The Earpiece of the Community

Give Ear is an organization born out of the heart and practice of listening. We often see social media become an avenue for isolation, comparison, and loud opinions. Give Ear will provide a space to celebrate important work being done in the community, as well as a place for ideas and stories to be shared. Everyone has dreams, experiences… a story.

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Give Ear.

Journal

Our journal will consist of stories and ideas that highlight the heart behind Give Ear. In our journal we will include personal entries as well as from contributors. They will highlight ideas of social media use, listening, storytelling, and more. Please reach out if you would like to contribute!

Mosaic

We are all part of one story bigger than ourselves. This is a collection of people living great stories and impacting their community. We're celebrating their work. Let us know if someone in your community is making a difference and would like their work shared!

Journal

 

Our journal will consist of stories and ideas that highlight the heart behind Give Ear. 

Our most recent entry:

 

The Bicameral Mind: How the Mind Listens and Speaks

By Jordan Springer

(August 17, 2018)

 

Bicameralism (the condition of being divided into "two-chambers") is a hypothesis in psychology that argues that the human mind once operated in a state in which cognitive functions were divided between one part of the brain which appears to be "speaking", and a second part which listens and obeys — a bicameral mind. [1]

Coined by Julian Jaynes in the 1970s, bicameralism is a theory posited in an attempt to explain the origins of consciousness and human thought (and consequential behavior). The theory does not suppose the human brain is two disconnected parts, but rather one mind which operates in a mental economy of partitioned stimulus and response. This theory has been used often in the HBO series Westworld, seeking to help the viewer understand the nature of artificial intelligence and the pursuit of replicating true consciousness (a very dark show, but worth watching for this philosophical engagement).

The intention of this post is not to fully explore bicameralism and its tenants, but rather to put forth this theory as a helpful analogy. You have a mind, that both speaks and listens. So what are we to do with this mind?

When the mind speaks

It has been said: no one talks to you more than you do.

I remember the first time my counselor made this suggestion to me, and invited me to begin recording the things I tell myself. What I found was a plethora of good thoughts, bad thoughts, and everything in between. I began to realize that my self-talk was simply an attempt to make sense of reality and the stimuli I was experiencing. It is important to note that while you are the most active voice in your own head, that does not make you the truest voice. We as humans are much more prone to delusions, distortions, and deviations from the truth than cold-hard facts. Therefore, we cannot always trust what we tell ourselves.

We as human process first emotionally (we feel), and second intellectually (we develop a mental response). This is important to note in considering how and why we talk to ourselves: we speak out of an emotional response to life and reality. We also often speak to ourselves with unfiltered words, in ways we would never want anyone else to hear. We are talking constantly, because we are feeling constantly.

When the mind listens

It has also been said: we listen to ourselves more than we listen to anyone else.

The dialogue of our minds can often seem like a nonstop echo chamber. Have you ever been so preoccupied with a thought or notion that it has kept you up all night? We don’t simply talk to ourselves—we listen to ourselves and respond, creating a vicious cycle of paralyzing self talk that leads us down rabbit hole after rabbit hole, searching for an answer we will never find.

It was also suggested to me to record what I was hearing from myself. Not just recounting what I was saying but listening closely to how it was said and why it was said. When a friend tells you something, you don’t just hear words, you hear their heart and often can identify intent.

While we as human beings “put ourselves on the couch," we must also remember that we are the ones on the couch when we engage in self dialogue. You are not simply the counselor, but also the counseled one.

Human Consciousness

The mind speaks, the mind listens. We receive and perceive, we experience stimulus and develop responses.

This is the gift and curse of human consciousness: that we are not just animals with urges, but human beings with minds and hearts and souls. We are far more complex than we sometimes want to acknowledge.

It is important to develop a healthy ethic of self talk because I have bad news for you: you will never stop talking to yourself or listening to yourself. You will be your loudest critic (and hopefully cheerleader) forever. Your existence will include you on the couch and you with the notepad for as long as that bundle of neurons in your head is fully operational.

So in the interest of the mission and vision of Giveear, might I suggest a few things to help you in developing a healthy ethic of giving ear to yourself?

