Time for Everyone to Just be Quiet
There's a lot to be said for saying nothing. Silence is a marvelous form of defense in the face of the in-your-facers, of protection from the casually cruel, and of release from the tedium of banal conversation. Silence is the get-out-of-the-jail- of-social-politics card. Silence saves your time and diminishes others' noise.
My friend says she is "committed to silence" because "it allows you to be charitable." She's a smart woman; she won't engage trouble-makers under any circumstances; she is at peace with herself, and there are never words out there begging in shame for her to take them back. Nor does she find herself embroiled in office politics. This might make her an outsider, but the bottom line is the last word always--she works hard and well. What she does counts. If she is perceived by the office cats to be difficult because she refuses to play with them, oh well. She doesn't allow their noise to be important.
Silence as peace and as the path to wisdom is a very old idea. Writing in Spirituality Today, A.J.V. Chandrakanthan says the Buddha's silence was the result of a profound harmony within himself and with the world outside....Buddha is silent because he knows the narrow boundaries of rational knowledge and the blind alleys of metaphysical queries. He knows the frailty and feebleness of words and concepts. His discovery of the language of Silence helped him dispel the inner darkness and void created by a rational thirst for knowledge.
Silence is thus a detour around tragedy because in it one recognizes that he or she can't know everything, that seeking perfection and total knowledge--an impossible task--is pointless; to set oneself up for failure is to create dissonance. It's nice to be silent with people, to share the road. You realize how short falls the goal that is less than peace.