Two ears AND only one mouth? Why not a mouth for each ear? Why does your broadcaster (mouth) consist of one and your receivers (ears, nostrils, and eyes) consist of two. Of course, your sense of touch has “multi-receivers” from almost every part of your body. But, again, we each have only one major broadcaster – a mouth. Wow!
So, why did you evolve or were created this way – two ears, two nostrils, and two eyes, but with only one mouth? I realize that there may be a “good” scientific and/or religious reason, but for this post I am going to keep my reason(s) more philosophical.
“We have two ears, so we will listen twice as much as we speak?“ That quote is from the Greek Philosopher, Epictetus who lived around 100 AD. What about the other senses, such as, two nostrils – to smell twice as much as you speak? Two eyes – to see twice as much as you speak? And, multi-ways to touch – to feel many times more than you speak?
I think to be able to speak with ONE and to receive (listen, smell, see, touch) with TWO or MORE is an interesting relationship. We have other systems in our lives that reflect this same concept of receiving more than giving. Consider the act of learning. Many times we have to receive much more than we are able to give. I know, personally, that when I had to write a research paper, I would receive (and process) much more than I would actually give – demonstrated by my end-product, the research paper. How about the amount of “news” all of us receive from the news media and the amount of news we actually give the news media? From my point of view, the imbalance is greatly skewed toward receiving much more than what is given. Compare how many times you are involved with something that is newsworthy and the number of times you receive something that the news media deems newsworthy. I think you will find it to be heavily weighted toward receiving what they give, instead of the media receiving what you give. Come on, you know it’s that way! :-)
Let’s go back to the Epictetus quote and focus on the language arts’ use of our ears and mouth – listening and speaking. Should we listen more than we speak? I don’t think there should be a hard and fast rule stating that, BUT we should consider that as a long-term goal. In other words, we should always be willing to set aside our egos and just listen. When someone is talking to you, it is respectful and proper to listen. Actually, the act of listening allows you to outwardly give the gift of your presence. It’s a way to demonstrate that you are “present in the present!”
So, let’s take a cue from the fact that we have two ears and one mouth – let’s listen twice a much as we speak!
Why do we have two ears, eyes, and nostrils, but only one mouth? To listen, look, and smell twice as much as we speak! :-)