Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Because You're Supposed To ;)

I feel this statement is more important than it might seem. While others have stated here that the importance of listening is to be exposed to new experiences and points of view, and to make a connection with others (and I agree with these views), I feel there is another meaning. We as human beings have a basic responsibility to listen to each other. This simple act, which is so rarely performed in a genuine way, is central to so much else. When Loeb states that “other people’s stories can expand our view of the world” I feel it means not just through the connection with their individual story, but the shift in attitude and perspective that occurs when you fully, really listen. To do this you have to have a basic openness, a willingness to learn and be exposed, and a willingness to find that what you think or believe may be flawed. This I feel is the universal gift of listening; the reward comes in the act itself in addition to the specifics of what is listened to.

I personally spent many years in the apathetic “cynical smirk” that Loeb describes. I was an “armchair intellectual,” quick to pontificate and just as quick to quite logically excuse my own self-interest and selfishness. I went to work then came home and entertained myself in much the same way most Americans do. This continued for years. One of the elements that caused me to snap out of this lull (which quite possibly could have continued for the rest of my life) was the candidacy of Barack Obama. I know it is somewhat of a cliché to say that his message of hope inspired me, but it truly did. In a world where I saw nothing but corruption, doom, and failure, Obama stood out like a beacon to me as a message that nothing is futile. Hearing about him acted as a catalyst for me to start examining my own life. As it is said, “If you’re not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.” I was part of the problem. I wasn’t okay with this any longer. I decided that a life devoted to change and making this world a better place that subsequently ends in abject failure is still far greater than a life of “getting by” and watching the world die while I play computer games.

It is to move toward this goal that I am involved in programs like SLICE, and the experience of working with others who can’t just stand by as things get worse has helped to further strengthen my resolve and cement my desire for change.

We are the future; they are they past.
Nothing is futile; resistance is bliss!

4 comments:

Lewis Jr. said...

Good point Derek. I especially liked the quotes at the end.
I totally agree with your blog. I was also a gamer myself however, now I have discovered a world beyond myself. Although, I do enjoy a good playing of games every now and again it is not a major part of my life. Your blog has inspired me to be part of the solution instead of part of the problem.

Derick the Crowell said...

And like most things, the key is moderation.

At the Temple of Delphi in Greece you will find the two pieces of wisdom they felt important enough to inscribe above the entrance:

Know Thyself
Nothing to Excess

Dr. V said...

Are you supposed to be teaching this course? You have very good insight and such feeling.

I agree with you. Most people don't understand other's perspective unless they listen carefully and be open-minded about what they are hearing. I never knew what homeless people went through until I heard and worked with a group of men living in a transitional center. It opened my mind to the problems and concerns they have and the simple things I was privileged to still have and what I took for granted everyday.

Dr. V said...
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