drowned in it. Bordeaux is for children. Port wine It is only for adults, but if you want to be a hero, you have to drink brandy. The wine in Florence is the worst, it can only satisfy the eyes, but not the taste, neither interesting nor refreshing.”
   Johnson also said that he understands food and that he could write a cookbook. “If you figure out the nature of the ingredients, you can still make good dishes with few tricks. I will tell you what is the best fresh meat, what is the best beef, what is the best piece of meat, how to choose chicken, each The season for growing vegetables.” Someone said that Mrs. Glass’s “Culinary Art” was already very good, and he said that he read it and found that saltpeter and Prunella salt were described as different substances, which was obviously written sloppily .
   How can a person who has no knowledge and no imagination talk to others? John came up with an idea: There is no better way to talk than to be popular with everyone. “Almost everyone loves to listen to contemporary history, because almost everyone has some kind of real or imagined relationship with a famous person, and there is a desire to praise or disparage the name that is getting more and more famous. Vanity and curiosity We often work together.” Today, it means that you can chat with people about online shopping, video programs, and reading.
   Boswell said that Johnson’s talks were more valuable than his writings, but Johnson disagreed with this point of view. He said that one should not try to gain enough knowledge from speeches. “The foundation of knowledge must be laid by reading. Great principles must also come from books. A system can never be obtained in speech. Discourse on a problem must be gathered from a hundred people. What one person gets in this way is many parts of a truth, These parts are thousands of miles away from each other, so he will never see the whole picture.” Listening to one sentence here and one sentence to another is worse than reading five books in a certain field.

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