The talk of the ignorant is like the rumblings which issue from the belly. – Demetrius the Cynic
What does that mean?
I like this quote. It is one of the snarkier bits of Ancient Wisdom with which I have ever had the pleasure to be acquainted. Can you feel the burn?
I’m glad I wasn’t the target of this remark. It starts by giving us a point of reference, the talk coming from the ignorant, or ones lacking in knowledge. OK, what about them? That’s where it gets good.
He equates their talk with the rumblings from the stomach. Why is that snarky? When does your stomach make noise? For me, it only does that when it is empty. Is it that way for you?
Yep, I think he just called the under-educated empty in the head, unless I missed his point. And even if I did, I like my way quite a bit. True, it’s not very kind, but neither is the real world. Learn, don’t rumble.
Why is learning important?
How many of you will have to fight back a giggle, or at least a smirk, the next time an ignorant person spouts off? Better still, how many of you will pause before opening your mouth on a topic about which you might not know all that much? That, in my opinion, is the true point of today’s quote.
While not everyone wants to be known as the brightest person in the room, very few of us want to be known as not only the least informed person in the room, but willing to talk on topics without knowledge of them. That is the kind of reputation I doubt anyone would seek, outside the Scarlet Pimpernel.
Learn before you speak, or only speak about things of which you have useful knowledge. These would be maxims one could reasonably draw from this quote. We all will say a dumb thing now and then. But with learning comes knowledge, and with that, the ability to talk about more things without rumbling.
Learning, in my opinion, is a life-long journey. Whether it is related to your work, your hobbies, your physical or mental skills, there is always room for improvement. Even things at which you are an expert, you are rarely THE expert, and things change. New discoveries could put your knowledge at risk.
Where can I apply this in my life?
This could be put to more uses for people who like to talk, and fewer for those of us who usually remain quiet. However, every time we open our mouth, we risk rumbling. To that end, let us start by trying to remember to engage our brains before we put our mouths in gear, right?
How many times have you been tempted to jump into a conversation, only to realize you really don’t know enough to be part of that conversation? Your quick thinking just saved yourself from a little embarrassment, right? And how many times did that thought occur just after you spoke? Ooops. Not good.
For those of you who have read this blog for a while, you may know that, sometimes, in certain rare instances, it can be of benefit. That is how I met my wife. I couldn’t remember exactly what the details were, and said something. She overheard and corrected me. My stomach didn’t feel well, but I got over it.
However, most of the time, people will roll their eyes or mutter under their breath. Some may even go so far as to avoid you, so as not to have to listen to your rumblings. No one wants to be known as the “Cliff Clavin” of your circle of friends, although he was rather likable.
One way to avoid such a fate is to just keep your mouth shut. But that makes for a very dull life. Another way is to work on strengthening the muscle between our mouth and our thoughts. If we can stop ourselves before we open up and rumble a bit, we can keep our ignorance of the topic out of sight.
Another way to avoid it is to become more educated in the topics you wish to discuss. Even experts can be wrong, when new discoveries catch them unaware. That’s why they tend to spend so much time reading and doing research. While I doubt most of us want to invest that much time in most topics, it does help to have at least a basic understanding of a topic before opening our mouths.
The only question is how much of an expert do you need to become? Unfortunately, you rarely know that answer until after the conversation begins, and you’re left wondering if you should open your mouth or not. In these situations, it might help to profess your ignorance before starting to rumble.
No one can know everything, and few are willing to try to put in the effort needed to master even one topic. Yet we all get pulled into conversations. The question is “How will you respond?” Will you admit your ignorance, or will you rumble?
From: Twitter, @pahndeepah
confirmed at : https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Moral_letters_to_Lucilius/Letter_91 line 19
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