Random thoughts about the following opinion piece I saw shared on Facebook: https://voxpopulisphere.com/2016/08/10/michael-moore-5-ways-to-make-sure-trump-loses/

 

A Series of Meandering Thoughts…

I think one of the most important points is the simplest and the hardest: listen.

The value we place on having the “correct” opinion is siphoned from the value we place on winning together. I see constantly the gloating and pronouncements of absolutes, and it’s not just from one “side” or the other. This is our culture, this is our source of pride now: having the power, by words or by sheer number of posts, to silence opposition or just have what our like-minded friends think is the best-worded Facebook reply in all of history.

If I could wave a magic wand and make everyone in the country learn one thing, it would be listening. Not hearing to be able to reply, but truly, deeply listening for understanding of the words, emotions, thoughts, meaning being conveyed.

It makes sense that we post so much, seek so much validation. For all the social media and internet brave new communication world, most of us can still tell that when it matters, we are supposed to shut up (and maybe tweet grumpily about it, but seriously just shut up) and let it happen to us as the powers that be have predetermined. We can yell on a different scale, but the internet just amplifies and redistributes; it doesn’t make anyone listen.

When I talk with anyone about anything it’s never just about that one thing, even if it seems or feels that way to me. It’s about how a whole other person relates to that one thing. And if we make it just about the thing, we (often unintentionally) dehumanize the other person.

 

So, my question to you:

When it’s so counter-cultural, how do you remember to listen? How do you work to empathize and truly understand people who maybe seem like they just want to argue? In the heat of the moment, how do you make the right choice when it comes to personalizing or not (because sometimes it is personal, and would be detrimental not to acknowledge it)?

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