Conversations For Transformation: Essays Inspired By The Ideas Of Werner Erhard

Conversations For Transformation

Essays By Laurence Platt

Inspired By The Ideas Of Werner Erhard

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A Certain Quality Of Communication

In-Shape Health Club, Napa, California, USA

August 3, 2022



This essay, A Certain Quality Of Communication, is the companion piece to
  1. The Laurence Platt Dictionary:


  2. Conversations That Matter (And Those That Don't)
in that order.

I am indebted to Donovan Copley who inspired this conversation.




I love our conversations. I love conversing with her. There's a certain quality of communication she brings to them which makes them worthwhile. She's not merely hearing me. She's listening  me. No, that's not a typo. I do mean "she's listening me" not "she's listening to  me". Oh, and she's not merely talking. She's speaking.

What are the differences? What's the difference between hearing and listening, and why is the latter so much more of a pleasure and a privilege to be in the orbit of, than the former? And in that orbit, what's the difference between "she's listening to me" and "she's listening me"? And furthermore, what's the difference between talking and speaking?

More than mere poetic license, in this inquiry I'm going to impose a certain poetic brassiness  in the way I differentiate between each of these three pairs. How so Laurence? Because only the way I differentiate between the first pair (hearing / listening) is colloquially agreed with by the dictionary. The colloquially agreed-with dictionary differentiation between the latter two (listening to / listening, talking / speaking) is not congruent with the way I differentiate between them in languaging transformation. Look: the truth is the dictionary wasn't written with languaging transformation in mind. So if in languaging transformation there are distinctions I want to differentiate between, in ways that aren't congruent with the way the dictionary differentiates between them, then I make up new ways to differentiate between them that work. Personally I have no problem with doing this. it's what's called for if we're going to language transformation with rigor.

That said, here's how I differentiate between each pair in the triad:



1)  HEARING / LISTENING

As long as my ears work ie as long as they aren't injured, blocked, or otherwise impaired, I can hear. And one, no intention is required to turn the microphone on. With hearing, the microphone is always on, picking up sounds autonomically, even background noise I'm not focused on. Two, hearing doesn't require I be present  to your communication: whether I'm present or not, the microphone picks up the sound of your voice (any sound actually) anyway.

Listening on the other hand, requires all the physical equipment required by hearing, and in addition requires intentionality and being present. When I'm listening you, I'm fully intending  to hear you, rather than merely hearing you autonomically. Also when I'm listening you, I'm bringing mySelf fully present to your communication, rather than merely hearing you autonomically.

Hearing is fundamentally different than listening inasmuch as hearing is an autonomic response which happens regardless of whether the owner-of-the-ears is fully present or not. Listening on the other hand, requires I be intentionally present to your communication.

Why is her listening so much more of a pleasure and a privilege to be in the orbit of, than mere hearing? Because her intent listening and being present to my communication gives me the experience of being heard AND being gotten AND being appreciated AND being worthwhile, a quartet that mere hearing can't grant.

<aside>

The way I differentiate between hearing / listening, is congruent with with the way the dictionary differentiates between them.

<un-aside>

2)  LISTENING TO / LISTENING

Both "listening to" and "listening" are different than hearing - as distinguished earlier. And the essential difference between them ie the essential difference between "listening to" and "listening", comes down to what the listener presences (gets) in their experience  while they're listening. To fully appreciate the difference, try this on for size: when I'm listening to  you, I'm getting what you're communicating. But when I'm listening  you (without the "to") I'm getting more than just what you're communicating: I'm also getting your entire experience  of communicating what you're communicating.

In a word, when I'm listening to you I'm re-creating  what you're communicating. And when I'm listening you, I'm re-creating not only what you're communicating: I'm also re-creating your entire experience of communicating what you're communicating.

Listening to you, is a firm hand-shake. Listening you, is a full on embrace.

<aside>

The way I differentiate between listening to / listening, is not  congruent with the way the dictionary differentiates between them.

<un-aside>

3)  TALKING / SPEAKING

As long as my larynx works ie as long as my voicebox isn't injured, blocked, or otherwise impaired, I can talk. Talking doesn't require I be present with you: whether I'm intentional or not, whether I'm present or not, the loudspeaker can make sound.

Speaking on the other hand, requires all the physical equipment required by talking, and in addition (like listening's difference from hearing) requires intentionality and being present. When I'm speaking, I'm fully intending you get my communication, and I'm bringing mySelf fully present to you getting the communication I'm generating (which by the way, is another quality shown by speaking but not talking: speaking generates the space for communication; talking doesn't generate it).

Talking is fundamentally different than speaking insofar as talking can happen regardless of whether the owner-of-the-voicebox is being present or not. Speaking on the other hand, requires I intend to be present to being in communication with you, and to generating my communication, and to you getting my communication.

<aside>

The way I differentiate between talking / speaking, is not congruent with the way the dictionary differentiates between them.

<un-aside>

She brings a certain quality of communication to our conversations that makes them magical, alive, and worthwhile. And it's not merely what's being communicated that makes them that way. Yes, to be sure that's some of it. But for the most part, it's that she brings value to anything  in any of her conversations - by listening rather than by merely hearing (and by listening rather than by merely listening to) and by speaking rather than by merely talking.

Whatever it is that becomes possible when she does that, is enough for me to want to be around it forever.



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