Saturday, October 25, 2014

Silence is Golden

Silence is golden is a well know axiom and in the present society not overly appreciated. In her Catholic Times' media ecology column, the religious sister recalls a trip she was making from Pusan to the outskirts of Seoul, and was accompanied most of the way by a young man, sitting behind her, who was on the  mobile phone, with only a few rest periods, chitchatting.The sister tried to read, pray and think but found it difficult.

We from the time we were born have enjoyed muttering. We were born with the capacity and the desire to talk. A joy only humans enjoy. Since we  enjoy talking we increase the amount. Children who talk are developing their brain, creativity, powers of thinking, and socializing ability: forming their personality. When we become adults we no longer speak to satiety like a child. We regulate our feelings and our thoughts so that our personality comes out in our speaking.

We speak, she says, too much now days. No matter how much they try, some can't help but be a chatter box. Scholars have a name for this sickness: logorrhea. We do a lot of it now with our cell phones. Once in the hand there is a need to talk. With the phone we can not transmit our feelings and our body language; possible only when we are speaking face to face. 

When the phone is not ringing the person is always waiting. Fingering the smart phone in the hand and never putting it down for fear they will lose  contact with humanity, and feel empty and lonely. If there is no one to talk to they will go to their friends in SNS, an unlimited number of possibilities with whom to  communicate. She wonders if this is not a case of addiction to the word.

Much of the fare on TV is made for the understanding of a  13 year old child, and yet we see many who without any discipline are on their smart phones laughing and watching without thought of where they are and those around them.

We do not give words to all our thoughts since we are responsible for the words we utter.There are words we need to speak and those we refrain from speaking, words we use in different places and with different individuals.

'A wise person who values reading is careful in the use of every word and gesture', an axiom from the past. Why is this so? she asks. The words we speak come from the words we read. Reading becomes the  thinking that forms our words. Our thinking becomes deeper and the words we use have more weight.

When we feel that we are talking too much she recommends we put all aside, and begin reading. We will learn more than we expected; like prayer we will encounter the language of silence.

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