I put a categorisation of personalities in conversation and this categorisation comes with three subgroups: exclamation, affirmation and interrogation. It is a linguistic analysis of daily conversation that reflects personalities on the table. The personality of exclamation tries to share his or her history on the table and out of this personal experience makes declarations to lead the very conversation. This personality is dictated as [!] onward in this post. To keep the conversation going, we need another personality who affirms such declarations on the table. They are [.]. And there is a personality who questions and interrogates the declaration made on the table. They normally sit back from the table observing the conversation. This personality is dictated as [?].
In one table where a conversation is on process, you might find those three different personalities all together. There is a person who speaks of her experience and knowledge, and there are people who listen affirming what she say or questioning it. The more [!] we have on the table, the more topics and themes can be shared on the table. Surely, those declarations would be just a brag if no one agrees on or listens to it. The more [.] we have on the table, the smoother the conversation goes. The more [?] we have on the table, the deeper the conversation opens up.
The problem is to maintain a balance on the table with those personalities. When there are only [!] on the table it’s hard to progress the conversation. Such personality requires the validation from others, who can confirm and admire the histories that [!] are putting on the table. When there are only [?] on the table, they extract the hidden points of a conversation from each other which leads exhaustion of the very conversation.
Understanding myself more on this theme let me understand further how to practice my interactive behaviour in a conversation, such as the way of listening and expressing in the modest way. I believe that I fall into the categorisation of [?], as such I sit back observing people and their conversation. Many doubts and interrogation come up to my mind, but I dare to express those on the table not to block the flow of the conversation, especially when the conversation isn’t aimed to be productive but recreational. But this dynamic makes me understand when to put a question mark and not to, letting me put in others’ shoes imagine their strategies of interaction in a conversation.
These strategies are possible because the conversation on the table is merely a power game between individuals to gain their psychological and relational power over others, of which dynamic is generally philosophised in the book Transparency Society written by Byung-chul Han. As being on the table, we are all playing this game of power to obtain major attention from others and maximum validation. According to his philosophy, rejection is always noisy. The word from the power eliminates this noisiness and produces the silence, since this silence represents agreements from the beings on the table (even a tacit agreement, think about it).
Let’s say that the theme of conversation is about a newly-opened restaurant in the neighbourhood. [!] might say ‘it was cheap and tasty!’ trying to get agreements from the others as obtaining the power on the table. [.] genuinely agrees, maybe because she also experienced same conclusion or maybe because she has high credibility to [!] even though she didn’t even try the food there. [?] interferes the conversation questioning whether the restaurant was really that good, or whether another restaurant already existed around still performs better or not. When [.] agrees back to [?], [!] loses her power on the table as [?] creates an heterodox power to take the current power away from the [!]. Strategies keep going on the table as flow of the conversation.
Being a mystery is a political action, for [?]’s political action is about counterattacking what [!] has created on the table. As [!] values personal experience and history, [?] values mystery. [!] performs surficial power on the table whereas [?] performs inmost power. If not, [?] wouldn’t dare to confront any kind of power on the table. According to Han, giving up mystery (or to say, transparency) is giving up power. When [?] starts to not only question the [!] but generate another [!]s as transforming herself from [?] to [!], she also would lose her power eventually confronted by other questions. Some might carry out different strategies to neutralise the power on the table, taking attention away from [!] who needs the very attention, and giving attention to [?] revealing herself when she wants to keep herself in mystery. The power is given by agreement and affirmation from the many, and carrying out distinctive tactics the conversation goes as its game continues.
Of course this analysis confronts many criticism, dividing personalities into three major categorisation for example. Personality can merge different literal points altogether, alternating into [?!], [!?], [.?] and etc. At last our personality isn’t to inbox into one sole categorisation. But understanding how those different personalities perform their role in continuing power game in a conversation might helps us create a strategy of how to drag out better conversation played by all, including more actors of the very table and redistributing power to them.