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The Virtue of Silence

We live in an age of opinions. Everyone seems to have something to say about anything under the sun. These views, comments and arguments flood the digital media in such a rapid rate that one could spend a whole day  just reading and engaging with conversations that in most instances lead to nothingness. In such an opinionated environment that we are in today, it is sometimes wise to take a step back and remain silent. I call it the virtue of silence and here’s a few reasons why silence is a virtue:

1. Deep thinking

Silence allows the mind to think deeply about a particular issue without jumping quickly into making conclusions and judgements. As one sits back quietly to reflect upon what one is doing and thinking about as well as what others are up to, one can gain a wider perspective about a particular task or problem hence finding more creative and wiser solutions. Little wonder then that as we lie down and rest at night before going to sleep, we may at times solve certain puzzles of life that were seemingly difficult to resolve.

2. Safe from harm

Keeping one’s tongue from not speaking too much would do much to save that person from harm. This is especially so in the social media when words are more often than not taken out of context or when one’s ideas are misconstrued because of the lack of time and space put in to elaborate on these ideas in greater detail. In fact, many episodes of cyber bullying stem from simple misunderstanding of what was said by a given person which gave birth to a flood of responses not in line with the initial thoughts of that person. Not that writing a long article or book would make one less liable to being misunderstood. But keeping silent until one is able to develop one’s thoughts fully would help to save oneself from being misunderstood and misquoted. 

3. Less said, more heard

Last of all, people who are usually silent are, in most cases, listened to attentively when they speak. Why? The simple reason for this has to do with the fact that we tend to take people who talk too much for granted and are always wondering what quiet people might say when they do speak up. Of course, not all quiet people talk and write about intelligent and useful things. Still, to hear them speak is something we always look forward to and when they do, we tend to appreciate them more for airing out their views, for whatever it’s worth. And because of this, I would often open my ears when my quiet friends say something!

I would like to end by saying that silence is not a virtue when a group of persons or communities are faced with threats to their well being and social life. When the time comes for wrongs to be corrected and evils to be stopped, we all must do our part to speak up, to say it clearly and with reasoned arguments.

I hope this post would help us in one way or another to realize the virtue of keeping silent. Indeed as one Chinese saying has it: One who knows much, talks little. One who talks little, knows much.

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