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Learning to listen again

April 13, 2014

During my life, it has been a constant war waged against settling into fixed thought patterns. It got to the stage, at one point, where I was prejudging anything I read in a book or magazine, anything I watched on tv, or saw on the internet.

I was no longer letting the object in the world speak to me, and tell me its truth. I already had it pigeon-holed so that it fit neatly into my system of categories. I was not listening to the world, I had become deaf to it.

This is the situation I have faced in recent times, and I have only just become consciously aware of it, to begin to fight against this tendency, these past few months. It may have given me a sense of control and security. A sense of completeness to my understanding of the world. But it was a completeness that bred a complacency. And this complacency led to me losing touch with reality.

So I am having to learn to listen to the world all over again. I had everything prejudged, predetermined, predestined, in a nice self-serving system. This system must be brought down. A few years back I did a physical clearing of my hundreds, if not, thousands of books. Now it is time to do a mental clearing of the concepts some of these books have planted in my head.

I am starting fresh and turning to writers who illustrate a great listening ability to the objects that surround them in their world, so that I can learn and develop this skill for myself. It is a move away from the great systematic thinkers I once admired so much. Immanuel Kant, Arthur Schopenhauer, Edmund Husserl. Too often I have began to see in them a tendency to subordinate particular phenomena too readily and too easily to their general classifications without giving the specific phenomena concerned their due.

I was reading a book of late by John Gray. I already feel I know with his books that you are going to get the same perspective over and over again. The same pattern is followed, the same system is used repeatedly, to subjugate the complex world to his system of thought. It makes for a great veneer of self-confidence, but it is only on the surface, and does not strike very deep. Edmund Husserl tells me in his cartesian mediations he is going to take nothing for granted at the same time he is saying exactly what he wants the conclusion of his meditations to be! This is not true thinking. Following a set pattern, a path through the woods already flattened down by others is not thinking. It is merely habit, routine, a reinforcement of a genuine and original thinking that occurred sometime in the past.

The security this provides has become stifling and oppressive to me, so it is time for me to learn once again the art of listening to the world.

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