The art of listening is fast disappearing into the realms of extinction together with the dodo and the sabre toothed tiger. We simply don’t have time to listen any more – we’re far too busy talking! We’re constantly sending out messages – with mobile phones, emails, faxes, videos and so on.
Our technological advances in communication are so sophisticated that we are even communicating on an interplanetary level. Right now projects like Seti are broadcasting messages to outer space – Hello someone!
Fascinating no doubt. Unfortunately our ability to listen hasn’t kept up with our technology. In fact our listening skills were at their best when as spellbound clansmen we listened to skin-clad hunters relating their adventures around the cave fire.
Our listening skills have certainly deteriorated since then.
Our Capacity to Listen
The reason is that our capacity to listen has been drowned out by the noise of our civilization. Noise has become so loud and obtrusive that we automatically shut it out till we can no longer hear it.
And so we no longer hear the noise of traffic. And we don’t chat with friends at weddings and functions because of ear-blasting music.
The honest truth is that we can’t hear anything above the loud hum of our civilization’s machinery. Noise and frenetic activity have swallowed up the precious silence.
That is why we have learnt not to listen on so many different levels. But we pay a price for it – we become less perceptive.
And so we hear the conversation but we lose the meaning; we feel the beat but we don’t hear the tune; we see the glance but we miss the silent message.
It’s sad because understanding these silent messages is what real communication is all about. And let’s face it – if you are involved in any field of creativity at all, it’s vitally important to get through the noise so that you can hear the underlying message.