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(Spartans) they conceal their wisdom, and pretend to be blockheads, so that they may seem to be superior only because of their prowess in battle … This is how you may know that I am speaking the truth and that the Spartans are the best educated in philosophy and speaking: if you talk to any ordinary Spartan, he seems to be stupid, but eventually, like some expert marksman, he shoots in some brief remark that proves you to be only a child.

Socrates

In ancient Greece, Spartans, unlike Athenians, used to speak with a few words and only when it was needed to speak. Athenians, were talking just too much: they invented (Socrates did) the “dialectic“.

Where are you from?

The Athenian way of talking (talking too much) is what a politician should follow. Trying to persuade, using various means of approach, telling lies, generally isn’t how I like to act. I don’t like politicians: that’s for sure!

The Spartans choose to say what they want to say in a single phrase. Not too many words. Now, what is the benefit of this behavior? Spartans were war-machines, as you probably know. And that causes every aspect of their life to be influenced by their war tactics: Not many words = Not many opportunities for someone to find a gap in their “verbal fortress”. It’s an absolute defense on words. And also, they may let their opponent underestimate their intelligence: That gives them a great opportunity to strike where they weren’t expected to.

Now, us!

How many time did you find yourself in a difficult situation just because you said more that you should have? Me, many!

How many times did you find yourself disrespected just because you talked a lot and then the others thought that you were asking for their attention? Lots!

Talking only when it’s needed to, not only helps you avoid many mistakes, but also makes your image a lot more mysterious and respected.

Anyway…

Don’t be snob or boring: These are different things. Definitely talk with everyone, just try to not to talk just for the talking. Many times, being silent says more than talking.

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  1. […] are dead? Posted in Uncategorized by afteryouwakeup on June 12th, 2008 Let’s get is laconic: Philosophers are […]

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