Friday, April 26, 2013

The wisdom of Benjamin Franklin (part 7)

"Avoid trifling conversation."

Now, usually I love quotes from old Ben, they are a dagger to the heart or a bolt to the brain, most of the time…

But this one gives me pause. I think the point is NOT to avoid "trifling conversation," or call it blather, or even perhaps ambiguously call it gossip….human beings do the chit-chat thing very well and very often, one researcher claimed that "gossip" comprises more than half of all human verbal intercourse, our mundane remarks to each other help to keep us decently human, in fact.

I'd prefer to interpret Franklin's advice as a warning to avoid giving undue meaning to our "trifling conversation" and,  perhaps, to strive for unadorned, candid, truthful communication, face to face, as often and wherever that's what's needed.

If you stretch the point and define "trifling" to mean "not true" or "poorly reasoned" or "carelessly uttered" or "deliberately obfuscatory," then by all means go with Ben and do the avoidance thing….

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