This morning I was reading from Saint Augustine’s The City of God and in Book II he quotes Cicero’s work De Republica where the author praises the Roman magistrates decision in banning praise and blame of a living person on stage. Augustine wrote;
”Cicero makes some further remarks, and concludes the passage by showing that the ancient Romans did not permit any living man to be either praised or blamed on the stage.”
Was this ruling a success? Did it ensure that people were given the benefit of trial within the courts of law?
Probably not. People love to talk. We love to share our opinions about how great or how wretched someone or something is in our lives.
There is a certain wisdom here that Cicero is hoping that people will recognize; entertainment is powerful and does a lot shape public opinion. So much so that it makes it difficult to grant someone a fair trail with a jury of one’s peers.
We say that we are objective, but how many of our opinions on an alleged event are built on our newsertainment or dramatic/satirical recreations of the moment in question?
I am not saying that we need to censor or tread upon the First Amendment. I love watching satire and newsertainment.
What I am aware of this morning is that I need to check myself before drawing conclusions. Am I only listening to those voices that share my bias, my own emotional response? If so, what might i be missing? What pieces of information am I ignoring, because it is funnier to rip up and tear down in absurd fashion those whom I disagree with or who think differently than me?
Listening can be hard today. Everyone claims their point of view is 100% correct, which can’t be true.
Proverbs 8: 12-13
”I, wisdom, dwell together with prudence; I possess knowledge and discretion. to fear the LORD is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech.”
If I am willing to humble myself and my opinions enough to listen to others I believe that I am on the right path.
Help to hear and listen. Lead me to love knowledge, prudence and discretion while I shun pride, arrogance, and perverse speech. AMEN.