In today’s modern world of high technological communications one wonders if the human race has lost the art of listening to each other – are we so busy “saying something” that we no longer really hear what is being said to us?
We may be able to contact one-another more easily, but is the content so superficial, that meaningful dialogue has become an art, or even obsolete?
Christ spoke often, and clearly, using parables to explain or reiterate what he was saying. He also listened very carefully to what was being said to him.
Dialogue based on self-definition and ideas is obviously not wrong, but how often do we repeat what what we’ve been told, only to find out the we hadn’t got it quite right, in fact we seemed to have totally missed the point or meaning of the conversation.
Misunderstandings arise from this, it could be that we really did not understand what was being said to us, or it could be, which is more likely, that we were so busy with our own thoughts that we failed to listen properly.
When people say that dialogue is useless, impossible, pointless or irrelevant to a situation, then what they are saying is that their way is the only way, their voice is the only voice; in most cases it is the only voice they want to hear. And if two people are talking together are both taking that stance what happens next is…conflict, violence even war.
Yes we have to have strong positions to work from in our lives, be it family, social or political standpoints. But strong does not always mean right.
We know someone can can hurt us by what they say and their actions, we know that they might well hurt us with out provocation, and of course we would not do that would we? We would not strike out for no reason at all would we?
We would only strike out because we felt threatened, hurt, rejected, frustrated, or simply because we were made to look foolish or powerless.
So maybe we strike out first, so none of the above things happen to us, and thus we prevent ourselves from being hurt: therefore attack is the best, no the only form of defence. We stop listening and just act. Because what we want and what we believe in is the only thing that matters.
If you are a Politian or someone in religious authority, you might well say that it’s the best for the country, best for your people, best for the other people that you are not listening to. At the end of the day though you are acting on your wishes alone. You say in your heart that you know you are right. So does the other person.
Dialogue fails if we know we have contributed to the mess, the aggravation, despotism and tyranny, and we don’t want to admit that we could be, was, wrong. To admit one had made a mistake, was wrong, an error of judgement, to have acted out of self-greed and influence of more aspirations of power is very hard. But once you say it out loud, the fear of being seen as foolish, the pride that prevents you from saying your were wrong, that all subsides. Then you can start talking from a different stance, one that will open up people’s ears and minds to listen.
People, having heard the truth, can then decide what to do, they can judge the situation better, and so can you, this is putting free will into action. Having truth and reacting to it. And if this is allowed to happen, I believe you will see a different perspective and outcome, and dialogue can and will take a different course.