everybody wants to talk; nobody wants to listen
there are exceptions of course…
but then, there are even exceptions
to “everybody wants to live; nobody
wants to die”. let’s call ’em
certainly (almost) nobody
wants to be “talked *at*”.
popular usage opposes this to being
“talked *to*”… but popular usage
is a ass: it would be much clearer
to compare “talking *at*” to “talking *with*”.
the point is: it’s no fun listening to
people who won’t listen to you.
in the beginning
a sound only a mother could love:
babies crying. and *why* do they love it?
well, by golly, that poor suffering *baby*
is going to be talked to (or “at”)
*by* that mother (and those in her
immediate social circle)…
and made to listen…
for hundreds and hundreds of hours.
*without* such interactions…
i scream and wave my limbs around while
you soothingly yammer away at me
in terms i clearly *don’t understand*…
*no human being* will acquire the gift
of language. mothers are great.
necessary even. but they’ve got
again, it doesn’t have to be literally
a “mother” that does does the penitential
listening (and the ego-boosting speaking);
but, again, that’s the usual model.
[i’ll probably soon quit apologizing
for my tendency to sweeping generalizations.
i’ll *almost certainly* quit apologizing
for feeling that it’s necessary to
explain things at length when it appears
obvious to me that any but the most
unsympathetic readers will take the point
*without* digressions like this. blag.
unsympathetic readers, begone!]
so there we are in childhood.
learning so much, so fast, that science
can’t explain it.
certainly, at first, most of this learning
is “nonverbal” (which is, of course, *not*
the same as to say “unrelated to talking-
-and-listening”… oops there i go again).
sitting upright and toilet stuff and
moving around on one’s own two feet
and whatnot. for most of this stuff,
the parents (caretakers; what have you)
are nevertheless typically communicating
a great deal by *tones of voice*
also this. with any luck, one soon becomes
aware of one’s own peer group: other kids
of about one’s own age.
well, dammit, if the who-talks-who-listens
model (“dominance” and “submission”, i suppose
if you insist) doesn’t jump out at you
right about now, you’ve missed the point
(or had your childhood on mars): bigger kids
are awesome. literally. deserving of
fear *and* admiration… and *obviously*
worth listening to very attentively.
but then what? some i-wanna-talk-
-so-you-better-listen “bully” overwhelms us
and, what else, we go “crying to mommy”
who’ll, what else, *listen*. again and again.
but only up to a point, of course: our task
is to fine-tune our sense of “who we are”
in the social scheme-of-things. on the
model here at hand, this amounts to
something like “how much listening
must i do to be *listened to*?”.
mostly our “teachers” don’t teach;
they merely lecture. still, like
john said about elvis: “*that*
looks like a good job.”.
everybody wants to publish;
nobody wants to read.
great poets die in steaming pots of shit.
(to be continued.)