THE ART OF CONVERSATION.
Generally speaking, I have found that a group of people in conversation often have their outlook formed by some prevailing spirit. The subjects discussed are usually determined by the more dominant among them. I have also observed that participants occupy one of four groups: The dominant, the subordinate, the foolish (each of whom hide behind the deepest subtleties and the thickest masks), and the discreet.
When entering a
conversation, the discreet must exercise great care, for fear they may be
recognized by their few words. Meanwhile, the inclinations of dominant ones are
are vented, what prompted them is not always easily identified, and evaluating
what is said is made more difficult by their alternation and mixture. Some are
inspired to speak out of a desire to invent for effect, measuring as they do so
the various responses. Still others use wordplay, solely for the pleasure of
being able to manipulate the minds of others. Some speak merely to project or
protect themselves, using persuasion or persistence toward that end. But under
The Christ's congregational disciplines, these devices can be countered by
knowledge of Christian love
Personal integrity is a disposition most hated among gossipers. When absent from their company, they are eager to disparage the reputation of such a person, toward their ultimate goal of eliminating good principle from their company. In close-knit communities, such ones may be found by taking very few steps in any given direction. To encourage credulity in discreet ones, gossipers will sometimes go to them on some pretext, such as seeking advice, just to find out more about them and obtain further material on which to slander them, and leaving them with hearsay and rumour.
- 116 -