"I have really nothing at all to say today, but of course I'm not going to let that stop me from rattling on. There's a word for this condition: "Logorrhea," the excessive use of words. Logorrhea is generally used in conjunction with the bonehead at a party who just will not shut up (although if you go to parties where people are the type to use this word in casual conversation, logorrhea will be the least of your problems), but it reasonably applies here as well. Look, I've written a whole paragraph about the fact I have nothing interesting to say. Someone stop me before I write another one."

John Scalzi (Columnist)


LOGORRHEA

As humorous as the above thought may be, there is a more serious side of it. It is a side we could call rape. You see, when people usurp dominion in conversation, it can be the same as being raped, verbally, that is, and we all have had the horrid experience more times than we can count. These intrusive acts take place when people force themselves upon you, and very often they believe you must be enjoying it as much as they are. If they only knew; but if they did -- would that stop them? Probably not.

Overpowering words are intrusive, violating, and extremely exhausting. I suppose a better word of this, rather than verbal rape, would be logorrhea, as noted above. Notwithstanding, I am reminded of something Solomon wrote: "A continual dropping in a very rainy day and a contentious woman are alike" (Prov 27:15). The Hebrew for "contentious" carries the thought of a contest; to rule; to control. This is what one does whether it is physical or verbal rape.

Conversation can be like a love relationship, a discourse that involves receiving as well as giving. It is not just one sided. We must feel the spirit of the occasion, and if it is not the occasion to speak, then let us generate the spirit that will present the occasion. When that has been accomplished, and we see that the hearer has opened his or her door to us -- then we can share what is burning in our hearts. But during this sharing, we should not forget to pause between thoughts to give the other the opportunity to enter into the conversation. If what we have has great worth, like a diamond, it will keep. Let the others also give while we receive, and the occasion will grow with life. Otherwise, only one side receives any satisfaction, while the other is left feeling beaten, exhausted, used, and yes, even raped.

If it is not verbal rape, it can be the same as with children who have not learned the amenities of conversation. In the same manner, they demand everyone's attention when they enter the room. Sadly, if the basic code of fellowship is not grasped, they will invariably drive many from their presence, even their own family members. And this should not be; for even though they often have a wonderful word to share, their timing and delivery can be so wrong -- as a rapist or an unlearned child. Neither should be deemed a virtue.

Let us all take heed and remember: "There is...A time to keep silence, and a time to speak;" (Eccl 3:7). "...My beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath." (James 1:19). "A prudent man keeps his knowledge to himself, but the heart of fools blurts out folly." (Prov 12:23 NIV). "He who guards his lips guards his life, but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin." (Prov 13:3). "He that hath knowledge spareth his words: and a man of understanding is of an excellent spirit." (Prov 17:27). "A man hath joy by the answer of his mouth: and a word spoken in due season, how good is it!" (Prov 15:23). "A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver. (Prov 25:11). "The words of a man's mouth are as deep waters, and the wellspring of wisdom as a flowing brook." (Prov 18:4).

It would do us well to also etch deeply into our minds the following: "A fool's mouth is his destruction, and his lips are the snare of his soul." (Prov 18:7). For "A man's belly shall be satisfied with the fruit of his mouth; and with the increase of his lips shall he be filled. Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof." (Prov 18:20-21).

How dreadful it is when the issues of one's heart is an assault upon others, which in turn brings death to them as well. For whatsoever proceeds from one's lips, life or death, that is the meat same they must also eat. Therefore, lest we be lacking and found guilty of invading one's soul with assailing words, let us receive counsel: "Bow down thine ear, and hear the words of the wise, and apply thine heart unto my knowledge. For it is a pleasant thing if thou keep them within thee; they shall withal be fitted in thy lips" (Prov 22:17-18).

Have you ever noticed how the wise have very little to say unless they are asked or encouraged to speak? Even then, they speak few words; but those few words have great weight. But the unlearned always have something to say, which literally wears out the saints. However, if they should take the advice of the above verse by keeping the words of the wise within them for a season, the words will become a very part of them, and a proper time will present itself to where they can speak fitting words of life, like apples of gold in pictures of silver (Prov 25:11).

Please take thought and hold these words near: "The ear that heareth the reproof of life abideth among the wise." (Prov 15:31). And "He that refuseth instruction despiseth his own soul: but he that heareth reproof getteth understanding" (Prov 15:32). For "Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding" (Prov 17:28). Although I understand this, I must say that I do not always abide by Solomon's wise counsel.

A quote we have surely heard in one form or another: "If you are concerned that people might think you are a fool for having nothing to say, why open your mouth and remove all doubt?" And now, one last word of advice-- when you are bombarded with volleys of rambling words by those suffering from logorrhea, do as a trapped coyote will do -- start gnawing on your arm! Who knows they might get the subtle hint and cease from their continual dropping as in a very rainy day before you chew all the way through.

by Elwin R. Roach


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