This isn’t based on something that happened to me recently. It’s just a thought that’s been rattling around in my head from many of these experiences in my life and I’ve been thinking about it – for whatever reason I think about this stuff.
When I was younger and this happened to me, I’d almost fight, trying to make people understand what I was trying to say. In the end, I would often give up because I wasn’t getting through, and sometimes they’d give up, because I was obviously pissing them off not letting it drop. As I get older, I give it a go once, maybe twice if it’s important to me, but usually, I just let it go. People hear what they hear.
I find it a curious example of how us humans listen to things within the context of our own values and opinions. We hear what others say, but we interpret from our own experiences. Therefore it doesn’t matter what we say, our listener hears what they hear. I’ve learnt it’s easier if we just accept this human phenomenon and don’t fight it – not always easy I know.
Most of us do this. Most of us are guilty of it. I think it’s just part of the human condition and most of the time we wouldn’t even know we were doing it. I’m sure I’ve done it a million times!
We’ve all heard cases where 10 people witness an accident and when the police interview the witnesses, every story is different. Or the psychology team at university run an experiment with 12 people running naked across a field wearing different hats and everyone who sees them is asked what they saw. Everyone saw something different. Why?
It’s because we’re all different. We all have different values, we all have different beliefs, we all see the world in our own way – it’s what makes life beautiful because that’s diversity. We’ve all had different upbringings with different types of parents and some of us have shaken off our parental influence and opinions, while some of us hold on tight and become an advocate for those beliefs. Sometimes that’s a good thing, sometimes it’s a bad thing – say if you had really racist parents and you grow into a racist yourself. Stepping away from your foundational beliefs and questioning what you’ve learnt – from your parents, school, church, friends… it ain’t always easy.
Then you meet people from other cultures and religions and sometimes, you’ve got no synergy at all, because your foundations are so different, there seems to be no middle line where you can reach each other. That’s why we’ve still got wars right – it’s got to be? We don’t make sense to each other. What we value is just too different.
Age can be a big part of it. Many people get freer the older they get – breaking away from any “mind shackles” they have been trapped in. But some get more committed to their beliefs as they get older. The scars of life are often contributors to this, as real heart break can send us off the path, or it can get us more firmly entrenched on it – we just don’t know. Some “tests” can be very harsh and all I hope is that I am able to come out freer, happier and more accepting – but there could be tests I wouldn’t be able to survive mentally. I suppose it’s all about how we deal with the shit storms that can strike any of us throughout our lives…
I definitely find this a curious aspect of being human and I suppose I just try to listen harder without putting my own opinions or ideas on people’s comments and hope everyone does the same for me. I don’t know if I am successful doing this though, because how can I know? No matter what, my world exists from the perspective I place on it, I suppose I’ve just got to make sure that’s a good perspective, but that’s still a perspective.
What do you reckon it’s all about then?
Yours, without the bollocks