Monday, June 16, 2014

The Pearl-Clutchers

NOTE: A little something for THE HERMIT OF IAPETUS

I have been told to speak my mind.

I have been told to shut up.

I’ve tried both. Neither works.

Speak up and those who don’t want to hear what you have to say la-la-leeeere to shut you down. The more honest you are, the louder they become until you’re both shouting and no one can hear you.
Shut up and the voices in your head can be heard. And nobody wants that.

Everyone clutches their pearls. And they clutch them while they mock others for doing the same. Because when I protest, I’m protesting with an open mind with arguments based in logic or faith or humanity or desire or destiny. And when you speak, you speak poison. Unless you agree with me. Unless we can speak into the mirror and see the same words come out of our mouths.

Oh, then we get along fine.

So, the solution?

We speak. And then we shut up while the other person speaks. And while the other person speaks we don’t sit in our own little universe inside our head, plotting how to rebut or what to say next. We listen. Then we speak again while the other person stops cogitating what to say and they listen.

Granted, it takes longer.

There, the fault of the cult of speed.

If we can’t win someone over in fifteen seconds’ worth of argument, they’re moron losers not worthy to waste our breath on. Because their world view didn’t crash to the ground based on the ten seconds of evidence we offered, their minds are closed and we are best off washing our hands of them. 


“Oh,” he said, holding his head in his hands. “I used to listen. I used to listen to everyone,” he said. “They listened when I talked of Checkers, of the respectable cloth coat. Oh, how they listened. But try that today. Try that today and the networks wouldn’t even sell you the airtime. Maybe they would in some fantasy world. But no one would listen. Not really listen. They would listen with the intent to say something next. Something so God-awful.”

He sobbed. “Oh, it was beautiful,” he said. “How they listened. Except that damned Eisenhower. All he wanted to do was to think of what to say next.”

“And if we shut up,” I asked.

“In Japan, they call it the archipelago,” he said.” Those who don’t talk or fight against the norm. Here, we called it the Silent Majority. But it’s silent no longer. Not so in Japan. There, they stay quiet. Isolated. There may be many who think the same as they do, but they rarely know it because they rarely speak.”

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