Are we listening to others—and to ourselves?
One activist described communication as understanding someone else’s experience and presenting a point within that experience. “Even the most elementary grasp of the fundamental idea that one communicates within the experience of his audience—and gives full respect to the other’s values….” [Emphasis added]
How often is “communication” confused with “statement”? Because I make a statement of my belief does not mean I am communicating. Think of a social media thread you may have followed where two or more disparate views present themselves. How often is there an attempt at “communication”—sharing ideas and making efforts to connect with someone with a different perspective? Rather than listen, question, listen, question, think, question, learn, question, how often does the rhetoric ramp up to yelling? (You know they are yelling, for example, by the multiple exclamation points!!!!!!!!!!!!!! When that fails we’ll see name calling or shift of attention.)
In the opening paragraph of this post, to make a point, I gave you two links to credit the words I cited. I did not state the name of the person or the book. If I had credited Saul Alinsky and his primer Rules for Radicals some readers may have stopped “listening” and formulated why they loved or hated those words. Based on a name, a reputation, or a publication. Statements would flow about why he was the devil or the savior of community organization.
It’s easy to have a conversation when we speak with those with whom we agree. It becomes difficult when the other party or we believe nothing can be learned from our disagreements and continued conversation.
The fifth energy chakra—the Throat chakra—connects to clear voice; integrity of message. And it is associated with the sense of hearing. To have a clear and authentic message, we need to hear what the other person/group/ideologues say. That requires listening, not statements.
Alinsky speaks of the Haves, the Have-Nots, and the Haves-Little but Want More. The moral compass of each group can shift when we change positions. We see it in politics and history. One example shows Samuel Adams as a leading figure of the American Revolution, challenging the authority of the Haves (the British government in favor of the status quo). Adams was a revolutionary ideologue. But in the 1790s when The Whiskey Rebellion (American citizens challenging the new American government) broke out in western Pennsylvania, he supported the American government’s (now in the position of Haves) suppression of the rebellion. Did he become an anti-revolutionary ideologue who now supported the new status quo?
Alinsky’s first rule: “One’s concern with the ethics of means and ends varies inversely with one’s personal interest in the issue.”
Are we listening to others—and to ourselves?
Video recommendation for the week:
Consider Celeste Headlee’s TED Talk about ten basic rules for effective conversation.
Make it an inspiring week and H.T.R.B. as needed.
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My podcasts: The Growth and Resilience Network® (http://stevepiscitelli.com/media-broadcast/podcast).
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(c) 2018. Steve Piscitelli. All rights reserved.
Thanks for another great post, Steve! I use Headlee’s talk in my writing classes every semester. We then discuss conversational styles and explore how conflicts are often intensified by a mismatch of styles rather than beliefs.
Thank you for following, commenting, and sharing. And thanks for making a difference with your students.
I appreciate all the research you did putting this post together, knowledge I’ve gained when I put time & energy into my own posts. Never do I get involved in rants on Facebook, not productive and time sapping.
Your new banner looks fresh, but may it’s “old” now as I haven’t visited in a while. I won’t squat with my spurs on because I don’t have any spurs. Tee Hee!
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