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11648 McCulloch Rd. Orlando, FL 32817 407-737-4018

Inquiring Minds

THIS WEEK    |   Listen Online via Zoom    |    Meeting ID 863 9059 0096

The “Death” of Conversation (Part 2)

Society is changing rapidly. The ways we live, work and relate to each other are shifting as we move towards a more digital society, as employment practices change and people participate in society in different ways. People are living longer, but not necessarily experiencing increased quality of life to match those increased years. Many jobs are becoming more solitary. We can work, shop, travel, and interact with businesses and public services online rather than through talking to each other. Alongside these changes, we understand now more than ever before about the negative impacts of loneliness. Loneliness is not new but we do increasingly recognize it as one of our most pressing public health issues. Feeling lonely often is linked to early deaths – on a par with smoking or obesity.

To help us ponder this question, Roy Scherer, a founding member of Inquiring Minds, long-time UU, former “toastmaster”, jokester and story-teller, will introduce our forum discussion this Sunday. Join us if you can.


  • In trying to confine the premise of this week’s topic, do you consider a conversation on the phone, or communication through some other “virtual” medium, just a “conversation” of lower quality and therefore less satisfying, or is the wide-spread use of virtual media fundamental to the so-called “death of conversation”?
  • Many virtual meetings are larger and less personal than, say, an intimate, in-person, 4-party dinner date. Is the dissatisfaction with virtual meetings more related to the large, impersonal size of the virtual group, or is it due to a perceived “unnatural creepiness” of communication technology (i.e., unnatural sounds and images, the “uncanny valley” in robotic terms).
  • When, who and why are some people more comfortable communicating through a virtual medium than an in-person, face-to-face conversation?
  • Do you consider the wide-spread use of drugs or alcohol as other contributing factors to the “death” of conversation, or can they actually enhance it?
  • If you are with another person or in a small party, do you think that any of the following contribute to the “death” of conversation: loud background music from a live band, DJ, or TV (sports or comedian program), crying babies or loud children, cigarette or cigar smoke at a restaurant, bar or concert?
  • Discuss other factors that may contribute to the “death” of conversation between two or more people such as differences in personality types, shyness, language or cultural barriers, appearance, social class, core values, career, disability, physical characteristics, intelligence, education, vocabulary, coherence, location, lack of transportation, working from home.
  • How do these factors contribute to the wide-spread problem of increasing loneliness?

Our Inquiring Minds group meets to discuss a chosen topic in an informal setting. Subjects include religion, current events, politics, and science, among others. Drop-in visitors are always welcome. Inquiring Minds information is also available at the Plato’s Cave meetup website:


Please submit a relevant discussion subject to me that you would like to introduce for a future discussion. The introduction should be no more than 10-15 minutes.


Feb 28 2021


9:00 am - 10:00 pm



Zoom meetings are online, video-conferencing meetings. It does require the installation of free software to your computer, smartphone, or tablet. Link to the particular Zoom location will be found in the event description.


Stephen Hall
Stephen Hall

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