Delving into the Intangibles


   One mouth, Two ears  
     
 

Our mouth is active throughout the day, except while we are asleep. On second thoughts, besides eating and talking, we have to breathe, so we are actually using it 24 hours. We have only one mouth, but considering its various functions, it would not be so unreasonable for us to have two mouths: one leading to the esophagus, the other to the bronchial tubes. If this were the case, the danger of aspiration pneumonia would be eradicated: a 120% safety guarantee for the elderly.

Humans are born talkers––women more so than men, allegedly. In reality, gentlemen are as good at talking as ladies, although I would grant there is a subtle "difference" in the way it is conducted.

A woman chats spontaneously, endlessly talking, talking, talking, and hardly sparing the time to take a breath. Her “girl talk” frequently jumps from one topic to another; while simultaneously eating like crazy, she exercises the muscles around her lipstick-stained, wide-open mouth, showing bleached white teeth. A modern witch or monster of the Heisei era, you say? Nevertheless, she seems to be an improvement on married women of the Edo period who would dye their teeth black.

By contrast, men’s talk is relatively logical: “thinking aloud,” so to speak. Probably this is because they are cautious not to lose face by the way they talk or what they say. Or perhaps it was drilled into them from boyhood by their parents: “A real man should keep silent and avoid uttering unnecessary words.”

To be honest, I'm sick and tired of panelists in television debates who are forever critical of others, repeatedly attacking their opponents’ motives as false and mistaken. And there are those other people who are very careful to stand up for nothing, by speaking in a neutral and evasive way. I never want to listen to either of these types, even though I’m blessed with two ears!

If I find that a panelist’s words are worth listening to, I will sit in front of the television with pen and paper, taking notes, trying not to miss the opportunity.

We must always ask ourselves: Are these commentators really communicating their own original way of thinking? We must be wise enough not to waste our precious time. It is important to assess immediately whether their words are anything more than a byproduct of refutation, opposition, or emotion. I would feel ashamed if I, like them, were merely offering my readers a hollow experience.

If a commentator’s words are carefully considered and mature, I like to keep them in mind, and cherish them. Indeed, they can become a source of Intangible power for the listener. In such cases, I imagine it wouldn’t be so bad to have more than two ears.

Temporizing words blurted out from the mouth cannot be withdrawn or changed. Even in casual daily conversation, the same blunder can happen. I prefer meaningful conversation, even between close friends or family members. But it is often difficult to keep a moderate distance: conversation conducted in this manner tends to become jerky because people sharing a close relationship tend to want to say as much as they feel. I wish there were a way to switch between two mouths: a private one and a public one.

For world leaders, words, which have both magical and evil powers, can be the most lethal weapons in their arsenal. To a considerable degree, the same is true in the workplace, where hierarchical relationships mean everything: a slip of the tongue, once made, cannot be taken back.

Words have tremendous Intangible power. They expose the speaker in every respect: dignity, education, intelligence, knowledge, and breeding. Depending on how you use words, you can encourage, cheer up, and give hope to others, or you can instantly hurt them beyond recovery. Words can be as priceless as gemstones; but remember, they can also be deadly weapons.

Once someone has spoken, he must take responsibility for his words. If we ignore this rule, and irresponsible people are allowed to go on misleading the public, the world will collapse into total disorder.

In the final analysis, isn’t one mouth better than two? Given what we know about human nature, it would seem great care was taken when fitting us with just one mouth. Recently, I became hard of hearing because of my age. I still have two ears, but having grown a bit wiser, I am able to pretend sometimes not to hear. Does this mean we can judiciously chart a way to a more worthwhile life according to how we use our mouth and ears?

Tomorrow being a holiday, I came up with the wild idea of seeing how long I could stand having an adhesive tape across my mouth. You can buy "easy to peel off" tape at stationary shops almost anywhere in the world. As a bonus, with my mouth taped up I cannot eat, which might help me keep the weight off.

“Let’s get smart with adhesive tape,” anywhere, anytime––even while watching TV at home.

Come to think of it, why don’t I register this phrase ASAP for some future business?

 
                                                        K.Yamakawa