26 May 2005

to listen with an understanding ear.

ah, the difference between hearing and listening.
hearing is a selective, egotistical activity.
we hear what we want to hear, but so frequently this just doesn't entail listening.
last night i approached a close friend to apologize for some assumptions i had made. as the infamous and familiar amorphous disagreements came up, i tried to call on my oft ill-tuned listening skills (or did my very best to, anyhow), instead of being carried away by my own screaming attempts to be understood. i think it's 'coz i finally felt like i would be clear enough to be understood, and so there was nothing to panic about.
and i think, dear reader(s) that i succeeded. just a little. in listening, that is. not just hearing. and in the calm dialogue that ensued, i feel like i reached some new platform of rational peace that was really very edifying. perhaps not self-serving in any significant way, but soooo satisfying.
two sides make sense when the picture is bigger than just one person's. the whole picture. whoosh. it doesn't make disagreements any easier. but somehow peace seems more viable when you realize the person with whom you are disagreeing is having as taxing a time as you are, trying to do the best thing all 'round.

"an honest day's living", Barker coined it today. indeed.

i biked home thinking about bigger disagreements, you know, the cosmic universal stuff. the problem is strictly one of not seeing the picture beyond onesself. and accepting it.

today i thought about this notion relative to writing. storytellers should remember this: that we take in not what is told to us, but what we wish to hear. it takes the pressure off, somehow. and gives a small sense of universalness to the task of writers. if a whole bunch of people are hearing the same thing you are saying, than you have struck a chord, but if no one is hearing you, perhaps you need to question the importance of saying it.
that was a dangerous statement; what i mean is, there is a bigger picture at play in the world. some details are too small to be of significance.

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