“The opposite of talking isn’t listening,” said Fran Lebowitz, famously. “The opposite of talking is waiting.”
Waiting for what?
For the chance to establish our sincere sympathy and reasoned agreement?
For the opportunity to reply calmly, to rebut logically?
For an interval allowing us to start talking, coherently or otherwise; to return downstage and get back in the spotlight?
For a chance to get back on offense, to start putting points back up on the old super-ego scoreboard?
For a chance to pop the clutch on the monologue that we’ve been sub-vocalizing the whole time, to make-up the ground we think we’ve lost and…
Well, you get the picture. And if it looks somewhat on the dark side, I won’t disagree. I’ll lay half the blame on Lebowitz and half on the cynical state of my own sorry heart.
All of this is a circuitous approach to the looping issue of the previous post, the tendency of bloggers to largely ignore and generally disrespect opposing viewpoints. Also kind of bears on the groupthink question, doesn’t it?
The political blogosphere, perhaps by its very nature, does not lend itself to listening. It doesn’t even lend itself to waiting. Too often, it’s about reading as fast as your eyeballs will carry you and responding as fast as you can type and click send. Blogging on top of the news and commenting off the top of your head. And never really listening –with your mind open and your ego relaxed and your conditioning turned off or, at least, way down– to the other guy. Or gal.
Whatever the opposite of that is, seems to me we could use some.
I could anyway.