The Fool Speaks, and the Wise Listen

The Fool Speaks, and the Wise Listen

CSS 2023 Solved Essay | The Fool Speaks, and the Wise Listen

Minahil Mohsin, a student of Sir Syed Kazim Ali, has attempted the CSS 2023 essay “The Fool Speaks, and the Wise Listen” on the given pattern, which Sir Syed Kazim Ali teaches his students. Sir Syed Kazim Ali has been Pakistan’s top English writing and CSS, PMS essay and precis coach with the highest success rate of his students. The essay is uploaded to help other competitive aspirants learn and practice essay writing techniques and patterns to qualify for the essay paper.

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1- Introduction

People who speak without a check make a fool of themselves in others’ eyes. They lack sensitivity and insight and thus know not when they must put a halt to their talking. On the other hand, wisdom breeds patience, and intellectual people are considerate towards others’ opinions for the sake of self-growth.

2- Understanding the African Proverb

3- Why is Speaking Much Considered the Trait of Fools?

  • Lack of Receptivity and Sensitivity
    • Lack of Sense About When to Stay Quiet in People Without Knowledge and Insight
      • “Any Fool Can Criticize, Condemn and Complain, And Most Fools Do.” – Benjamin Franklin
  • Have No Interest in Learning
    • Talking Merely for The Sake of Talking, Not Learning
      • “You Are Not Learning Anything When You Are Talking.” – Lyndon B. Johnson
  • Are Insecure
    • Shortage of Knowledge Leaving Loopholes in Speech
      • “People Who Keep Talking Talk, For They Are Scared of Getting Silent and Being Proven Wrong.” – Democritus
  • Are Quick-Tempered
    • Reacting Quickly in a Negative Manner Because of a Dearth of Comprehending Different Opinions
      • “When Fools Speak, the Wise Listen, But When the Wise Speak, the Fools Argue.” – Noam Chomsky
  • Possessing a Tendency to Hold High Opinions of Themselves
    • Considering Themselves Right Leading to a Disregard for Everybody Else
      • Political Parties and Politicians Criticizing Each Other on Irrational Grounds

4- Why is Listening Considered the Wise’s Priority?

  • On the Individual Level
    • Improving Critical Thinking Skills and Memory by Active Listening
      • Case in Point: Mahatma Gandhi, who sought out diverse perspectives to inform his own beliefs and actions
  • On the Domestic Level
    • Gaining Knowledge, Insights, and Understanding
      • Case in Point: Good Communication – The Key to a Successful Marriage
  • On the Professional Level
    • Interacting with a Superior with a Learning Attitude to Gain Maximum Advantage
      • Case in Point: Good Communication Between a Doctor and Patient is Crucial to Proper Diagnosis and Treatment
  • On the Institutional Level
    • Listening to Employees and Giving Them Importance In
      • Case in Point: Research Proving that Employees Who Feel Heard and Valued by Their Managers Are Four Times More Likely to be Satisfied with their Jobs and Perform Better
  • On the Organizational Level
    • Understanding Others’ Perspectives to Broaden Own Horizon, Develop Empathy and Collaboration, Resolve Conflicts, and Clarify Misconceptions
      • Case in Point: A Mentor-Mentee Relationship, Where the Mentor Shares his Expertise, and the Mentee Actively Listens and Learns
  • On the Global Level
    • Listening to Multiple Perspectives Helping Make Informed Decisions and Improve Relationships
      • Case in Point: The World Bank’s Mediation to Resolve the Water Conflict Between Pakistan and India

5- How Could Good Listening Skills Be Instilled in Men?

  • By Being Present with the One Speaking
  • By Developing a Learning Attitude
  • By Not Waiting to Talk and Acting Wisely
  • By Choosing a Response Carefully

6- Is Speaking Always a Foolish and Listening Always a Wise Thing to do? A Critical Analysis

  • Speaking
    • Showing Charisma and Charm – A Sign of Leadership
    • Speaking Without Thinking at Times Brought About by Excitement, Adding Energy to a Conversation
  • Listening
    • Listening at Length, Often Difficult, Draining, and Boring
    • Listening to Counter Arguments, a Challenging Feat

7- Conclusion

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The primary source of human communication, speech, is the crucial tool that can make or break a man’s personality. People who speak without a check make a fool of themselves in others’ eyes. They lack sensitivity and insight and thus know not when they must halt their talking. Moreover, they hold such a high opinion of themselves – evident in politicians’ speeches worldwide – that merely talking for the sake of talking becomes the sole purpose of their lives. On the other hand, wisdom breeds patience. Intellectual people are considerate towards others’ opinions for the sake of self-growth. For instance, Gandhi is known to seek out diverse perspectives to develop his own beliefs and ideas. Not only this, but good listeners can also foster positive personal and professional relationships. Nevertheless, it is not always the case that the talkers are fools and listeners, wise, for adept speech is a quality of skilful leaders, and listening for hours on end can drain a person of his energy and make him grumpy. However, being a good listener when the speakers are wise is a much-needed skill that can be developed by developing a learning and receptive attitude. This and only this can help the masses avoid regrets and misconceptions arising from unbridled speech. This essay elaborates on why speaking is a fool’s and listening to a wise person’s priority and how could good listening skills be instilled in men to promote a culture of productivity.

