Long Live Irony

I should be able to come up with something. Anything. I’ve been thinking of subjects but the only things that come to mind are loose words that have no meaning by themselves, flashing by like [enter something poetic and pretentious].

I’ll just try to give you a sneak peek into the writing I am used to, as you might have seen before, only this time a bit more forced. Also (and this is a warning), I already know I’m going to bitch about something. What that something is I have no idea and what I’m exactly going to say about it won’t become clear until the end. Maybe that will create some sort of bond. Or maybe not, who cares. Let’s get into it!

There is this quote that I find quite interesting: “Wise men speak because they have something to say, fools because they have to say something.” It’s usually attributed to Plato, although just a little bit of research on the Internet makes it quite clear how unclear the actual source is. But the etymology is neither here nor there. The point is: what’s the point? Why talk? One obvious answer: talking is a necessity. We are social beings therefore we act as such, and communication is a big part of that. Also, we need to talk to get out all the thoughts and emotions we have, to process them and bla bla bla. That’s all nice and dandy, but that’s not what I’m referring to. I’m talking about those instances where people talk just to say something, as the mysterious quote states. However, I don’t mean to call anyone a fool. Neither do I wish to call no one a fool. Perhaps we are all just fools clinging onto whatever keeps us busy, distracting us from that big D that’s slowly creeping up on us. I’m just rambling (I am working with a word count here) so I’ll get to my point.

In January I had this course on the subject of archaeology. The assignment at the end of the course was to write a 3000-word essay on a subject you could choose yourself. I didn’t really care for the course so I thought I’d just take a subject for the essay that interests me. It’s important to keep in mind: it interests me, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I have something to say about it. What that subject is doesn’t add anything to this story so I’ll leave that out, but the reason I mention it is due to that essay. I’m not a historian, and definitely not an archaeologist. Still, I had to write an essay of 3000 words. After about 2000 words I was drained. Everything I could think of saying was said. Still there were another 1000 words to go. How? That’s what I wondered, and so I just kept rambling, as many fellow students might recognize. I don’t even know what I wrote down, even though I just finished the essay today (as I am writing this). The fact that I had to come up with 3000 words without knowing neither where those words would end up nor what I wanted them to communicate to the poor teacher having to read all those essays is what got my blood boiling. You could argue that it can be considered a skill, being able to talk extensively about something you have nothing to say about, as if that’s the strange motivation the teacher had for coming up with this assignment. But how is that a productive attribute? Or more importantly: should it be? (I’m thinking, to take one example, of politicians who do nothing else than talk nonsense, I hope most will agree that this tradition should just stop.) I don’t want to say I mastered it after three years of studying philosophy, but let’s imagine I found a job offer where talking bullshit is a prerequisite; I’d be fairly confident in my skills. The only thing is: I’ve never seen any such job offers (if you know of one besides becoming a politician, please do let me know, genuinely).

I should stop my rambling.

I sincerely hope you take my advice: the next time you think you have something to say, think about whether you have to say it because you have to say it, or because you have to say it just to say something. When in doubt just shut it. That’s all I have to say. Don’t be a fool.


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