It is more than 2000 years old proverb. The wisdom arose when it was observed that people often got into trouble when they did not know when to stop talking. Even today, it is a common occurrence to see that:
1) A good friend becomes adversary when a peaceful discussion turns into an argument mixed with subjective opinions and insults that cross the line,
2) The person’s trust is gradually eroding when the person talks big without backing them up,
3) When a person talks too much, one fails to listen and understand other people's feelings and perspectives on various subjects, etc.
Some people can talk and think at the same time, some people talk only after thinking things over, and some people can talk without thinking. To be able to express ourselves in conversation is essential to have a healthy family life, a meaningful social life, and a smooth working life. But, when to remain silent and when to let actions do its talking requires wisdom, patient, and hard work.
Argument and Discussion
In an argument, people rely on rumors and repetitive rhetoric to make a point without pausing to listen and understand what the others trying to convey. It usually ends in bad feelings, misunderstandings, and no objective accomplishment. In a discussion, each person presents one's view with reason, verifiable facts, and persuasive narratives. The other person waits and listens patiently for one’s turn to do the same. A moderator usually presides the discussion involving a large group to make sure that proper rules are followed and the best ideas are recorded down. Many companies have employed this type of meeting to chart their course of operations and find solutions to their problems.
The wisdom of silence can determine whether a conversation can become an argument or discussion. There is also the thousand years old Chinese wisdom that thinks thoroughly before doing and one out of 3 people around you can have something worthy of learning.
It is natural for a person to:
1) Exaggerate one's abilities to gain new friends, to get a badly needed job, to gain an edge over the competitor in a business deal,
2) Promise to repay a friend’s loan to buy time, to keep an appointment to figure out how to break it later, to meet the work schedule to keep the job, etc.,
3) Spread rumors so that one will not be left out in a peer conversation, to damage the reputation of someone out of jealousy, to twist the fact in one’s favor, etc.
Too many unsubstantiated exaggerations cause a person to lose credibility and trustworthiness. Too many unkept promises make a person unreliable and undependable. Spreading too many harmful rumors chases away friends with integrity and invites unintended adversaries. On the other hand, if a person can learn to be silent for a short while to think ahead about the consequences, many troubles can be avoided.
Freedom of Speech
In a democratic society, everyone is free to speak one’s mind. As a result, our society is constantly bombarded with people’s:
1) Subjective opinions on politics, economics, and other people’s behaviors,
2) Uneducated criticisms on the current sports activities, the latest news, and other people’s ideas,
3) Unconstructive suggestions on how things are run and other people’s accomplishments, etc.
Freedom of speech is protected under the constitution but not without consequences:
1) When a person says something that turns out to be not true and damage the reputation of a company and other people, one can face legal action that can result in capital punishment,
2) When a person says something that is true out of one's moral or religious conviction to challenge how a company operates or how other people live, one can face verbal protest and or social isolation,
3) When a person speaks in a meeting or in public uninvited, a person can be arrested for disturbing the peace.
With more freedom comes increased responsibility. By learning when to remain silent and think before when and where to speak, a person can be a constructive force in society.
Silence Is Golden is true to its meaning. Keeping quiet is not easy especially in a world that emphasizes communication, expression, and information. Silence is considered awkward, annoying, and weak. No question, actions are more important than talking. But, if a person cannot convince others how to accomplish the task, the person will not be given the chance to show what one can do. On the other hand, we live in an age when people are addicted to Breaking News/outrageous ideas/scandalous gossips, and at the same time, some people will try their best to let the world hear their voices. Silence Is Golden is never so important right now as it allows us to maintain a clear mind to filter out the melody from the noise, truth from lie, and gem from a rock.
Silence Is Golden has survived 2000 years of the test of time, the scrutiny of the changing societies, and man's intellectual pursuit. Silence Is Golden means:
1) Knowing when not to speak our mind when reason and logic are drowned out by emotional outburst,
2) Knowing when to suppress the urge to speak so that we can listen and understand what is going on around us,
3) Knowing when to let our actions do the talking instead of the other way around.