In Plutarch’s Essay, “On Listening”, he teaches that “speech contains both injuries and benefits in the largest measure.”
Throughout our day to day lives we hear people shouting at us to go one way or another and sometimes it’s hard to determine what we should and should not follow. Some of the things we hear can hurt us; we can be influenced by flattering words and be steered in a direction that can lead us to harm, instead of bringing us closer to truth. However, some of the things we hear can aid us in coming nearer to the truth. We can hear inspiring quotes or lessons that can help us realize what we have been doing wrong or could be doing better.
With all of the things we hear, how can we tell what we should and should not follow? We listen. Not only need we listen, we must listen well enough that we can recognize when what is being said is helpful or harmful. Overall, be a seeker of truth. In order to do that you cannot, simply listen to one thing and be content with only that. Keep your mind open, but be cautious so you will not be swayed by enticing words. Plutarch also said that “success is not due to chance or accident, but to care, diligence, and study.” We cannot expect to gain knowledge and obtain truth if we don’t care enough to listen, be diligent enough to follow up, or study enough to decide what is true. The amount of success we have is based solely on the amount of work we put forth. I encourage you to listen to all that is being said around you, be cautious, and seek truth. By doing so, you will come closer to personal liberty and virtue and be able to know for a certainty what is true.