A Simple Thought – Sunday, 12th December 2021

Talk is Cheap.

This particular piece is certainly going to annoy many people, for we already exist in noisy spaces today. This, say the so-called conspiracists (Marxism’s anti-thesis, you think?), is part of a grand design to ensure we stay away from the contemplation of reflection, that will make us question events around us. But that is not even the subject at hand this time around.

It is not just on social media (I had tried to coin this term in the early 2000s to be ‘Digital barazas’), but everywhere you go, it is the enigma of our societies to see how freely and loosely we are talking about each other and third parties. Person A visits person B as a goodwill gesture, then turns to Group 1 (social group) and narrates in cinemascopic detail, the placement, the disposition, and mannerisms of B’s home and family. Then a member of Group 1 goes home or to his workplace, meets other familiar faces, and relates the story of A’s adventures, and this is where the mutation is set off at an unprecedented rate, of talk begetting more talk.

Folks believe in earnest that this is the demand of our time, it is networking, connecting, and just being out there, but is it? Does it not violate the privacies of others and their families that trust you? Does it not amount to backbiting and generating disharmony through inducing forced opinions? and of course, how would you feel if you were B?

Excessive talkativeness also appears in how we extrapolate our thoughts onto social media. Again, we tell each other it is about branding, but more often than not, it is bragging or attention-seeking at best. And let me not be the one to spoil the party. Science tells us that Hyperverbal speech may show up as a symptom of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or anxiety. If you have anxiety, you might talk more than usual or speak very quickly when you feel most nervous. It is not uncommon to see those with bipolar disorder excessively talk about the self. Manic episodes lead to discussing accomplishments, goals, plans at great length. Speech of this type is often grandiose and less realistic. Then there are those with narcissistic personality disorders who talk a lot about their abilities and what they have accomplished, all so that they can attract the attention of important people that they know.

Other than that there is insecurity which is also a sign of immatureness and a lack of emotional intelligence. Too much talking makes people able to listen less and do less, hence the consequential failure of societies to meet their goals.

Finally, as Muslims, we cannot harp each meaningful day that we are the followers of the Holy infallible, rather earn about their ways and emulate to the best of our abilities. Because talk is so cheap, it opens up a pandora’s box for the enemies of Islam to antagonise us as we get entangled in our long-winded habits of chatter.

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About the author

Mohamedarif is a marketing professional and educationalist with a penchant for writing as a hobby since childhood. As he experimented writing about sporting events at first and then current affairs, he quickly developed a skill for observation of his environment and began to write on reform topics, especially in connection with the community. To further feed his pursuit of writing, he founded several newsletters and bulletins at his school and at the Husayni Madrasah in the 1980's, all the time learning from others already in the field not just about writing, but also about pre-press and production processes. He was also the editor-in-chief of the Knowledge Magazine in 1995–1996. A decade later, importing a flurry of ideas into his new home, Nairobi, he first founded a two page community newspaper then became a regular writer of the Friday Faculty before establishing the Community on Friday, a fully fledged Madrasah magazine in 1996. And while his writing at the community continued, he simultaneously started writing for a business weekly, pairing in with his newfound role as a marketing professional. During his time in Nairobi, he wrote several speeches for sitting chairmen and presidents while also giving some himself, developing his concurrent role as a public speaker and trainer.

With changing times and a decrease in advertising sponsorship, as well as a fall in overall readership, Mohamedarif transformed this publication into an electronic blog. Thus was born the Community on Friday in its present format.

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