1. Remember: you are not a puzzle to be solved

What I mean is this: you are a complex human being unlike anyone else who has ever or will ever exist. There will never be another Jordan Springer. There may come another with the same name, but he and I are simply incapable of being the same person with the same beauties and complexities. So in this effort to speak to and listen to yourself, remember you cannot solve the Rubik’s cube of your soul. You as a limited person are simply not capable.

2. Take notes

I have benefited greatly from recording the things that I tell myself and how I respond. What do you believe about yourself? When things go wrong, what is it you tell yourself? And when you speak to yourself, for better or worse, what is it you hear? How do you respond?

3. Let other voices and ears in

You are not alone in this world. While you are a complex and wonderfully made human being, you are not without the need for others. Oftentimes, we cannot hear the damaging things we are saying to ourselves because we are so used to the rhetoric. It is important to allow others in to listen to your thoughts and hear you out. It is also important to have others in your life who can tell you truth when you aren’t telling it to yourself. When you are walking through suffering and it feels like the world is ending, you will need others to show you the silver linings and to help you steer away from self condemnation. Men and women were never intended to live lives of isolation from others, let people in that you trust and allow them to join you on the couch.

4. Find ways to escape

I don’t mean run away from your problems, I mean give yourself a break. Over-examination can indeed lead to paralysis, and it is important that your life is not one constant trial of self v self. Not every thought and emotion requires deep analysis, sometimes we need to acknowledge we are simply having a bad day and need to go to sleep. Over-analysis of self can also mutate the ethic of self examination into a witch hunt of constantly asking yourself and others to help you find that one squeaky wheel that is causing your undoing. Sometimes, it simply isn’t there. Sometimes, we are just searching for answers we can’t have for a reality that hurts and we don’t want. PS—this is normal. This world is broken, your body is broken; and we (especially in the West) believe answers will remedy pain. Some pain does not have answers, some suffering is unimaginable and unexplainable. I am sorry, I know it hurts and this is not the answer you are hoping for.

In closing, take it easy and take it slow.

The purpose of this endeavor is not some intellectual enlightenment, but rather to serve as a pathway to self acceptance and self love.

There is no greater purpose in this life than to know one’s self and to love that person for the person he or she is. Without this, we will never come to know true empathy and care for others.

The world needs you and your mind, body, and soul.

 

Be well, and thanks for reading.

Jordan

--------------

endnotes:

[1] https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bicameralism_(psychology)


 
 

Mosaic

We are all part of one story bigger than ourselves. This is a collection of people living great stories and impacting their community. We're celebrating their work.

 

BHB & Transit Arts (July 2017 feature)

If you are looking to become a local leader, hero, or champion of a community, I think the first thing I would do is advise you to sit in on one of BHB’s weekly hip hop dance classes. Or, just meet the guy and shake his hand.

It was a little over a year ago when I first saw BHB perform with his dance group, Transit Arts, at a local art museum in Columbus. To say my jaw was dropped the entire time would be an understatement. I have often heard people describe good art as having the ability to move one to tears. I have to say, I never understood that concept until that day, when I watched Transit Arts perform.

There was something about the incredible talent on display, mixed with the undeniable brotherhood and camaraderie, topped off with the never-ceasing smiles of the dance team that simply moved me to tears beyond my control. So when my friends and I were thinking about starting a project in which we would seek out local heroes, BHB was the very next thought in mind. I had to go meet him.

Fast forward almost one year to the day of seeing Transit Arts perform and I’m walking into the community center on East Main Street just hoping to show my face and exchange some information with BHB. Honestly, I wanted to do some sort of feature story on him specifically, but BHB himself was getting in my way. Let me explain.

