Mark Zuckerberg’s speeches are masterclasses in how to talk but say nothing. His speeches are notable for being affectless, dissociative, circular and noncommittal. I think he does this because it is no longer possible for him to say anything for fear or reprisal or cancellation. The stock price is sensitive to his speech. He know what he is doing is wrong, but won’t say so. Because he is being forced to speak when he wants to stay silent. And because politicians and business people–like all of us, now– instantly know the nature of the response. We get likes or retweets. We get sentiment analyses, feedback, commentary. It is almost too costly to speak to a general public any more. Silence is more golden than ever before.
What should you do when confronted with Nothing Talk? Ignore the speaker and stop listening to them. Look only at their actions, divorced from their speech. Pay attention to other people who are actually speaking. Learn to disagree better. Stop cancelling people. Do like Rumi does: Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing, and right-doing, there is a field. I will meet you there.