I hear things. Not just occasionally or under certain conditions, but all the time. And I’m not talking about inanimate objects or things that are not real. These are not just voices in my head, but rather those that come from others’ heads. These are not figments of my imagination; they are real sounds. And I hear them. Furthermore, as I am becoming increasingly aware, I have little choice but to interpret them. It would seem as though it has always been the case, that at some level I have always been interested in deconstructing messages to try to figure out not necessarily what they say, but what they mean. And I often don’t like what I hear.
I am not unique; most people have heard something sometime that just didn’t feel right. Sometimes it is a bald-faced lie, but usually it is a far more subtle approach… the snake oil sales pitch or the get-rich-quick scheme. The vast majority of the time, however, there is nothing for sale, no money changing hands and nothing tangible at stake. Most often it is an exchange of much softer goods like pride, ego and self-importance. It is about not being wrong or, if caught in error, only admitting as much as is necessary – never full disclosure. It is not about absolute Truth, but a shared reality in which certain things are so while others are not – whether everyone knows or no one does, that reality remains unchanged.
So I hear things. I listen to the words and I interpret what they mean. Am I casting judgment? Perhaps, but it’s not about goodness or badness. For nearly all of this planet’s six billion or so residents, I couldn’t care less. It is very much about what is real and what is not; what to believe and what I cannot. It’s about what is just. And since I can’t possibly know anything absolutely, I have to make judgments. I have to weigh the evidence and much of that evidence is based in my experience about what makes sense and what does not. And I listen to the words. Of politicians. Of business leaders. Of academics. Of family. Of friends. Of acquaintances. And I decide - what is so and what is not.
And it never doesn’t matter.