I suppose it is a matter of semantics as for which of these two terms holds more water. Let’s see if I can make sense of this reminder today.
The fact that you “heard a noise” does not imply that you understand from whence it came. (Whence?) It simply means that a particular sound was transmitted, and your ears picked up a change in frequency.
When you find yourself “listening to the noise” your brain switches on and you do your best to interpret all of the nuances associated with it. Therefore, it is my opinion that the art of “listening” is more beneficial than simply “hearing.”
To dig a little deeper, how does this sound? If you are just focused on “hearing,” you will find yourself waiting for the other person to stop talking so you can sneak in a few thoughts of your own. While you are still hearing them waxing eloquent, you are conjuring up an interesting and snappy retort. You are simply waiting to spring into communicative action.
On the other hand, those who are skilled at “listening” catch every word being spoken and translate the string of words into meaning. When done sincerely this leaves little room or time to begin rehearsing your next line of thinking.
Hearing takes very little effort. Listening takes a great deal of focused concentration.
It came as no surprise when the warden in Cool Hand Luke recited his now famous phrase to Paul Newman: “What we have here is a failure to communicate.” And according to me, this explains the problem we have in our society today. Too many people are content with hearing, and not actually listening.
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