Sunday, May 23, 2010

On Talkativeness

Talkativeness is the throne of vainglory, on which it loves to show itself and make a display.

Talkativeness is a sign of ignorance, a door to slander, an inducement to jesting, a servant to falsehood, the ruin of compunction, a creator and summoner of despondency, a precursor of  sleep, the dissipation of recollection, the abolition of watchfulness, the cooling of ardor, the darkening of prayer.

Saint John of Sinai, The Ladder of Divine Ascent, Step 11, # 2, p. 92.

I came across this quote from one of the Church Fathers on the byzcath.org forum and was amazed and intrigued at its wisdom. Thank God for these holy men and women who live lives of quiet striving towards God and can pass down their wisdom to us!

Who knew talkativeness could lead to despondency!? (I sure didn't!) I am definitely going to have to ponder that further. I think, also, that "talkativeness" can be taken to mean "inner talkativeness" as well as "technological talkativeness." Giving in to the temptation to "express" every thought and feeling that comes our way, can cause us to believe that our faulty assumptions are true, not to mention the affect our negative verbalizations may have on our listeners.

Instead, cultivating the discipline of silent reflection and prayer can do wonders for our relationship with God.

7 comments:

TACParent said...

My mentor taught me a while ago that as humans we have an innate urge to "fill the void." For example, if during a conversation both people get quiet, there is an awkwardness and someone will break the silence just to get beyond that. What's wrong with pausing? Now when I'm in session with her we often pause and sit in quiet to allow things to soak in, etc. It's no longer awkward -- it is meaningful.

Dymphna said...

I think talkativeness is often a way to fill the void within our own souls and over ride what our hearts might be saying to us, and what God might be saying to us.

newguy40 said...

I was just thinking along similar lines this morning.

I notice this fact in my job.

I work with one very senior manager who is also a highly educated engineer. He is the very definition of loquacious. He talks alot! But, I never get the sense that it's to show how smart or important he is. It's just part of his style and who he is.

On the other hand, another senior manager talks and talks and talks. Always it seems to me he is trying to show how engaged he is with the issue and how he is making contributions. But, he never really does contribute.

Thanks for the neat quote. that one will go in to my quote book!

Dymphna said...

That's a good point. Are we talking because that is simply our "style" or is our talking covering for a lack of some kind?

Michele said...

I talk far more on my blog than i do in real life. i am just not an overly talkative person. i like silence. the more nothingness the better.

Barbara said...

This subject is so interesting. One thing I like about many Japanese movies is the silence during dialogue. You can see the other person thinking and there is a genuine encouragement to respond without hurrying. Western movies are entirely different.

If we listen better to others and calm down, maybe we can better hear God talking to us. Sometimes that is through another person. Personally, I really need quiet and time to ponder things, but this world is a place of awful racket. I think that is why we have to deliberately set aside time to rest in God. Silence is good. We should not be afraid of it.

Dymphna said...

True. It is very hard to find silence these days.

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"Slavery ended in medieval Europe only because the church extended its sacraments to all slaves and then managed to impose a ban on the enslavement of Christians (and of Jews). Within the context of medieval Europe, that prohibition was effectively a rule of universal abolition. "— Rodney Stark

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