Birds, bees, termites, ants, and molds
taken singly are brainless things,
but when they come together with their kind,
they act as if directed by a mind.
We, however, lose our minds in crowds,
grow drunkenly ambitious, start to build
stairways to the stars, or try to kill
our neighbors, pillage stores, set fire to cars.
Solitude is no solution though.
A mountain man’s a crowd of one,
who follows his uncontradicted will,
as mindless as an ant without a hill.
Our minds are fragile, easily destroyed
by noise or silence, griefs or celebrations.
For minds to flourish, they must be employed
regularly in rambling conversations.
Below iis a conversation between men called “The Long Story” by William Sidney Mount.
And here is a painting of a conversation between two women called “Conversation” by the twentieth century painter Milton Avery.
Thomas Traherne: “The world is best enjoyed and most immediately while we converse blessed and wisely with men.”
Jonathan Edwards: “The being of society, as such, is conversation.”
Michael Oakeshott: “Learning to be human is learning to participate in the conversation of mankind.”