By Hans Ebert

Dialogue. It’s a word used often enough. Perhaps even too often. But how are we having this “dialogue”, which, surely, is another way of communicating?

From where I sit, all this “communicating” is largely on the phone- you know, a WhatsApp group chat, “pinging” over a private message, brainstorming on yet another WhatsApp “group chat”.

Some of these words are in inverted commas, because, at least to me, it’s just more jive. It’s often as useless as listening to the sound of one hand clapping. Or receiving an email to the disciples from the big guy at the top. You know, the one very few bother to wade through because it’s too much hard work. It’s far easier to press that “like” button and be a sheeple.

The “like” button is very much like Sally Fields’ acceptance speech when receiving an Oscar for “Norma Rae”. It’s where she blurted out, “You like me! You REALLY LIKE ME!”

So, when we say, “Let’s talk” or “let’s have a dialogue”, this seldom, if ever, translates into anything meaningful.

It’s mostly jive and taken place when people have some time to spare and are happy with the sound of one hand clapping. One takes in sound bites, but the mind is wandering all over the place unless it’s only all about you.

Facebook Live, Skype, Zoom, they all serve their purpose. But most things discussed or watched or done to spend some time on the killing floor come and go without much recall.

It’s not like someone telling you that if you really wanted to get to know them, and perhaps have a meaningful relationship, you’d get that tired ass off the bed and onto a plane and travel halfway around the world, meet in person, look the other person in the eye and instinctively know that there’s something special going on.

It’s the same in every theatre of life. Without eye contact, without being able to read the body electric of body language, without listening to the words and, more importantly, the silence in between, it’s just another version of charades. And pressing that “like” button because everyone else does.

The end result amounts to zilch, nada, and vapid online gobbledygook.

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