The art of conversation; guarding and directing one’s tongue

‘It often fills me with shame here to see how readily men demean themselves just for a bit of gossip, how they prate incessantly about their own private affairs to people who don’t deserve it, and who hardly even listen. And the strangest thing about it is that they have no regard whatever for truth; all they want to do is to talk about themselves, whether what they say is true or not. The desire for a good conversation is a very different matter; there is something genuinely intellectual about that. Unfortunately there are few people here who are capable of carrying on a conversation beyond the range of immediate personal concern.’

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Letters and Papers From Prison, Letters to a Friend, February 13th 1944

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