In Book III, Chapter Four of the second volume of “The Lord of the Rings” titled “The Two Towers”, Merry and Pippin meet Fangorn or Treebeard in the course of their adventures and the Ents, as Treebeard and his kind are called, decide to put an end to Saruman’s ongoing ravaging of the trees in Fangorn Forest. One of the things Treebeard says to Merry and Pippin is this:
“I am not going to tell you my name, not yet at any rate.’ A queer half-knowing, half-humorous look came with a green flicker into his eyes. ‘For one thing it would take a long while: my name is growing all the time, and I’ve lived a very long, long time; so my name is like a story. Real names tell you the story of things they belong to in my language, in the Old Entish as you might say. It is a lovely language, but it takes a very long time saying anything in it, because we do not say anything in it, unless it is worth taking a long time to say, and to listen to.”
The main reason I am quoting this here is to highlight that we have become so used to sound bytes that we fail to realize that if we do not handle them properly, then sound bytes become sound bites, and we are the ones to get bitten, because we do not go beyond Stage I Thinking. We hear what we think we like and want and just pick up what we hear and run with it. Unlike Treebeard, we do not stop and think through what we think we have heard in order to make sure that it is what we actually believe in, know to be true, right and just, and what we actually both want and need.
Do you believe that people in general have short attention spans? Really? Do we need to be afraid of getting “cancelled” on social media? Why, how many real friends do you have on social media? Or do you simply want to exert undue influence over others the way you yourself are influenced by some “social media influencers”?
Pause. Start taking the time to mull over, think through, bounce off someone else, topics that are important to you. Not what other people say should be important to you, but what is really important to YOU.