Too Much Rhetoric. Not Enough Reflection.

Do we need to keep our opinions to ourselves slightly longer?

Social media has become a dumping ground for us to post problems, opinions, and points of view before contemplation or consideration have taken place. But does the ability to rant for an online audience at the push of button provoke anxiety more than a promote tranquility? Chaos instead of calm? There’s too much rhetoric without reflection being belched into the world.

Timothy Eldred | Rhetoric Without Reflection

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Pondering Before Pontificating

The last thing I do before walking out the door in the morning is to put on my hearing aid. Life and loud noise have left me with only 40% hearing in my right ear. But this little device helps by eliminating background noises and elevating essential sounds and voices. Hearing loss has become a blessing causing me to listen more and speak less. Ask more questions and offer fewer opinions. But I can’t solely depend on technology. I still have pay attention.

There’s a lot of white noise in our world we need to learn to block out as well. We also can’t rely on technology. Because much of the information we receive is pure rhetoric. Politicians, pundits, and members of the press seeking ratings or re-election make a lot of unnecessary noise. Their sales pitches and sound bites cause more confusion than clarity. Monday’s tragedy in Las Vegas is another reason for us to ponder more than pontificate.

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Less Rhetoric and More Reflection

Crises occur every day in people’s lives. And while most events will never garner headlines, the large majority of human struggles can be prevented. Paying attention to people’s spoken and unspoken language is critical to engaging them in thoughtful conversation before the bottom falls out or they blow up. Asking the right questions beforehand is paramount to keep pain from escalating out of control and evolving into irreversible misery.

Harmful actions to ourselves or others are the result of a greater problem and common condition. Destructive behaviors are symptoms of a silent but destructive source we all suffer from. And while the debates over gun control and mental health will increase over the next few weeks and months, they will only add to the white noise. Of course, we must reevaluate our values. But the heart of the issue remains the heart of humankind.

Lonely People Do Desperate Things

We will probably never know the reasons for Stephen Paddock’s rampage. But we do know he wasn’t born a madman or a mass murderer. And as desperate as we are to demonize him, we must stop long enough to realize that his decision grew from a place of unchecked aloneness. Lonely people do desperate things. And while there will never be an excuse for Monday, October 1, there can be a remedy for reoccurrence if we choose to listen more.

Being lonely or experiencing loneliness is a lack, a feeling something is missing, a pain, a depression, a need, an incompleteness, an absence. When we learn to embrace aloneness as the primary cause for our battles and behaviors, we will begin to see others with empathy and intervene before tragedies occur. A good place to start is to keep our opinions to ourselves a little longer and allow others to be heard.

Prevention for the tragedy in a person’s life might only be one conversation away.

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