Now That’s a Silence of a Different Color

To live in a country which respects the freedom of expression is to live also free not to express. Attributing such to shame is rarely seen as intrusive speculation; but here I do so with many a forgotten or never known silence. They are definitely of a different color. May they muddle any attempt at breaching a part of our inner selves which is simply private.

Preserving the Truth:

  • A Broken Gestalt: Some truths have an inner spirit that lies beyond any partitioning of them into truth-portions. Language which is, by its nature, such a partitioning, leaves us at the mercy of those who would, from even a single part, imbue the remaining with reflections of themselves or with a purpose towards which they wish the “truth” to go. A sensitivity to when such threatens self-incrimination was passed on from England and Wales to our founding fathers and to our Fifth Amendment.
  • The Ineffable: For something steeped in personal knowledge, experience, and a personal nuance of language; miscommunication is unavoidable. Staying mute doesn’t make the problem go away but, in this case, can anything really get said?

Getting it Right:

  • A Wrong Strand: Imagine that your truth is a ball of yarn with various strands sticking out. If someone seeks that truth with a strand which, fails inwardly to pass an inhibiting alternate strand, they will unwittingly stop short of the entire yarn. Short of knowing and pointing out the better strand, there is silence.
  • The Unfinished: What seems to fulfill a promised clarity lacks a crucial detail. Is that important enough to hold back the entirety? A silence held conditionally on the revelation of that detail is best.

Getting it When:

  • An Embarrassment: When Ben Franklin wrote essays (later collected in the book Fart Proudly), wasn’t he suggesting an openness to embarrassing moments? That is quite different from a submission to emotional pressures that one do so. The choice must be between silence and such an openness, freely expressed.
  • Tonality and Other Premises: These may be rooted in an other’s gestalt, but if they take a conversation to never-land, then short of being mutually dealt with up front, there is being silent.
  • A Lost Alternative: There is a need to order one’s revelations with the less important or the eclipsing truths held back for a time. However, when asked about an eclipsing truth, one should lie or hastily switch to revealing its eclipsed counterpart. Here, by the fundamental strength of freedom, make a choice and what happens, happens. Representative Democracy allows for the postponement of a decision’s revelation. If we do not trust Congressional Committees to do so for a later, detail-requesting submission towards finalization by the House and Senate, then why were its members ever elected. Delayed openness is still openness, but that openness could  now include the length (and perhaps a condition) of the delay.

Avoiding Manipulation:

  • A Distracting Detail: Some request details to gain a deeper understanding and express anger to help them focus on what upsets them; others, request details or become angry to distract attention from what had just been said or from where the topic is heading. Who needs to lie when they are skillful at distracting from the truth. Such attempts are better exposed.
  • And by Opposing Arm Them: Will the quality of your response be turned back on yourself or others?
  • The Insinuation: Some will conger up a script that suits them and, disguising it as an insight, a guess, a question, a belief, or a prophetic curse; insinuating it into the discussion. Even a simple response is to accept the inherent insinuation. First peel away the misleading grammar and tonality, or suffer the implied package.
  • The Interrogation: The answer sought could mess up a life: one’s own, an others, or even the one whose curiosity probes. Here one could find and address a need other than the gratification of curiosity.

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