Truth about lies

The Greatest Gift you can give to anybody is to demonstrate the willingness to listen with a minimum of defensiveness, criticism or impatience. It is ultimately the gift of understanding and hardly anybody is paying enough attention, to be able to provide it.

Listening is an art that requires openness to each other's uniqueness and tolerance of difference. Rigid roles, fixed expectations and the pressure to conform make genuine listening a rarity because we spend more time being judgmental and far less being empathetic enough to be able to put ourselves in the shoes of the person we are talking to.

The difference between listening well and not is the difference between being receptive and responsive and being reactive and dismissive.

Listening well is in fact the only genuine way to show interest in another person and that means spending time, not talking to yourself about yourself, unless asked, but about other people, to be able to be in a position to validate their feelings.

If we are merely embedded in networks of relationships that define us, we merely embrace shared prejudices and dismiss individual experience.

Generally speaking, people feign the interest "to listen" by deploying one of two tactics. Some people do it by giving advice while others do it by sharing similar experiences.

In the absence of listening well, the need to individualize to be able to accomodate differences becomes an insurmountable challenge that is ultimately replaced by the tyrranical practice of dictating will without legitimate authority.

The bottom line is standard history. Turn our heads, not our stomachs.

Psychiatrist, Scott Peck provided the best narrative to explain the enormous gap between pretending to hear and actually listening. In his own words; "Even though we may feel in our business dealings or social relationships that we are listening very hard, what we are usually doing is listening selectively, with a present agenda in mind, wondering as we listen how we can achieve certain desired results and get the conversation over with as quickly as possible or redirected in ways more satisfactory to us.

That is called listening for the purpose of manipulating, it is a common, toxic practice and it is frankly disgusting because if we are caring and empathetic human beings, we do not exploit people in that manner.

Human beings, as we would like to be thought of, embrace freedom, responsibility and accountability. We do not, as a matter of self-representation, exploit others to further our own interests because that slope is very slippery. People deserve the right to be free and unique and that is a fact that has been lost to the turmoil of toxic culture wars.

Eric Fromm aptly titled his study of Nazism Escape From Freedom because people avoid the pain of responsibility. The consequence of escaping freedom snowballs and ends with an avalanche, and we should therefore all strive to be sensitive to the fact that our survival is a mutual obligation and responsiblity whether you are a good listener or not.

Next: Eric Margolis is the new Daniel Ellsberg CLICK HERE (to learn)!