The essence of social cohesion is manifested through interpersonal communication. The impact of the ever-present media of this era causes distress and confusion among individuals as cultural leaders and those who comment on them exaggerate and distort what is occurring–this is commonly termed “fake news”. This phenomenon is not just expressed by populist political leaders; it is also embedded in the oppositional commentary in the mass media. For the vast majority of us, divisiveness and interpersonal conflict intrude on our attempts to cultivate harmony in our relationships–in families, business relationships, among friends and with others whose differences in skin color, country of origin or religious conviction are different. Because of the stresses of increased world population, ecological crisis and the migration of war and terror refugees, we are confronted with the challenge of finding ways to relate to others with a sense of kindness, compassion and charity, even with those who have radically different perceptions and intentions. During the talk Buddhist principles and practices related to Right Speech were described and related to what modern psychological and sociological insights have to offer regarding skillful use of listening and respectful speech to negotiate the new social norms required in a diverse cultural setting. This review was followed by discussion of applications of Right Speech in the lives of those attending.
Here are the notes prepared for this evening’s talk: Wholesome Speech In Trying Times