THE ART OF SAYING NOTHING
Everyone, and I do mean everyone, has something to say these days, or so it seems. Oh, I suppose a few folks manage to keep their opinions to themselves, but from what I’ve noticed, that is rare. We are bombarded by the views of experts or would-be authorities in the print media, on television, and even in the odd movie now and then. At times it is hard to muddle through all the dialogue and discussions that often are fraught with half-truths, concocted verbiage, ambiguous jargon, or absolute lies that either have been calculated carefully or are fabricated on the spot. Isn’t it a bit frightening to recognize that lying has become the norm? Duplicity, plagiarism, perjury, exaggeration, insincerity, and deceit are muddied streaks on a putrid pallet that more than a few people cannot seem to set down.
It’s a fact: an individual’s own personal point of view may be shored up, shaken up, or completely deflated simply by absorbing the words of someone who may or may not be in the know. It has become somewhat of a conundrum sorting through all the noise. And isn’t it the truth that he who shouts the loudest believes he is the “rightest”? “If I can talk over him, I win,” or “If she can’t get a word in, she loses.” We see it all the time. Even program moderators have difficulty silencing the shouters and calming the waters at times.
We can find opinions elsewhere, however. Social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter have become dumping grounds for the average Joe to tell it like it is. Quotations, statistics, ratings, propaganda, gossip, “news”, untruths, and opinions fill our newsfeeds. They range from thoughtful to absolutely absurd. They extend from complimentary to cruel. How long does one wait, pondering perhaps, before selecting “share” or “post”? I would imagine that every single social media participant has rolled his or her eyes, or said WTH (or worse) in reaction to what we see as we scroll along.
In recent months, it has become obvious to me, more than ever, that our opinions and our need to express them are as varied as we are. Some voices cannot be silenced, it is clear, and though we may not always agree with what others are spouting, their right of free expression seems intact. In contrast, however, listening, reflecting, contemplating, and being silent have a place too. It is something to consider. Think about it. Can value be gained in practicing the art of saying nothing?