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    Comment: Not Always Necessary


     

    Better be unborn than untaught, for ignorance is the root of misfortune – Plato. Chinmoy Kumar Ghose, better known as Sri Chinmoy, who was an Indian spiritual leader once said, “Ignorance is an enemy, even to its owner. Knowledge is a friend, even to its hater. Ignorance hates knowledge because it is too pure. Knowledge fears ignorance because it is too sure”

    Humans tend to want to feel among by commenting on every topic under the sun even when they are grossly ignorant of the genesis or details of the issues. This is the bandwagon effect.

    I don’t easily comment on breaking news. News headlines are not sufficient for us to make judgment. They are to provide us with leads and arouse our curiosities. I don’t write or speak to be applauded. With every news that catches my attention, I first ask more questions, and analyze the narratives coming from various angles and sources. Afterwards, I can take a stand. This stand is not cast on stone but on the degree of knowledge and facts available to me at that point in life. I am willing to shift my position with the emergence of new facts and equally publicly apologize where I have erred.

    “Maturing is realizing how many things don’t require your comment,” said Winston Churchill. This might be a hard saying for us today living in an era of seemingly unlimited access to the cyberspace, otherwise called the digital age.

    We are constantly under the temptation to want to be heard so as to appear knowledgeable and court public validation, given that we all love to feel seen and heard by having strings of words alongside avatars underneath articles or pictures on the Internet. Romano Guardini once said that “the person who talks constantly grows empty, and his emptiness is not only momentary.” We hear less these days because we talk too much. We are ever eager to talk, so we listen less.

    Many times what we need is silence. Andreas Fransson reminds us that in the silence behind what can be heard lies the answers we have been searching for for so long.

    It has become a tradition for us to comment on issues we know next to nothing about. It has become the occupation of some persons to follow every trend on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and the rest and to comment on every trending issue. Sometimes we ought only to read, digest and move on without commenting. Following a multitude to promote falsehood out of ignorance doesn’t obliterate the truth, as Aldous Huxley observed that facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.

    The Bible enjoins us to be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath. Adherence to this admonition will shade us from many troubles and rescue us from avoidably causing injuries to others. One of the most frightful things I have noticed on social media is ignorance in action.

    We can extend this same principles of not always commenting or replying into our daily, family, occupational and other social lives as well. It will save us from many headaches.

    Let me leave us with the timeless statement of
    Lao Tzu, “To know that you do not know is the best. To think you know when you do not is a disease.Recognizing this disease as a disease is to be free of it.”

    Writer: Desmond Okocha

     



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