Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Talking About Human Conversation: The Art Of Hearing More Than Yourself

                  Over the stretch of time its become clear that in order for the human race to become more at peace with themselves, its appropriate to be able to talk well as much as we would listen well. Especially among various Native American cultures and Buddhists, one's ability to listen far outweighs ones ability to speak. Still human beings have the physical senses to do both equally well. Because Western society has become somewhat overwhelming in its breadth and scope, that value of "silence being golden" has devalued the valuable concept of speech somewhat. This is a vast and difficult subject to explore. So with the risk of being egoist I will use examples from my own life to illustrate different points on this particular subject.

                During my school years the main quality that was negatively attributed to me by both family and teachers alike was how much I talked. Now I had a constant stream of consciousness that seemed to find its way to my mouth faster than others could hear it. Since this was my natural way of communicating, I found it difficult to understand why so many people objected to it. And that did, and actually still does, make me quite irritated at times. When I slow down my speaking voice and leave enormous space between thoughts, the things I say are better appreciated but conversing with others this way is mentally and even physically uncomfortable for me to do. This comes to the fore during different events in my life as well.

            Last weekend I visited a store called Portland Trading Co. in the city of Portland,Maine. It was a wonderfully homey environment that sold semi formal dress wear,post cards and had a very personalized, historically fascinating decor. The man who started this business's name was Kazeem. I related instantly to his own stream of conscious manner of speaking. Having a fascinating Nigerian/American heritage, I was captivated by his intuitive cultural understanding of himself and others. He had a very independent mind. I learned I could listen to others who had much to say as well as I could be on the other end of such a conversation. Yet I also understand based on my own history how that mode of speech is not universally relatable. 

             One of the important points Kazeem made which I will use to refer to my own point on human conversation is the importance of empathy. One thing I've noticed in this more careerist world is that many people are now convinced that the only way to change the world for the better is to mainly concentrating on changing ones self. This naturally leads to a hectic lifestyle in which a strong level of conversing becomes too difficult and time consuming for said person to handle. For a person such as myself whose lifestyle is rather individual, it makes it all the more complicated to communicate the points that I do have. This has a habit of leading to problems in basic tolerance and can in fact result in heated conversations with less understanding individuals.

           Another area where this lack of conversational empathy comes into play is on the romantic level. Naturally the very concept of a romantic affiliation between any two human beings at its core requires a deep level of empathetic thought. When the only emotions one vocally espouses have to do with their own self, its sometimes next to impossible to create a balanced level of emotional understanding. In such cases, I feel its very appropriate to speak a great deal to such a person. To show your passion, commitment, intellect and willingness to advance as loving companions. Friendship functions on much the same level. If one has ears to hear, they also should understand the importance of using their voice to speak.

            It has,still does and might always make me feel personally discouraged when I am told by others that my conversational skills are objectionable. Yet after years of learning-sometimes the hard way, about human socialization I inwardly value my stream of conscientious conversation. I'd even go as far as saying its something many people could actually learn from if they gave me more of a chance. In a strange way, its actually helped me to listen to others better by understanding how to relate to other different methods of conversing as they do to my own. The key with conversation is to learn as much as you can from it: how to speak, when to speak, when to listen and remember always to mutually benefit from the experience. The more people understand this truth, and each other the more contented and settled I feel we'd all be.

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