In the Canberra Times
, Damon Young on the need for cue cards
This urge to fill the gaps in talk is perfectly human. Partly because it strengthens our bonds, but also because it calms us. German philosopher Martin Heidegger, in his opus Being and Time, called this ''idle talk'' and ''passing the word along''.
For Heidegger, this wasn't a mark of ignorance, stupidity or deception. We throw ourselves into chatter and cliche because there is something genuinely unsettling about the silences they conceal. As Heidegger saw it, this is because the quiet reminds us of the nothingness that surrounds us - we come from nothing, we go to nothing, and the life in between is our own responsibility. Embarrassing pauses are hints of mortality; of our one chance to be something.