Saturday, June 10, 2006

my Socratic method

Sometimes when I am in a big group of people and the conversation is at a lul I find myself posing a question to the group to encourage conversation. Sometimes I know the answer, or I have an opinion about it, but I act like I dont.

This almost always works.

It is virtually impossible to plop a question into a still pool of small talk and not have someone jump in after it and attempt to drudge up the answer. It is so much fun to see what people come up with.

People dont like uncertainty, so it is uncomfortable for everyone to admit they dont know something. Also talking eases tension, so we find the constellation of unsupported facts mildy soothing.

How long does it take to fly to Australia? When will they finish construction on that new building? Who wrote that book?

Most times I just nod in agreement and act like they are enlightening me.

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