“A wise man speaks because he has something to say; a fool because he has to say something.”


The given statement is a proverb originated in Africa. Literally, it means that a senseless person is prone to speaking at length while he, with a sagacious mind, tends to stay quiet and listen to those speaking around or to him. The former is so busy speaking that he hardly finds any time to think, but the latter considers active listening his biggest strength that he uses to win over people.

To elaborate, fools are very low on the spectra of receptivity and sensitivity. Where a wise person is able to assess a situation and analyze whether he needs to speak or stay quiet, a stupid person just knows how to go on and on all occasions. He lacks the knowledge and insight about any given topic of discussion, and thus, his words are nothing but mumbo-jumbo. Benjamin Franklin elaborates it by saying, “Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain, and most fools do.” It means that speaking at length is the common trait of fools. Hence, foolish people lack the sense to consider the time, place, and company before speaking.

Next to it, fools have little interest in learning new things. They mindlessly talk about whatever goes on in their head, contrary to wise people who always look forward to spending a productive time listening to others to get different perspectives. As unwise people are indifferent to gaining knowledge, they talk merely for the sake of talking. As former American President Lyndon B. Johnson has said, “You are not learning anything when you are talking”, fools possess little knowledge and insight. Thus, fools speak because they do not want to learn anything by listening.

Moreover, foolish people are insecure by nature. They are always conscious of not giving others a chance to prove them wrong. They are not like wise people whose words are weighed and calculated but like chatterboxes that simply do not know when to pause. And it is nature’s rule that the more one talks the more there are chances of his getting off the track and saying wrong things. Democritus has advocated for the same by saying, “People who keep talking talk, for they are scared of getting silent and being proven wrong.” It is, indeed, true that if there are loopholes in their utterance, fools will avoid getting quiet and giving others a chance to ridicule them. So, unintelligent people are scared of being called out for their mistakes.

Owing to their non-stop chain of meaningless talks, mindless people find themselves stuck in the shackles of naivety. Where wise people listen to others’ opinions, fools fail to develop a sense of reasoning and respecting others’ perspectives because they are not used to listening to anybody else. Thus, the moment they are confronted with somebody holding an opinion opposite or even slightly different to theirs, they become ready to blow a fuse. They react very quickly and extremely negatively, the reason for which is well-explained in Noam Chomsky’s words, “When fools speak, the wise listen, but when the wise speak, the fools argue.” It means that fools have little space in their brains to accommodate alien ideas. So, foolish people are quite irascible and easily annoyed.

Finally, all these traits make the fools indulge in a false belief of them being perfect beings. They never even entertain the fact that they might be wrong, unlike wise people who are always overtaken by self-doubt. Fools hold their own opinions so high that they outright disregard and reject any opposing perspectives. A vivid description of this fact is the political system around the globe. In every developing democracy, politicians consider it their sole duty to criticize and find faults with their opponents, putting aside national and public interests. These irrational fights are driven by nothing but ego. So, fools are greatly inclined to get indulged in unproductive verbal fights just to prove their might.

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Conversely, wisdom breeds silence, contentment, and active listening. Where the fools are all about speech, wise people are never the ones to make haste when it comes to talking. Rather, they prefer listening to others to improve their own critical thinking skills and memory. By listening to others, they get to form their unique perspective of life, and their points of view are no longer limited by conventional wisdom and expectations. For instance, Mahatma Gandhi is known to have sought out diverse perspectives to inform his own beliefs and actions. As a result, he absorbed criticism and opinions, developing his political dogma and making him one of the most renowned leaders in history. Thus, wise people listen to develop their personalities.

“A wise man can learn more from a foolish question than a fool can learn from a wise answer.”

Bruce Lee

Stepping up from the individual level, the quality of listening also assists men in their domestic relationships. Although men indeed learn from their mistakes, when people are open to advice and opinions, they get the opportunity to learn valuable lessons from others’ experiences as well. This way, creative solutions, better relations, and discoveries pave their way into human beings’ lives. A case in point is that of a successful marriage that can only result if the two wheels, man and wife, listen to each other rather than trying to impose their separate wills. Paying attention to what the other wants to convey proves the key to healthy marital relationships. In short, being attentive towards others is another trait of the wise to ensure better bondage in their domestic lives.

Similarly, when men enter their practical lives, professional relations and conduct also demand wisdom for growth. This wisdom lies in respecting and regarding those superior to one in knowledge and know-how. Those who fail to respect this difference and continue their gibberish fail to gain an advantage from professionals in the field. Whereas, those who consider professionals’ opinions and follow them gain many benefits. For instance, good communication between a doctor and a patient is crucial to proper diagnosis and treatment. Patients who pay heed to their doctors’ instructions get several health benefits by following the guidelines. So, it is evident that listening carefully to professional advice helps in wise decision-making for one’s own good.

