As a conclusion to the Year, I looked again to some of Saint Ignatius’ writings as offered in this resource. Particular points from his letter to Jesuits who attended the Council of Trent seemed relevant for today’s overheated culture of social media. Do you think they fit? Here goes:
I would be slow to speak and careful to listen, keeping still in order to grasp and understand the speaker’s ideas, feelings, and inclinations, so as the better to respond or keep silence.
This is in keeping with the 22nd annotation. It seems easier to attach the best interpretation when our minds and mouths aren’t cluttered with our own running commentary.
Here’s another great idea:
In discussions of these or other topics, I would mention arguments for both sides, so as not to appear attached to my own judgment, taking care not to leave anyone annoyed.
One probably isn’t getting anywhere in diplomacy, negotiation, or simple understanding if one can’t bring oneself to state the opposing views.
I would not appeal to any persons’ authority, particularly if they are important, unless the matters have been very carefully thought through; I would keep on good terms with everyone and avoid all partisanship.
If the points being discussed are so right that one cannot or should not keep silent, I would express my view as calmly and humbly as possible, and conclude with “in the absence of a better opinion.”
Or ABO? That’s a social media acronym that might need wider exposure and use.