conversation is an engine

A lot can happen in a conversation

Counterintuitive: Listening Beats Talking?

with 3 comments

Persuader Vs. The Persuaded


The Russian polymath Mikhail Bakhtin—one of the titanic minds of the twentieth century, though too neglected now—believed that in a dialogue the position of primacy is with the person who listens rather than the one who first speaks. After all, he said, we do not speak unless we anticipate a response; and we shape what we say in light of possible reactions.

–Alan Jacobs, The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction (NY: Oxford University Press, 2011) 55

Without some listener—you see—there would be no words launched.


Image credit: Kirk Livingston

Written by kirkistan

June 8, 2015 at 9:12 am

3 Responses

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  1. I utterly agree. Active listening is almost the most perfect gift one can give another/others. When we consider our most cherished associates and friends, often they include at least one selfless, dedicated, others-oriented listener. And yet,such gems can be so rare as to almost not be found in our day-to-day dealings. Teaching a child how to listen to another child’s soul and help it heal is a skill we never hear of in any parenting books, period. It isn’t taught in Sunday School. It is either picked up or seen in action and remembered, and made a personal goal. Active, intentional, skillful listening is not something confined to mental health professionals who charge big dollars for the service. It is rather for the caring friend, the loving grandparent, the love-oriented christian/jew/muslim/buddhist/sikh/hindu.


    June 8, 2015 at 4:12 pm

    • Well said. Those listeners are exceeding rare, aren’t they. I really like the notion of “teaching a child to listen to another child’s soul.” It’s interesting to think about the great listeners in our lives and what thy have given us. Thanks for your comment.


      June 8, 2015 at 4:29 pm

      • thank you always for your insightful postings–they are thought-provoking and helpful


        June 9, 2015 at 7:08 am

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