On listening

When you begin to actually observe people and listen to what they are revealing about themselves you commence your social education. People say a lot, without realizing it, but we never listen. The words enter our ears and dissolve the minute they finish talking, and then one day we are surprised by something they said or did. Had we been listening, we wouldn’t have been; in fact, we would even have anticipated it.

I had a monumental discussion two years ago with someone who asked me if I thought that three months was enough time to know someone, to get a sense of what they’re like, what their main qualities are. I looked at him for a few seconds and told him that three months was too much; a month and a half is more than enough. Since then I’ve realized that even that is too long. We show who we are on a daily basis, with every word we utter.

We are self-absorbed, egocentric, selfish bastards, all of us. We are always misunderstood, disappointed, treated unfairly, and ignored. Boo-freaking-hoo. We walk around staring at ourselves in the little mirror we are always holding in front of our faces. Everyone else becomes part of our peripheral viewing. Everyone else belongs in the backdrop of unimportance, the realm of ‘I’ll pay attention to you when I need you again.’

Social eloquence has gone extinct. We have become so jaded with the act of living that we’re not even willing to lie or deceive to get what we want. If that’s not the lowest point of too-bored-to-live syndrome, I don’t know what is.

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