“On Speaking” 2.0

| November 9, 2012 | 1 Comment

We can learn a lot from the past. Regardless of the source, a lot of people in the past shared common sentiments that can benefit us today.

In his poem, “On Speaking,” the Lebanese poet Kahlil Gibran once said, “You speak when you cease to be at peace with your thoughts. And when you can no longer dwell in the solitude of your heart, you live in your lips…” Gibran is suggesting that not every thought that comes to mind is worth sharing. However, today all of our thoughts are carefully documented in the form of tweets, statuses, and blogs.

On one hand, social media websites grant us the ability to communicate more efficiently than ever before. Never have we all had access to an audience as large as those using these websites. On the other hand, we are wasting this potential by sharing trivial thoughts.

Those who are quick to defend social media cite the political and social movements that have begun on the sites. However, more often we choose to tweet about our outfits, post about our “#FirstWorldProblems,” and blog about the latest celebrity gossip.

The websites were created to foster dialogue, but we see more monologues. I understand that we all need the occasional distraction or relief from the stress of reality. But, I also believe that the Mark Zuckerberg’s and the Jack Dorsey’s of the world expected more utility from their online creations. They believed that we have more to say and we should all want more.

Compton rapper, Kendrick Lamar, shares Gibran’s sentiments in his song “Cut You Off {To Grow Closer}”“Speak on something that can get us both paid,” he says, encouraging people to share ideas that are mutually beneficial.

Lamar values dialogue over monologue, as individuals not only benefit from speaking their minds, but those who listen can benefit by gaining knowledge through conversation. He believes we should inspire one another. In the same light as Gibran, Lamar is critical of those who “live in their lips.” According to him, we need to learn when to shut up. It has been said before: less talk and more listening.

Our recent empowerment has gotten the best of us. Now that everyone has a voice, the next step is learning how to use it properly. When we communicate through social media, we should ask ourselves a series of questions:

  • Am I saying anything new?
  • What do I hope to achieve by saying this?
  • Will my words benefit anybody?

Our tweets should reveal reflection. Our Facebook posts should be provocative, our blogs should teach us new things. Our online presence should incite conversation. Our words should motivate each other. We should seek to inspire.

“Let the spirit in you move your lips and direct your tongue.

Let the voice within your voice speak to the ear of [their] ear;

For [their] soul will keep the truth of your heart as the taste of the wine is remembered

When the color is forgotten and the vessel is no more.” (Gibran)

Let me know what you think.

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Category: featured, Music, Philosophy and Religion

Greg James Wilson

About the Author ()

A music lover, photographer, and scholar Greg is a native of the Greater Philadelphia area studying in the College of Communication. Greg hosts a WTBU radio show titled "Love of My Life", on Fridays from 10-12pm. Greg has also launched a Photography Company, "Moments of Silence", offering his photographic serves throughout the Greater Boston Area.

Comments (1)

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  1. Ryan Brister Ryan Brister says:

    There’s the idea that everybody has 15 minutes of fame, and that’s more true now than ever. But I don’t believe that everyone deserves 15 minutes of fame. Some people just don’t have much to say, and maybe those people should keep their Twitter usage to following instead of tweeting.

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