Few people truly listen. They may be great ‘hear-ers’, but they don’t listen with all their faculties. They use their brain for thinking-when hearing a speaker. This causes them to utilize their cognition with a focus on interpretation, rather than on observation.

Just as you have to get a clear image of a picture before interpreting the photographer’s, painter’s, or draftsman’s intention, in creating it, you have to receive all of a story in the body of words used by a speaker before understanding him.*

Poor listening occurs when a listener thinks his or her role is to quickly interpret and Judge. This is particularly true if s/he thinks s/he is supposed to give advice, or find ‘ammunition’ with which to plan a rebuttal in his or her defense, as say in an argument.

This, I call deconstructive or offensive listening, because it causes the story to be deconstructed, and it is used in an offensive nature; accidentally or intentionally. It could also-for obvious reasons-be called defensive listening. One might call it selfish listening, too, but I resist this choice insofar as most people do it accidentally, and ‘selfish’ can imply blame.

‘Deconstructive’, or ‘offensive’ listening causes the speaker to have his or her points lost and destroyed and his or her main concept unreachable, because s/he winds up having to re-explain and defend his or her points, thereby never reaching his or her conclusion. How? This is accomplished by interruption. This causes frustration-often quickly-as it is noticed that the listener is causing-or will cause this breakdown.

An argument will likely ensue as the speaker asks for better listening and a withholding of judgement.

The remedy for this is to;

1. Listen with no agenda.
2. Try to form feelings and pictures of what the speaker is saying, rather than translations of his or her ideas into yours, or into interpretations of his or her words into set concepts of one discipline or another. 3. Remember the speaker probably has a conclusion in mind.
4. Remember the main point of listening is to allow someone to tell a whole story of his view, feelings, experience, and finally, details of all that.
5. Don’t get lost in interpreting each detail as a set concept; it’s part of a whole. You can always ask a speaker to repeat his story if you want details.
6. You should never be asking questions until the speaker is done telling his story. When you interrupt, even to help understand, you change the story! This is because the focus of a monolog becomes lost in the microcosmic minutae of focus on dialog, and the story becomes lost in tangents.

Listening is-among other things-an act of gathering information, but more than that, it’s about establishing the concoction of an image in the listener’s mind-of a picture.

It is far better to have an impressionist painter’s image of a burning building, than a stack of cards with separate image criteria-disassociated from one another, like one with a house on it, another with smoke on it, another with a fire-siren on it, and so on-if the idea to be conveyed is that of a home set ablaze.

The impressionist image is the one we get if we listen for meaning, with patience and an eye toward understanding.

The stack of flash cards is what we get if we listen only for details matching some agenda in our mind, interrupting and being subjective.

The Buddha taught that the mind was a sense organ. Most of us think of it as a thinking device. When listening, all the brain’s powers should be focused with the former in mind. If the latter is its prime function when hearing a story, the story is corrupted and the speaker is frustrated and meaning has not been reached, probably frustrating the speaker.

Krishnamurti said we need to listen without defining what we hear, and we have to listen with our whole being. I believe that if we do this, we can solve all problems and truly know one another, which is the main requirement of not only friendship, but of love.

*[One reason Westerners and East Asians have strained communication is context. Asian languages, particularly Korean and Japanese-are high context in nature. In my observation, native speakers of these languages require a contextual orientation to fully grasp the meaning of a sentence in the context of a story. They start all allegorical conversation with a short description of the topic to be discussed, much like a comedian tells you beforehand what he’s going to speak about; ‘I hate flying!’, he says, and then he does his bit on that.

Some East Asians-in my observation, say-in effect- ‘As for my mother…’ and then they talk about their mothers.

Westerners can begin a story with details. They often begin with something like, ‘the other day you said ‘….’ Then they go on about what was said, with the listener following along to find the true topic, meaning, or point. This poses no problem for Westerners.

I am aware that high-context language speakers can talk this way too, and that when they speak English as a Second Language, that fact (non-native speech) poses an added dimension of difficulty in cognitive processing of English, but I have experienced this issue with speakers who are quite proficient in English.

In my experience, East Asians who do speak good English often betray a problem that reveals this disparity in communication and meaning-processing when a Westerner speaking English carefully and clearly delineates to them a point without mention of the topic, and they say ‘What’s your point?’ when he’s finished (or by interruption), when the point should be very easily inferable.]

© Copyright Carl Atteniese Jr., All Rights Reserved.

82-(10) 5247-5712

Published by


Dear Visitor: Welcome! Peace, Love, Joy and Enlightenment to You and Yours. The Basics: I author essays, video essays, poems, advice, drawings, photographs, and petitions; I also can do narration and have done stand-up comedy. I taught and tutored English as a Second Language for 15 years in South Korea and for about 3 years in the US. Intellectual Interests: My chief personal interests are in... -Love as a Practice -General Philosophy -Consciousness -Aviation -Spaceflight - especially as an avid advocate of an AG module for deep space missions -Culture -All forms of Art, especially Japanese Woodblock Prints, Conceptual,  Film, Comedy -Language - especially in the use of Standard English and as Usage relates to Cognition, Reason and Peace -Restoring Democracy to the United States via Public Campaign Financing -Saving the Earth's biosphere from Climate Mutation -Human & Species Rights via Personhood -The Immorality of Theism Being: I am a secularist, an ex- and anti- theist (The word 'atheist' is presumptuous, prejudiced, inaccurate, insulting and harmful - like the word 'race'). I am also a non-superstitious Zen Buddhist - "Mando" being listed as my middle-name, is my Dharma Name and as opposed to my legal-name is my True Name. Likes -My favorite podcast is Dr. Sam Harris' #WakingUp . I like it so much I support it. -My favorite Vintage TV Shows are Star Trek, The Dick Van Dyke Show, I Dream of Genie and That Girl. -My favorite TV Current Shows, now, are Jerry Seinfeld's Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, Neil deGrasse Tyson's Cosmos, The Bill Nye Show and Curb Your Enthusiam. My favorite Music is Theme Music, so I love movie soundtracks and mood music, such as that by Kitaro and Vangellis. I also love classic Rock and Blues. I work out to Mission Impossible, Pirates of The Carabean, and Van Halen's Mean Streets. I also love Japanese pop, like that of Puffy's and Keske Kowada. I also love Blues and "Non-Insane" Jazz. Reading: Unfortunately, I have little time for fiction. I mostly read scholars such as Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, Dan Dennett, Bart Ehrman and Karen Armstrong as well as referring back to Monks such as Thich Nhat Hanh, Suzuki and the Tao Te Ching. I also read and/or listen to the narrations of Plato on Socrates. I also read a lot of astronaut biographies and about the space agency. Goals: -I love flight sims and plan to get my pilot's license. -If wealthy, healthy and "asset" enough, I will hire a space agency to train me and launch me in orbit and beyond. -I intend to publish several books. -I intend to have gallery shows. -I may need a PhD to talk to some of the people I want to talk to in public forum and influential way. -I want to see Private Campaign Finance Banned in the United States. At the time of this writing, I am single. Thank You for Your Generous Interest. CΛRL ΛTTΞNIΞSΞ 卍道 NOTE: 卍道 ("Mando") is my Dharma name

Thanks for coming. What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s