On listening

We live in an age when everyone holds a megaphone. The internet allows everyone to shout their monologue, and I feel a constant temptation to add my opinions to the cacophony.

But it seems clear to me that this is not working. In this world, people are speaking more and more, but hearing one another less and less. I think I’m losing faith in monologue as an effective form of communication. What interests me is conversation: DIALOGUE.

For dialogue to happen, communication must slow to a crawl. A person must be allowed to say

one

small

thing.

 

Then everything must slow and even stop, until that word has been

heard

received

held.

 

Then and only then can there be a response that is actually a response: an actual display of how the listener has been impacted by what the speaker said, rather than a distortion thereof.

This can be agonizingly slow work; but if Facebook, politics, and 2016 have taught me anything, they have taught me that the alternative is war, an arms race of hatred. Whoever can display contempt with the most dismissive cleverness “wins.”

On the other hand, a singular moment in which a person has spoken and been deeply understood—and in which the experience of having been understood even deepens the speaker’s sense of what has been said—can be wonderful enough to justify a whole day’s worth of living.

That’s why this blog is more about what has inspired me than about what I think. Or worse, what I think other people should think. I’m wanting more to listen. To wait in the silence. And to find words for how I have been impacted.

Participating in the shouting match leaves me with a bitter taste in my mouth, leaves me nauseous. I need to believe that communication is possible: that two people can see eye to eye, rather than always drawing a line in the sand.