In days when I depended more on the physical company of other people, I was endemically frustrated by the facetiousness of conversation among people of my acquaintance.
In theory, there were plenty of well-informed people with similar interests around me; in practice the conversation was unrelentingly superficial and continually attempting wit, jokes - a light and unattached attitude to life was prevalent.
I found this diet of daily discourse profoundly unsatisfying, and would travel the length of the country for a few hours of 'deep' talk with one of the handful of friends who were able and willing to provide it.
Whether this is specifically English, and whether things have always been like this - I don't know.
But things are still the same - as far as I can judge.
Intellectual life is still populated almost exclusively by people who never drop their facade of unseriousness - indeed, who have perhaps become the facade such that there is nothing to drop. They are not 'hiding' anything; what you see is what there is.
This applies even to writers, scholars, scientists whose work is interesting - whose work I admire and have benefited-from; many of them come across as utterly superficial people.
Specifically, the intellect seems to be dissociated from the emotions - so that there is no depth: nothing behind the surface rationality.
The facial expression, the eyes, are 'glassy' - even while the words may be eloquent.
I wonder, too, whether this could be a class thing, and an hereditary thing. My ancestors are 'working class', and I find that social conversation among people whose ancestors are solidly upper middle class generally strikes me as afflicted with this species of apparently inescapable triviality.
Presumably I strike them as dull, naive and over-serious.
But there it is!
At the end of the day, the general intellectual discourse among English intellectuals is - I find, on the whole - disappointingly annoying and uninteresting: even at the highest level, among people that I would expect or hope to be enlightening.
Professional, specialist conversation can, by contrast, be very interesting; and that was the basis for most of the best types of discourse; at least it *was*, until professional conversation became afflicted by political correctness, dishonesty, and fear.