April 28

“We should not have either a blunt knife nor a freedom of speech which is poorly managed.” Epictetus

This is less about being able to yell, ‘fire’ in a crowded theatre and more about the purpose and efficacy of speech. Speech is one means of communicating with other people and even sometimes with the trained domesticated animals we share our lives with.

Good communication should leave the recipient clear about the intended message and any meaning that needs to be inferred. Hence the comparison to a knife.

Rather than being blunt in our communications, we should be precise, surgical. Only saying what needs to be said in order to move the conversation along to a productive or meaningful outcome.

If that sounds robotic and rigid to us, we need to consider the more important aspect of our communication. Listening. If we use our speech to augment what those around us are saying only enough to express that we are interested in what they are saying and we would like them to continue, or to agree with them, or disagree politely and request an explanation, if we communicate in those terms, we will watch all of our relationships thrive.

\So let us practice wielding our speech like surgical instruments, only cutting into the conversation to do the most good. Otherwise, we should listen to those around us and use our listening to improve our understanding.

By understanding better, doors we never would have seen will open to us.

virtus fortis vocat


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