Where does debate stop and dialogue begin? How do we hear each other? What does it feel like in our bodies and minds to be really listening? And how do we know when we are hearing?
Contradictions, black and white, are usually a sign that I don't understand the intricacy of how things are related to one another. I'm missing details, assuming things I don't really know, judging and allowing my mind to be lazy....encouraging premature closure in my cognitive and emotional processes. PAUSING, Relaxing, OPENING, a new umbrella of understanding may appear.
A room full of scientists in the dark, each investigating, journaling the truth of their observations. Noting where they believe they are standing in the room and possibly their experience of the others. Each diligently trying to remain at least objective about their investigation of the phenomena, in what they assume to be the center of the room.
One feels and describes hard areas surrounded by soft folds near to the floor, another a small broom like ornement suspended in the room, yet another warm air and another a large bumpy wall. Discussing, arguing, analysing the contradictory evidence. They can write whole thesises to establish and prove their theories and themselves. The debate is intricate and evidence is detailed, there are advocates, opponents and PR people I'm sure.
Suddenly there is a candle brought into the room and all changes. There is an elephant filling the space, Plato's elephant. No one theory is complete, where they are wrong is where they rush to premature closure, refusing to enlarge the umbrella of their theory to contain their colleagues' observations as well.
And have they even begun to adress the most pressing priority of all? What will happen to them when that elephant is hungry? What will happen to the elephant? Who will be safe, who will be trampled? Is there an exit, how will they work with the elephant, how will they work together? What are the communal and individual needs?
What will they see if they bring in 2 or 3 candles, an electric lamp, a microscope, if they climb to the roof and look down ....if they listen to one another?
Where could I be missing Plato's elephant today? Will our contradictions viewed on wide angle, micro angle, and in community hold enlightenment? How does it feel when I am really listening? Which thoughts, memories, body sensations get me to that map?
How does this help me practice medicine, psychology, nursing, social work, family life, friendship? Try this Ted Talk and rethink listening. https://exhaleprovoice.org/feature/breaking-exhales-aspen-baker-delivers-tedwomen-talk-may-29