Further, listening to others also holds great significance for wise people on an institutional level. When those in authority pay heed to what their subordinates say, the subordinates feel greatly empowered and more motivated to do a good job. On the other hand, employers who treat their team members as mere employees and never give importance to their opinions are much less likely to grow in their field. To support the stance, recent research by the Employee Satisfaction Index also proves that employees who feel heard and valued by their managers are four times more likely to be satisfied with their jobs and, thus, perform better. So, wisdom lies in giving others importance and making their presence feel worthy by listening to what they have to say.

Extrapolating this very impact on the organizational level, it is witnessed that wise people develop empathy and collaboration, broaden their horizons, resolve conflicts tactfully, and clarify misconceptions skillfully just by listening to others and observing the goings on around them. Such people also develop a high-grade emotional intelligence, unlike those whose only focus is to blow their own trumpet in every conversation they have. A great example could be found in a study by Scientific American on a positive mentor-mentee relationship, where a mentor shares his expertise, and the mentee actively listens to him and learns. A wise mentee would do his best to make the most of his mentor’s advice by carefully listening to and noting down his instructions to become more creative and excel professionally. So, by allowing themselves to be exposed to professional advice, wise people are able to become all the wiser in their business interactions.

Finally, global problems also find their solutions in the wise’s listening. On such a huge scale, it is only by listening to multiple perspectives that can help countries make the most informed decisions and improve international relations. Contrarily, countries that do not believe in listening to the international community’s voice find themselves isolated and loathed, much like the case of Russia. For the countries willing to resolve their issues through diplomatic means, mediators come and use active listening to understand the perspectives of all parties involved in order to solve the issues at hand. For instance, the World Bank has played a mediating role in helping Pakistan and India put a halt to their timeless water dispute. The Bretton Woods Institute has considered both countries’ problems and concerns and then given a sagacious solution, following which both parties have witnessed amelioration of the issue mentioned above. So, the wisdom of listening and its pros also apply to countries in the arena of international relations.

Keeping in view the uncountable merits of being a good listener and its connection with attaining wisdom, it is the need of the hour that the youth develops this quality to excel in their personal and professional lives. The first thing one can do to become an active listener is to be present with the one who is speaking. It means that one should be mentally active while listening to somebody else talk so that the act is not merely hearing but productive absorption of the words the speaker delivers.

Second, one can become a proactive listener by developing a learning attitude. In this way, one can avoid regrets due to over-speaking and miscommunicating in a conversation. A learning attitude would help the listener develop the capability of assessing and analyzing a situation, speaking only when needed, and saying only what is necessary. It will also assist him in improving his knowledge and insight on various topics and themes.

Third, one must stop listening just to respond and waiting only to talk. Rather, one should stay calm and composed while a speaker makes his point and focus on what he is saying. Finally, a listener should try to get to the bottom of all the claims a speaker makes and analyze them in terms of his own experiences. In this way, if one listens to others, not only would they want to listen to him, but also would he develop such wisdom that people would also start considering him a prudent man.

Along the same lines, one must learn how to respond in a certain situation. After developing a sense of assessing a situation and listening carefully to what is being said, a person should be mindful of his own words. It is crucial he does not become a social media warrior, attacking people with words and not considering what impact they might have on somebody’s mental health. So, words should be chosen carefully after understanding the situation at hand.

In a strong analysis of the discussion, one can deduce that fools are talkative, and the wise, listeners. But a question arises; are all the talkative people foolish and the quiet ones wise? The answer here could be extracted after going through some facts. First, speaking is also a quality of charismatic leaders; people who are good at talking show good leadership qualities. More often than not, even thoughtless speaking is brought about by positive emotions like excitement, adding energy to a conversation. On the other hand, silence can become agony if one listens to someone speaking at length. It would be difficult, draining, boring, and even challenging if the speaker’s notion is against one’s beliefs. So, in lieu of generalizing the connection between fools and speaking and the wise and listening, a balance must be struck between the two, and none prioritized over the other to gain the maximum benefit from each activity.

“It is better to remain silent and thought a fool than to open one’s mouth and remove all doubt.”

Mark Twain

In conclusion, all the arguments boil down to a single stance that foolish people have a severe lack of sensitivity, interest in learning, confidence in their knowledge, and control of their temper. Simply put, they are too immature to know what to speak and when to say it. So, all they do is speak without a pause. On the other side, there are the wise – calm, composed, and sagacious. They not only pay attention to but also respect others’ opinions and perspectives and use them to build their own unique take on life and its happenings, as could be seen in Gandhi’s example. Moreover, such people are also masters of conflict resolution and developing relationships, for their traits help them learn from their surroundings. Therefore, although the two qualities, talking and listening, cannot be objectively judged, still, there is a need to develop better listening habits by practising active listening and developing a learning attitude so that discussions could be more productive, and wisdom spread throughout the masses.

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