On Listening and Communication.

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The Covid 19 Pandemic has taken the world by storm.In this new normal of lockdowns and social distancing,our day to day activities seems to be taking a different route all together.Homo sapiens as we are called , are an inherent social species who have climbed the hierarchical structure through development of language,cognitive thought process and the ability of forming associations over thousands of years.Yet today mankind faces an ironical challenge that has its roots in the long boasting achievements of our language and communicative skills. 

The 21st century bears witness to sheer scientific and technological advancements,yet the large populace finds itself engulfed in dark circles of loneliness and unworthiness. Psychologically speaking loneliness is a common experience and  it stands as a  proven  fact  that isolation and loneliness leads to numerous psychiatric complications such as depression, personality disorders and maladaptive behaviour such as alcoholism and drug abuse.With 80% of our young  and 40 % elderly population reporting loneliness at some point in their lives.It is enough for us to realise the gravity of the issue and take measures to look at their roots and further implications.

The reason for this experience is that adolescence lack definite coping skills and this is a time period when being loved and accepted is very crucial to ones identity.In the case of the elderly,a gradual shift from routine life to retirement is one of the leading causes.

Our ever innovative communication platforms (for instance social media) have taken over the general communicative norms  where the concepts of empathy,understanding and listening seems lost in the digital age.

The problem lies in the act itself where listening, reflecting and understanding becomes a mere term or like a mantra on a loop.It is very necessary to emphasise on the act of listening. Active listening is one of the key practices that is involved in the realm of counseling psychology and psychiatry. It is quite understood that listening without preconceived notions is one of the hardest task for us, we are faced with issues that are very peculiar in nature. The rapid influx of information has has had an impact on our very thought process, it is filled with biases,prejudices,which leads to the normalisation of filtered conversations in our everyday lives.

In such an hostile environment to the self we tend to opt for virtual communicative platforms in order to fill the voids of acceptance and care, but it must be realised that such platforms aren’t designed from a humanistic point of view.

Amidst this technological revolution,I believe we need to reclaim the very idea of communication itself.By listening,by actively participating in conversations,by lending a helping hand to a friend or a dear one in real time setting and in a more humanistic manner.

This pandemic has provided us with ample amount of time to put things in retrospect from healthcare to governance, every social institution is in dire need of an overhaul,in such times an insight into our way of  being signals that  the only way forward can be a fully aware and conscious understanding of our actions that should be in line with the growth of self and social well-being and harmony.

Never before this in human history has a human action been as consequential as it would be in the coming days and years . The onus  for a better tomorrow lies on our shoulders individually and socially. 

 “Taking a new step, uttering a new word is what people fear most.”

– Fyodor Dostoevsky

Abdullah Kazmi is a student of Psychology and Social Science based in Bangalore. He blogs at The Script.

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