In many cases, choosing not to speak is more powerful than choosing to speak. Take for example an unexpected verbal assault launched by either a stranger or a person you know and trust. The first instinct for many Americans is to go on the defensive and respond in kind, using violent or aggressive words. Such a response, however, feeds power to the attacker; it shows him that his target will dance to his tune and respond to injury with injury.
One method for retaining personal power in such a situation is to stay silent. Even a brief pause - taken to gather the wits - is likely to throw off the offender. Nine times out of ten he will make a fool of himself should his anger sit out there in the aether, unanswered. His one-sided aggressive energy will soon sour, leading to visible changes in his physical appearance such as bulging eyes, a reddened face, and balled-up fists.
Most of the world’s major religious teachings encourage their followers to requite injury with kindness, to steer clear of wrong, to turn the other cheek. In his book Man’s Search For Meaning, Viktor Frankl reiterates this point. A victim of injustice perpetrated by the Nazis, he reminds his readers that though they may wallow under the harshest of imaginable conditions, in order to remain human they should stick to kindness, mercy, and nonviolence. Though this suggestion may fly in the face of the social standards of many Western industrial societies, I urge you, dear reader, to give it a try. Aho, mahalo, and om swastiastu!
americanifesto / JPR / whorphan / 場黑