Monday, July 31, 2006

Coming through in waves...

There is no pain, you are receding.
A distant ships smoke on the horizon.
You are only coming through in waves.
Your lips move but I can't hear what youre saying.
--Pink Floyd, Comfortably Numb

I firmly believe people hear only what they want to hear. Which strikes me as odd when they also only hear what they want to here when they are reading (which shouldn't be the case unless you are reading out loud). But then I suppose we only see what we want to see as well. So it is a wonder that any one communicates in the first place.

I suppose if someone is saying something you want to hear, and you are hearing what they want you to hear, it's pretty easy to assume you are on the same wavelength...that is until they say something you don't want hear or you hear what you want to hear and not what they are saying.
This is pretty much why I don't think it is an easy proposition to change someone's mind about something they feel strongly about. And it is why I think we only read blogs written by people who share the same opinions. I'm as guilty as the next person as starting to read something that I don't agree with, muttering to myself, "you are full of shit" and clicking on my merry way. Tolerance of opposing viewpoints has never been one of my virtures.

This is not to say I won't listen to a well thought out arguement about something I haven't made up my mind about. I've even been known to change my mind about things I have made my mind up about, but only when presented with pretty good evidence that I've been full of shit in regards to that topic.

I just think it is hard if not impossible to listen to anyone without filtering everything through our own biases. And those biases can be based on experience, education or crap your parents filled you with growing up. But the minute someone starts down a road that deviates from your road, the detour signs start popping up.

Have you ever noticed how people are more subsceptible to new (and often ridiculous) ideas when they are vulnerable due to some mental or emotional upheaval in their lives? That's when the religious cults and personal coaches move right in. Because nothing is more comfortable when you world is crumbling around you than to have someone offer to save you if (the big if) you believe in their way as the only way.

I doubt if me writing this will really change anyone's mind about communication and listening...that is unless you already feel the same way I do about it. So once again I've defeated my own point in writing at all.

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