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Hawthorn Hill

January 24, 2013

Think before you speak, tweet

One of our dearest and most valued gifts is our ability to both think about and talk about ourselves. That is the gift of language. I have always felt that every living thing has some sort of language, but we are so lucky to be able to communicate through speech and writing. 

I spend a fair amount of time wrestling with the latter. When it is working, life is good. When it is not going so well, which has been the case lately, turning to other tasks for a time seems to do the trick. My wont during these funks is to steep myself in mostly physical activities. As I said to my neighbor John last week while we were stacking firewood underneath the protective cover of my new woodshed roof, these hours outside slogging wood to the woodshed by sled and 36-year-old wheelbarrow bereft of its sides and front, have served as writing down time that have resulted in the effortless recapture of ideas, this time replete with the trappings of meaning, relevance and content. 

Ideas come and go. Ideas worth thinking about and, perhaps, writing about, are rare. The rarity of thought worth sharing appears to be a minority view these days. Given the predominance of all manner of social media, we live in an age when speech precedes thought. This has led to what I consider to be a denigration of the beauty and power of language. Technology is the tail wagging the dog.

Millions of people now have the ability to hurl thoughtless gibberish at one another. A few weeks ago while listening to the radio, a young woman, obviously articulate and bright, told of seeing something on television she described as utterly ridiculous. She then tweeted something equally ridiculous to a friend about what she had seen. The imprudent first thoughts of politicians and other public figures are often posted online and shared on television newscasts without any thought given to their value or relevance. 

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