As far as long-term planning goes, two ears and one mouth is a dud. If God really wanted us to listen more, He would’ve just made half of us ass ugly. Looks like God just went with evolutionary design and we turned that into didactic moral horseshit.
Most listening was thwarting your impulse to talk. As soon as we realized this, we changed listening to a calculated quid pro quo. I heard you for a minute, and now you hear me for a minute, and then we can all pretend the world’s a better place.
After that had no effect, conversational correctness ran around with a noble shtick up its ass: Don’t just hear, Listen! Religion’s version of: Don’t screw, Reproduce.
More sheep-raring applesauce and we couldn’t have been more ready for social media.
The Japanese toilet of the human psyche, the bulimic attraction that gentrified the Internet, the endoscopic theatre of civilization, the mouthy bitch of advancement — social media essentially came along to declare, listening is for losers. The more you talk, and the more ignorant what you have to say, and the more of it you say over and over again, the more you win friends and influence people and the more you can talk.
There’s no recovery from here. Until we realize we have been doing this all wrong.
Listening isn’t shared speech.
Listening is a shared quiet.
It is and has always been the language of art. In its liturgical dominion, listening has never about communication, but about communion. It was shutting up so you could hear existence, and then, always tragically, deciding to reproduce it. The process of all art is a persistent failure to become God.
The comatose stillness as you stand in front of a painting.
The sublime dread of confronting architecture.
The shortness of breath at the end of a verse.
The stabbing invincibility of music.
The blue enlightenment of writing.
Listening is this shared quiet.
It is every artist’s recurring question.
Do you hear it too?
(Do you hear it too?)