Wisdom is too high for a fool;
in the gate he does not open his mouth.
The image here is that of men sitting at the gate of a city. This is where the elders of the town gather to discuss the Law and judge disputes. The fool does not join in because he cannot follow the discussion. He cannot comprehend their logic. It is not that they use esoteric words, but that he does not know how to reason and so cannot follow their reasoning. Though they are discussing practical application of the Law, they may as well be speaking of deep mysteries, as far as he is concerned.
This is a growing problem today. Young people are growing up learning to read words without comprehending what is being said. They cannot follow a continual line of argument. The constant exposure and movement of images have added to the problem of deliberate reasoning. This can be seen this in TV and movies in comparison to older shows. The camera angle and focus move much more often. We cannot tolerate a still camera. We lose our focus on what is being communicated.
This affects our whole society. As politicians already know, their task is not to use logic well, but to evoke feelings that make the hearers think they are hearing good reasoning. Sermons are made shorter because hearers cannot listen to a sustained discourse for a long period unless the sermon is propped with changing visual images.
We have the capacity to reason well, but with media relying on emotional manipulation to communicate and the education system dumbing down what is being taught, we are becoming fools unable to comprehend wise discourse. If only we would then be silent at the gate. Instead, we are taught to open our mouths more loudly so that folly can be heard by all.
© 2021 Tenth Presbyterian Church.
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Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By D. Marion Clark. © 2021 Tenth Presbyterian Church. Website: tenth.org