BHB stands for Brothers Helping Brothers. It was so apparent to me within seconds of meeting him that he was much more interested in celebrating the young people around him in that community center than he was having a camera on himself. I thought I was going to interview someone I found to be a local champion, and he flipped the definition on its head. He certainly is a community changer, so much so that he was praising, celebrating, and introducing me to the young people around him who were being raised up to do the exact same. That first day of meeting BHB… and I was only there for 10-15 minutes, he introduced me to 5-7 friends around him, enthusiastically pointing me to their areas of talent, the number of times they had been on the Dean’s List, and the upcoming events they would be performing in. BHB showed me the most imperative quality in a good leader and a world-changer that day: setting others above himself and showcasing their skills and hard work. I could tell immediately that he would much rather show off his friends than himself; he had not a shred of interest in that. This, my friends, is the mark of a community leader, a local hero, and a world-changer. The exact definition and heartbeat of Give Ear had already been living and breathing in BHB for many years. I hope that in this small glimpse of a local hero we can do a little justice to the impact he is having on Columbus’s youth. I know I have already been impacted myself. Don't just take my word for it though. You can go see them all throughout the summer and fall; here is a schedule of their upcoming events: http://www.transitarts.com/


The Storytellers

Combining our passions of writing, video, photography, and design, we hope to tell the stories of people in our community. We hope to listen to, celebrate, and share the stories of others, and we hope this will change the community and the world.

What others are saying:

"These guys are three of the most attentive, compassionate, and curious people I know. My brother Chris has consistently been those things throughout his life, and even as a small kid he always suited up as a communicator and a peacemaker. Ever since meeting Zach and Andrew for the first time five/ish years ago, I have been struck by seeing those same qualities that I always adored in my brother growing up. In a politically polarized and often bleak-seeming world, I am given renewed hope that these three guys are endeavoring to pool their creative talents and establish a community-oriented platform focused on connection. Humans from all walks of life have valid experiences and worthy stories to tell. Give Ear will seek to illustrate the humanity in all of us."

Drew Williams, local musician: Deadwood Floats/ Fellow Hollow ---> http://deadwoodfloats.com/https://fellowhollow.bandcamp.com/

“In a world where most people are talking past each other, these guys are cultivating the sort of space that all of us long for…a safe place to be seen and heard as we really are.  I’m not sure there is any better starting point to bring more love into the world. I’m a big fan of Give Ear…especially because I trust the hearts of the guys behind it! They genuinely care about hearing people’s real perspectives on life and are passionate about changing the world for good.  I learn so much from hearing other people's stories and I’m guessing as you follow along with Give Ear, you will too.”

Jeff Blackburn, director: Fearless Questions, Inc. ---> http://fearlessquestions.org/

"This is a GORGEOUS website and a terrific idea! I can’t wait until these guys start sharing more of this—it’s something I so agree with and believe in. Three people with complementary talents... I love everything this stands for!”

- John Montesi, Freelance writer, world-traveler, father to everyone's favorite dog, Hank ---> https://johntesi.com/


CHRIS WILLIAMS

Chris is a 2nd grade Special Ed. Teacher living in Columbus, Ohio. He scares his loved ones with his amount of coffee intake, loves his wife like crazy, and wishes his cat's vet visits were cheaper. He has a tight-knit family with as consistent of a GroupMe chat as they come. Many would say he's a walking "dad joke." He is passionate about writing and putt putt golf. Chris would love to see the social media platform become a quieter, more engaged space of listening and sharing ideas rather than wanting to be first or "right." This is what led him to create Give Ear.

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ZACH GIBSON

Zach is a media designer living in Columbus, Ohio. He has the most epic night-terrors known to man and has the best childhood stories you've ever heard. It is safe to say he spent more time playing computer games in his bathtub as a kid than anybody reading this. He has a deep and loyal love for his big family. He is passionate about storytelling and capturing raw moments through video and photographs. He shoots weddings year-round and creates media for a local jewelry store. Zach would love to see people experience freedom in their expression and truly be heard. This is what led him to create Give Ear.

ANDREW SIDERS

Andrew is a jack of all trades. He could very well be living in Australia right now and nobody would be surprised. At the same time, he is an incredible, loyal friend. He might have the best smile in the world. Every mother and grandmother loves him as if he's their own. He currently works about six jobs while going to school. He is passionate about landscape design, running at odd hours, and journaling. Andrew (or Andre, or Burt) would love to see people get in touch with their hearts and to ask tough questions about what they are really feeling/how they are doing. This is what led him to create Give Ear.