Being home now, trying to do my part to flatten the curve of the Coronavirus, has sealed for me something that I already knew. There are people from all corners of the world who want our attention. They want to sale us something, convince us of something, make it unquestionably clear that what they have to say should somehow be construed as the irrefutable truth. One thing is obvious, if we don’t have ideas of our own, these hawkers of opinions can get inside our heads and lead us about like a tamed animal with a bit in its mouth.
Have you ever really paid close attention to the 24/7 news cycle and the purveyors of its content? Not only is there so-called unbiased news reporting, but there’s a good amount of opinion being injected into the minds of listeners, too. We really can’t watch television, read a newspaper or a magazine, without listening to advertisements that have been psychologically tailored for our senses to solicit a specific response. How do written advertisements get us to listen? Come on, don’t you hear something when you see a written message that attracts you? Upon hearing, can’t you see something, and even desire something if the message sparks interest for what it’s hawking? Sometimes, we may not give a whole lot of attention at the time we first encounter an advertisement. It might be sometime later when the jingle, the sound, the image replays in our minds, and we may not remember from where we were exposed. These conversations are one-sided and often not for our benefit.
I want to ask you something. When was the last time you had a meaningful conversation with yourself? No, I’m not talking about some schizoid mental short circuitry that someone might hear and wonder if you’re ready for the folks in the white coats, or whatever color they’re wearing these days. I’m talking about thinking, mulling over things with which your senses are dealing continually. Let me say here that if you’re reading this, I’m grateful that you’ve taken some of your valuable time to listen to what I have to say; however, I implore you to do more than listen. I ask that you do what the title of this musing indicates: listen to yourself, too. What do you have to say about what I’m saying? The opinions of others should never be the end all on any subject, even when the truth about what is being said is overwhelmingly obvious. Invite that third voice to the conversation to interpret, give feedback, to let you know whether this makes sense or not.
One of the unfortunate things I see happening these days is too many people don’t have that most intimate of conversations. As offensive as this might be, there are folks who defy the adage about leading a horse to water only to discover it won’t drink. Maybe the horse is smarter than its usher, maybe the horse doesn’t want any water, especially not that to which it’s being led. There seems to be masses of people these days, who listen, get drunk with emotion and act in a manner that’s not of benefit to themselves or the greater society. I’m sure the conversation you’re having with yourself right now has garnered some examples.
When I was child, one of the first life-saving pieces of advice adults gave me about crossing the road was: stop, look, and listen. The next opportunity you have to sit down to read, turn on the television to look and listen, or have a conversation with someone who seems interesting, have that intimate conversation and listen to that third voice giving you feedback about what you’re hearing from the outside.
I’m old and blessed…hope you will be too.