Active and passive conversation

Most of us like some form of conversation in our life. I’ve long held that to make yourself more interesting (and more creative) you should (among other things) read books.

Not watch movies, TV, or YouTube. Reading is a type of active conversation.

Having good “intelligent” discussion (where we talk about ideas, not other people or other things that happened), this is also a form of the active conversation.

The difference between these active forms and a passive form (like watching TV, movies, etc…) is that in an active form of conversation your mind is forced to participate or risk missing out on the conversation altogether.

You must listen when somebody speaks and be able to form a sentence and throw it back at the person with whom you’re speaking. When we read, we’re forced to conceptualize ideas in our head or–in the case of a novel, historical account, etc…–we actively build the image of what we’re reading about in our mind.

In TV and movies and motion picture, in general, all of that information is fed to you. You don’t imagine what the warm summer day is, you’re told what it is as you passively sit and consume the content fed to you via the screen.

I like audiobooks, too. I just don’t yet think there is any comparison to the participation you make when you sit and read. You can drive a car and be half-distracted while listening to an audiobook, but you must turn the pages to get anywhere in a book.

Create things, don’t just consume things. Looking for more active conversation will make creating things and thinking clearly much, much easier.