Telling is Listening, Episode 121

It may be hard to see, but how we listen greatly shapes what it is possible for other people to say to us. Can we catch on to all the ways we’re trying to control what we experience as we listen, and as we do so drop our need to control so that we can be a profound welcome to others? A conversation about the ways in which we share of ourselves with one another, and about how we can receive, with Lizzie Winn and Justin Wise of Thirdspace.

This is Turning Towards Life, a weekly live 30 minute conversation hosted by Thirdspace in which Justin Wise and Lizzie Winn dive deep into big questions of human living. Find us on FaceBook to watch live and join in the lively conversation on this episode. We’re also on YouTube, and as a podcast on Apple, Google and Spotify.

Here’s our source for this week, from Ursula Le Guin’s book ‘The Wave in the Mind‘:

Telling is Listening
Adapted from Ursula K Le Guin

Human communication cannot be reduced to ‘information’. The message not only involves, it is, a relationship between speaker and hearer. The medium in which the message is embedded is immensely complex, infinitely more than a code: it is a language, a function of society, a culture, in which the language, the speaker, and the hearer are all embedded.

In human conversation, in live, actual communication between or among human beings, everything “transmitted” – everything said – is shaped as it is spoken by the actual or anticipated response. Live, face-to-face communication is intersubjective… It is a continuous interchange between two consciousnesses. Instead of an alternation of roles it is a continuous intersubjectivity that goes both ways all the time.

People unite themselves and give each other parts of themselves – inner parts, mental not bodily parts – when they talk and listen. Two people talking [in this way] form a community of two. People are also able to form communities of many, through sending and receiving bits of ourselves and others back and forth continually – through, in other words, talking and listening.

Talking and listening are ultimately the same thing.

Adapted from Ursula K Le Guin, ‘The Wave in the Mind’

Photo by Alex Holyoake on Unsplash