The Science and Art of Listening

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Hearing, in short, is easy. Listening is a skill that we’re in danger of losing in a world of digital distraction and information overload.

Luckily, we can train our listening just as with any other skill. Listen to your significant other’s voice — not only to the words, which after a few years may repeat, but to the sounds under them, the emotions carried in the harmonics. You may save yourself a couple of fights.

“You never listen” is not just the complaint of a problematic relationship, it has also become an epidemic in a world that is exchanging convenience for content, speed for meaning. The richness of life doesn’t lie in the loudness and the beat, but in the timbres and the variations that you can discern if you simply pay attention.

 

Seth S. Horowitz is an auditory neuroscientist at Brown University and the author of “The Universal Sense: How Hearing Shapes the Mind. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/11/opinion/sunday/why-listening-is-so-much-more-than-hearing.html?_r=2&

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17 thoughts on “The Science and Art of Listening

  1. “a world that is exchanging convenience for content, speed for meaning.” Those are very well formulated and true words…. the whole post is!! Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  2. Precisely this morning I was wondering how I could listen more, be more attentive. Here I have the answer! Now, let’s practice… Thank you!

  3. “The richness of life doesn’t lie in the loudness and the beat, but in the timbres and the variations that you can discern if you simply pay attention.” Beautifully said. It strikes a deep cord in me. I think it’s the heart of the matter. Thanks Elisa.

  4. Great post. Listening assumes a human being has meaning and worth. It is a fundamental part of the circulatory system of the soul. Coincidentally, as I read “The Last Jew of Treblinka,” your post resonates in that historical echo of just how removed it is possible for people to get from others’ and their own personal, intrinsic worth.

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