January 29th, 2004



If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things.How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water.

—James 3:3-12

Though it's not explicitly Law, the old maxim "if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all" is at the very least a good idea. I'm struggling with it. Logic plays a part in holding me back— if I respond to careless speech with equally careless speech, everyone loses.

Why are we so careless with what we say? LiveJournal is one of the more ironic places to pose the question, as for many of us this is our journal, where we can throw out unvarnished thoughts and emotionally vomit until we feel better or don't care to type any longer. Forums like this are and should be "let the reader beware" zones, as I doubt anyone is forced to read a single word at pain of death. So I'm not sure my thoughts and frustrations are necessarily applicable to LJ; it's the bigger picture I'm wrestling with.

All that said, why? Don't we think? Most of us seem to just let loose, satisfied that we know what we mean and that should be enough. Communication is truly a lost art, as so many functionally believe the full responsibility for understanding their blather rests with the other party (if they care at all). But really, if all that matters is that I (the speaker) understand, why speak at all? Instead we huff and puff, and everywhere else I'm tempted to go with the analogy is crude and inappropriate.

Lots to do today and the clock is ticking. Just needed to vent my spleen a bit before I began madly duct taping people's mouths closed and inviting the entire world to have a tall, cold glass of Shut The Hell Up.
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