“Most people don’t listen with an intent to understand; they listen with intent to reply.”
– STEPHEN R. COVEY, author and educator
“Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. You belong to your father, the devil… He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language… Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me!”
– John 8:43-45
Do you know what is truth? Like, not what is true, but what it means for something to be true? 'Cause if you cannot answer this quesions, then – I’m sorry to break it like that, but – there is no truth in you. You would not listen to me, to Jesus, or anyone else because you’d think they are just as full of it as you are – because that is the only way you ever knew how to human.
You don’t realize it because understanding is not your thing. You don’t know what it means to understand – instead, simply pretend that you do.
And, yet, even though you might realize none of it about yourself, it is pretty easy to tell someone who actually understands from someone who only pretends do. What betrays the “pretenders” is not what they say; it is what they do not – what the could not – say.
Socrates once remarked that wisdom begins with wonder. What he meant is that no experience would teach you nothing, until you start asking those all-important “why’s” – “Explain to me why you think so? Help me see what you see!”
Asking the “why’s” is the key to understanding, because that is how we we ask for the puzzle pieces we are missing or for the instructions of how to piece together those that we have. And unless we’re talking weather, there will always be some missing pieces – that is why it take a dialog for us to understand each other – one of us trying to describe the picture they “see”, the other trying to reconstruct the same picture in their mind and requesting the missing parts by asking “why’s…”
Yet, the “pretenders” who, like most people, have never been taught to understand, never ask for explanations… commenting, instead, on your delivery or on the substance; telling you how smart or how dumb, how original or how weird you are; asking you where you are from or where did you learn all those things – their replies can be as witty and flattering or as obtuse and insulting as they get… But they won’t ever ask you to help them understand you – they simply don’t know how…