As always, your writing causes a whirl of thoughts in my head at various levels of depth.
I wonder if how much of the habit of talking is a simple extension of just talking to ourselves. We always have an internal monologue, and in the presence of others we externalise it, but it remains a monologue.
In a sense this is ignoring the other person. We are simply speaking our thoughts aloud. If anything the other person's thoughts are just fuel for us to create new thoughts of our own, rather than an actual other person's thoughts to listen to. We might as well be talking at the TV in response to its stimulus.
Could the habit of listening help to allay the habit of talking?
Thank you for your comment.
This is a really interesting thought about speech being one's internal monologues voiced, and something I am going to ponder over... thanks for speaking it out loud! [Had you had it before...?!]
The habit of listening... I suspect this too is a habit, although it seems more like a whole state of mind, of being receptive, open...
Listening may well allay the habit of talking, but not quite opposed to it - this might perhaps more accurately be expressed as the habit of keeping silence...
Well, I wonder what Bennett might say with regard to personalities or essence when listening...? I suppose there are types and levels of listening...
Lots to think about, thanks for this!
Following on from my previous comment, in the online space, where the other person is not physically present, I am much more likely to simply speak. Indeed, writing in my blog or Twitter is my way of processing my own internal monologue - like speaking into the void. Sometimes I am surprised that others respond at all. Sometimes I am even thrown off by a response because it interrupts my monologue.
On a clear day, I can go to Twitter with a listening mindset, but I find others don't know how to respond to that mindset in that space.
I don't know if anything can be done or if anything should be done.
[And there I went again just spewing out my internal monologue because I'm in the online space.]
Twitter/blogs are interesting. I originally put something in this post about 'speaking online' but then took it out as it seemed a bit negative.
It was something along the lines of blogs/twitter being evidence of the habit of talking and (some) people's need for approval - mine, for example - and my previous state of denial that I used to think I was writing for myself but the realisation that I would feel a little bit of disappointment if something I had written didn't get responded, but interestingly only by people who I respected...
I also thought that angry reactions on twitter to people writing disapproving things might lend this hypothesis more evidence, but then just took it all out... interesting how your view on all this is so different...
Re: Twitter I can't pretend to have a listening mindset judging by the number of people who I follow, so that says everything... but have started adopting the habit of not-talking, with only the occasional slip...!
A very intersting read on why we choose to talk, what we choose to say and how we might say it. I explore some of these ideas with students, and use Grice's maxims of co-operation (within speech) as they seem to address similar concepts to the ones you raise. I repeat them below. Geoffrey Leech also proposed maxims of politenes and conversation which you may also find interesting.
Hope you're well!
Grice’s maxim of cooperation
1. The maxim of quantity, where one tries to be as informative as one possibly can, and gives as much information as is needed, and no more.
2. The maxim of quality, where one tries to be truthful, and does not give information that is false or that is not supported by evidence.
3. The maxim of relation, where one tries to be relevant, and says things that are pertinent to the discussion.
4. The maxim of manner, when one tries to be as clear, as brief, and as orderly as one can in what one says, and where one avoids obscurity and ambiguity.
As the maxims stand, there may be an overlap, as regards the length of what one says, between the maxims of quantity and manner; this overlap can be explained (partially if not entirely) by thinking of the maxim of quantity (artificial though this approach may be) in terms of units of information. In other words, if the listener needs, let us say, five units of information from the speaker, but gets less, or more than the expected number, then the speaker is breaking the maxim of quantity. However, if the speaker gives the five required units of information, but is either too curt or long-winded in conveying them to the listener, then the maxim of manner is broken. The dividing line however, may be rather thin or unclear, and there are times when we may say that both the maxims of quantity and quality are broken by the same factors.