For some time I have been troubled by a truth I feel is unquestionable. That women are better at listening than men. Having accepted this I have searched very hard for a parallel capability that men have that is the complement of listening. At first I felt it was model-making. A group of women discussing something often lack the simple capacity to ask the question “What’s your model?” Its the masculine way to extricate someone from an emotional hole. But over time I began to see that model-making in itself can’t rival the universal application that listening has, although it is very important. Science, for instance, if we leave aside the corrupt or egotistic elements, thrives most on model-making.
About two weeks ago I understood what us men have to rival and complement listening utterly. I’m driving my friends crazy right now because I won’t commit to a word for it yet, in case the experience and the understanding melts away. But some words come close. Hypnosis is good, but a tricky word because the dictionary is out of date and there is a whole spectrum of light and shade in the opinions about its integrity. Everyone likes Carl Rogers’ approach to client-centred therapy or even discussion, but perhaps influence is something we shy away from. I certainly have until recently. I even felt that listenng was the core quality in spiritual growth. Anyhow I can try to describe it poetically………….
Its the capacity to allow one’s energy or thoughts or feelings to work in an active way on someone, perhaps even oneself. It doesn’t HAVE to be sustained, but it does need to be firm. It can be as gentle as listening, and it can even be combined or alternated with listening. Hypnosis in the sense Joe Vitale uses it is this masculine quality.
In my music there is an influence from all the American minimalists. In this music there is a hypnotic element. Through repetition there is set up a transcendence of the sound, an awareness that is 4th dimensional (outside the looping in time) which parallels hypnosis, in the sense that good hypnosis seems to me (its not my field, yet) a way to communicate by reaching a person’s deeper levels. How good is the music? How deep does it reach, and how happy do you become? How many of your burdens have fallen away? Terry Riley’s music for instance is highly conscious of the subjective component of music (which arguably is where it all happens anyway). We are each music, and that approach has far more chance to engage with us.
We assign presence to our words and our sounds (and in composing music) by entering depth through the body/mind, transcending yet pervading ourselves. Will, command, gesture, hypnosis, broadcast, power …….. all these reverse listening, and although they have negative connotations, they foster a dynamism which makes masculine gender. Then men (and women) can be explosive in relationship as well as aquiescent.
Here I feel is a great key to understanding what it means to equal women in the height of their qualities of empathising; spiritual and healing capacities, and to complement them wonderfully. (Of course nowadays men and women overlap qualities more and more, but you know that). But I’m still not yet committing to a word for it. Watch this space. I might never.