16 10 2011
The Listening Gap Between Sight and Sound
The truth is there is a gap between sight and hearing,
between visual and auditory, between seeing and believing.
And the fact is that this gap creates a billion dollar
industry. Improving communication has billions of books on
how-tos sitting on shelves and training services galore. And
the topic keeps on selling.
People push themselves to improve their verbal and writing
skills as a prediction to their increased success. How many
have asked the question that Dr. Stephen Covey continually
reminds us to ask, “Is it S.M.A.R.T.?” That is, is it
specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely. If
you use SMART as a measurement, the fact is, it doesn’t
work. Is great communication achievable and realistic? Is
We want to believe so. We want to hope so. We want so
badly to stand up in front of millions and say something as
wisely as, “I have a dream….” Or simpler, we say
something wise to our children or friends. Yet, have you
ever asked if this was even possible? Martin Luther King
didn’t write this speech all by himself and possibly didn’t
even create the phrase first. Yet we assume it to be.
Based on our personal growth with sight and sound since nee
we assume we can do it all alone, all by ourselves. Has any
wise communication ever really been written all by one
person? Not usually. There’s also seems to be at least a
Did you know that we see things at 1,086 miles per second
and we hear at 1,100 feet per second? Our culture is
speeding up because it’s crafted a “seeing is best” mindset.
Television, Internet, movies, the list goes on. If the
visual world is communication, then is it based on visual
alone? It seems to be going in that direction, doesn’t it?
The truth is that never the two shall meet — seeing and
hearing. They are too far apart in the spectrum. In order
to hear, truly hear, one must slow down to what seems like a
baby crawl in comparison to the speed of light and our
Yet, it takes the two to fully understand communication does
it not. Not sure, then that is correct. How would the
visually impaired or hearing impaired communicate then?
What is the speed of feeling? Is it faster or slower than
light or faster or slower than hearing? Is it measured by
feet or by miles? No one knows, I don’t think. Its never
been quantitatively tested, at least anywhere I could find.
Yet can it be? If you would measure feeling, what would
that be? Maybe in nanoseconds. Feeling is instinctive and
touch is a sense. Then is feeling a sense as well? Or are
they both the same? What is different between feeling and
hearing? Can we define its difference?
Do you sit and watch television with a sense of touch or
smell? Not at least from my blurb tube you can’t. Did you
ever think of hearing a television program? Of turning your
back to the box and watching the show? Why not? Why not
try it and feel this exact disconnect, this gap, that I’m
talking about. Strain your ears to hear. Learn again what
it means to hear.
What brings sight and sound together? Meaning and
definition becomes only throughout our growing years. When
a parent points to something moving in the air and calls it
a butterfly or a plane. When we sat in class and see
pictures of the Eiffel Tower or a bullfight in Spain. There
was no sound. All we could do was imagine, place
assumptions on what sound could be, would be. And wonder if
there will be a time when we will be there, when we will
hear. And be able to match a picture of an eagle with one
actually flying above.
We see a picture of a beautiful women, you know, the perfect
10, in some magazine. You wish to be like her or to want
her. Then one day you meet her in the street and hear her
voice. It squeaks as if you were stroking chalk backwards
across a blackboard. You can’t wait to run and hide. The
disconnect, the gap, was there. But gosh darn it, she’s a
10, you say. In a split second from sight to sound, the
desire to be like her to have her dropped, it wasn’t the
It is said, “seeing is believing,” is that the truth? How
many of us know that isn’t always the truth, yet we’ve heard
it so frequently there are assumptions tied to it that makes
its seem like the truth. How many assumptions have you made
because of things you’ve seen and hear, made between the
gap, between the speed of sight and the slower hearing?
What would change in your daily routine if you began really
hearing, slowing down to 1,100 feet per second? What would
you loose? What would you gain? Would the gain be
positive? All thoughts to think about, to mull over in our
simple yet complicated little minds.
I encourage you to shift a little in your life and begin to
give equal value to hearing if you can. To listening to the
universal sounds, to what is far below the speed of light.
Light that gives you the ability to see. But to begin to
see with your ears.
“Its not what you say but how you say it,” is a phrase
frequently told. Is it the truth? Or is the real truth how
everyone else hears it that makes a difference?
The truth is that the gap can never be brought together.
All our senses are on different parts of our rainbow. Don’t
loose sight of hearing. Practice differently today and
tomorrow. Lie in bed and hear the walls. Hear the breeze
whenever outdoors. Hear the plants grow. Yes, you can once
you learn to hear again. Hear your heart beating and watch
the cravings for things you know you shouldn’t have go bye.
Learn discernment between the two. Close your eyes in the
next meeting, what do you hear? What do you not?
As Shakespeare once said, “That is the question?” This is
from me to you and for fuel for thought. Just so you grow.