The Power of Silence

Silence is communication and it is underestimated by too many.

Illustrating this on the below example and at the same time making you think about the context of the clip should increase your awareness that silence is actually is a communication with the same significance as the verbal one.
The ability to use it and recognise it properly is however something, which needs practice.

The following clip can be found on YouTube with the discussion regarding women’s pay: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V93SnwWN0gc

At some point the man in this video tells the woman: “You’d be much happier at home with husband and kids” (rather than working). The third person involved is the host.

Details of these three people are shown below:

The woman is attorney and Fox News analyst Tamara Holder.

  • The man is Writer and co-founder of Vice Media Gavin McInnes
  • The host is Sean Hannity.
  • The context and the reactions were intriguing enough to write this post about it. However, this writing will not focus on the context of the conversation but is directed towards the reactions and responses from the individuals.
  • The following reactions and responded occurred as you have seen;
  • the woman shocked about Gavin McInnes direct statements
  • the man completely secure about his statement and felt the power of being in the “higher position”
  • the host reacting with silence and embarrassed laughs.

Although, as most can fully understand the distressed situation the lady is, the feeling of disappointment about her reaction or lack of counter arguments does not leave. Watching a clip and waiting for Tamara Holder to provide convincing points or dismantle his arguments, which never occur leaves her as the “victim” of the argument. Perhaps she would have used good counter arguments if she would have been calmer and her left brain half would have kicked in at some point. For the time being her responses were: “!!!!!??!!!???” (Question marks symbolise pleads to the host several times).

One of Gavin McInnes first sentences started with “As you have told me, you are single….”. His other sentences are strong statements and have the shock factor but the sentence stated could have been the contributed significantly to her being upset and unable to respond properly.

To clarify the above mentioned point; His statement suggests that before the show they had a conversation and at some point he either asked or she told him that she is single. The following scenario could have happened; he asked: “Are you in a relationship?”. She responded with a “No”.
As we have all experienced at some moment in our lives this conversation did not stop there. The questioner’s curious eyes display usually after a “No” the desire to know more and that a simple “No” will not satisfy this curiosity. Most people tend to give in and provide more information on the response.

Going back to the main characters; assuming the above scenario a temporary “relationship” is built due to the entrustment of personal information to another human being. Then this “attack” on her position combined with the knowledge that she had given him previously information could have caused the feeling of being betrayed. This could be the root of her lack of response and obviously the main message, which he communicated.

Another point is that she asks several times during this clip for help to the host. The host responds to her pleads.
Didn’t you recognise his responses? Don’t you see the embarrassed laughs and the silence as a response? Why not? Because he does not clearly state “Actually, I agree with him.” which is crystal clear throughout this clip.

Why do people have to explicitly state everything? Why can’t a simple gesture, mimic, a noise or silence be enough of a response and people are expected to say everything aloud?

I never understood why silence as a response is being underestimated so much.

The pause or the moment of silence should help the other person to think before continuing speaking or reflect on his talking partner or himself. It is clear that there are people who are “silence talkers”. Silence does not mean automatically being too shy to respond or being afraid to answer back. It can mean that the person does not agree with your point but does want you to embarrass you by stating it or agrees with you and therefore let’s you speak.

The social sites (twitter, facebook etc) do also lead to the lack of reflection on ourselves and the environment because these sites serve us to write about any thought or feeling. The consequences of sharing our every thought and feeling are described in the following article:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/authentic-engagement/201201/the-power-silence

Another interesting article by Steven Taylor is about the silence and the impact it has. He states that we are becoming afraid of  the silence and that due to the missing silence we are losing the touch to our true self’s: http://www.stevenmtaylor.com/essays/the-power-of-silence/

How many people do come home and they find it too silent that they need to turn on immediately the radio or the TV when they are alone at home?

Mostly this is caused through our society. The advertisements shown on billboards, tvs, radios and everywhere else subconsciously or consciously explicitly order us to do things. These messages cannot be misinterpreted on what the core message is and on what they want us to do. This most likely has weakened our ability to “read” into situations, which means basically that our empathy ability has diminished significantly.

Some examples of the advertisements /orders are the following:
– Use this cream
– Go shopping there
– Buy this
– Travel here
– Get your nose done
– Try this out

The list continues on and on.

“I ain’t going to receive any orders from no one” has been said by many but has been followed by few.

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