Pauline Oliveros

Quantum Listening

Quantum Listening is a manifesto of sorts, traversing the idea of what it means to listen. I guess it’s such an inherent thing that we maybe don’t think about enough, an aspect of our lives we largely take for granted.

Our own values are developed through the experience of listening and Oliveros writes about it in a thoughtful and compassionate way, both about what it means to her and to us as humans.

‘How we listen creates our life.’

I always think there’s something very mystical about both sound and silence, maybe its lack of tangibility and how it’s mostly informed by the way we feel. I feel as though we don’t value listening as much as we should, especially the way both sound and lack of sound shapes our environment compared to something like lighting or moving image.

Listening however, can be and is a very rewarding experience in itself. I’ve found that sounds and music help to translate experiences and feelings that I can most likely never verbalize. I think it’s a really beautiful experience when you can feel understood by a sound, which might be an odd thing to say, though I’ve found a lot of comfort in that.

Translating the inexplicable, and opening up your own reality to experiences that would be reduced in complexity were they to be put into words. Sometimes listening can induce moments you never thought you could feel, and to not listen wholly is to be dismissive of your own experience. I’ve mentioned this elsewhere on the blog both implicitly and explicitly, but it is your own experience that you must always hold sacred.

All that we feel is derived from listening. We listen to anothers’ mind, even when they aren’t speaking. We listen to our body even when it is silent, and we listen to ourselves even when we are quiet.

Oliveros explains that suppression of listening can cause an imbalance and that when we devalue listening, separation and alienation results. Personally, when I’m not listening to myself and everything around me, both on the surface and deep down, that is where confusion always seems to lie.

The Quantum Listener listens to listening. A beautiful manifesto on our experience with existence.

‘The dream of reality and the reality of the dream. This makes them like everything else in the universe. Although it cannot be seen, its presence is felt.’

Thank you Molly x