Intellectual Intercourse: The Art of Conversation


I happily engaged in Intellectual Intercourse during a LIVE UM Radio broadcast on 12/6, with fellow podcaster, philosopher and intellectual ponderer Jarett Sanchez.   We discussed… well… discussing.  In our modern, fast paced culture, wherein we are almost constantly bombarded with talk and noise and artificial stimuli, we find ourselves talking quite often.  We talk on the phone, in comment threads on line, via text and Twitter and passing by as we move around our hectic lives.  But are we discussing topics and issues with substance?  Do our conversations have character or are we simply producing streams of words in order to be heard and move on?  If we are lacking in conversational skills, is schooling to blame? Moreover,  does it matter?  Listen in as Jarett and I discuss conversations that matter and ponder the questions that can ignite more intellectual intercourse.

This episode in its entirety was recorded during a LIVE broadcast so there are differences in format.  I did however, trim out breaks, minor segues and mid-music for brevity.  Unfortunately, there are some sound issues.  We’ve cleaned it up, but we do apologize in advance for minor distortions.  Rest assured we are working on properly identifying the source of the sound issues and intend to rectify the problem for future episodes :)

On Qualifications…
In the beginning, Jarett qualified himself to speak on this topic.  I mentioned there and at several points during the episode that I wanted to remark on that idea – the perceived necessity of qualifying the speaker and using that as a measure to judge the content.  While this may seem like a perfectly reasonable exercise, it is prudent to consider the possibility that even a layman may have valuable insight to offer – even at least for pondering.  Not saying that Mr. Sanchez is a layman, by no means is he.  I’m simply pointing out that we have developed a tendency to want to qualify everything we hear before we will hear it and while this seems logical, it does reek of arrogance, Ad Hoc,  and can prevent potentially useful information.  Not to say we shouldn’t exercise a fair amount of caution – certainly there is a fair amount of nonsense floating about, but let us not get so hung up and reliant on our schooling that we won’t at least hear an opinion unless it’s attached to a degree.   To that end, I’d like to refer to the opening quote from Dorothy Sayers essay, The Lost Tools of Learning:

That I, whose experience of teaching is extremely limited, should presume to discuss education is a matter, surely, that calls for no apology. It is a kind of behavior to which the present climate of opinion is wholly favorable. Bishops air their opinions about economics; biologists, about metaphysics; inorganic chemists, about theology; the most irrelevant people are appointed to highly technical ministries; and plain, blunt men write to the papers to say that Epstein and Picasso do not know how to draw. Up to a certain point, and provided the the criticisms are made with a reasonable modesty, these activities are commendable. Too much specialization is not a good thing. There is also one excellent reason why the veriest amateur may feel entitled to have an opinion about education. For if we are not all professional teachers, we have all, at some time or another, been taught. Even if we learnt nothing–perhaps in particular if we learnt nothing–our contribution to the discussion may have a potential value.


My Question for Jarret – For what exactly, would anyone ever need dynamite on a fishing trip?

The following references were made during our discussion and here is how you can learn more…

Jarret Sanchez Trivium Binder and Next Step Podcast -and- Dorothy Sayers Lost Tools of Learning -and- Mortimer Adler -and- Amusing Ourselves to Death

Bumper Music: American Dream by Dominick Bali
This Episode was sponsored by Math-U-See

More to come!
Look for the follow up on this topic aptly named Part II of II in which UM will ponder the following…

  • Ego issues in communication
  • Discussing/debating and needing to “Win”
  • Do we really need to agree to disagree?
  • Implications and extracting meaning in argument – do we know what is meant or do we think we do?
  • Legitimizing our position with weak reference – are we stroking our own ego or learning?
  • Cyber Intercourse vs. Real Intercourse – is there a difference and can the cyber version be just as satisfying?
  • And finally ways in which we can improve or communication, conversation and deliberation skills both on line and in 3D.



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avatar About the Author: Laurette Lynn is the Unplugged Mom© Founder of and Host and founder of Unplugged Mom Radio© Learn more about Laurette Lynn by clicking here.

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