July 15, 2014
Written by Maximus Peperkamp, M.S. Verbal Behaviorist
This journal entry is written with a different letter type “Constantia” and this writer was reminded of what can happen when his writings are under discriminative control of the font he chooses to write with. The stream of writings that this writer has produced in recent times has somewhat subsided and this writer is again trying to find a more inspiring letter type. He was previously writing with letter type “Forte” and he enjoyed that a lot, but the last time he wrote with it, he felt kind of worn out. Also, he has written an announcement for his next seminar in the “Castellar” letter type. It helped and it produced a good announcement, but he doesn’t want to continue to write with it anymore. Apparently, he can only be inspired by the font for so long before his writing becomes more of the same. At this moment, it feels like a relief to be writing with the “Constantia” font again. It is as if some regularity has returned and this writer wants to see what happens when he carries on with that.
It is kind of nice, after having experimented with different fonts, to be back with this one which seems to give a certain calm and stability. The absence of emotional involvement makes it a pleasant experience to write with “Constantia” and to read it. This reminds this writer about speaking and listening. In Sound Verbal Behavior (SVB), speakers can listen to themselves while they speak and they enjoy what they hear. This is different from the saying that someone ‘likes to hear himself talk’. What is meant by that is usually that the person talks on and on, but is not really listening to him or herself while he or she speaks. If one doesn’t listen to one self, one can’t decide whether one likes what one hears. Moreover, if you don’t listen to yourself, because others are made to listen to you, you may imagine that you sound all right, but this is very different when you are made to listen to yourself. When others stop you from talking, because they don’t like what they hear, then you suddenly don’t like what you hear either. You really don’t like to hear that they don’t like to listen to you!!!
The fact that others don’t like to listen to us often unfortunately prevents us from listening to ourselves. When others don’t want to hear what we want to say, our attention tends to go to them, instead of to ourselves. Others respond to us, but we when they express that they don’t want to listen to us, we try whatever we can to make them listen to us. As long as we can get away with this, as long as we can surround ourselves with enablers, we will continue to talk at others, but not with them. This is how Noxious Verbal Behavior (NVB) works.
In NVB the speaker doesn’t care about the listener and thus neglects the listener. In NVB all the attention goes continuously to the speaker. If any attention goes to the listener at all, it is only to make sure that the listener keeps on doing exactly as he or she is told by the speaker. In NVB we glorify and placate the coercive speaker and we tell him or her that he or she sounds great when in reality he or she sounds terrible. The listener who fulfills this mandatory energy-draining task is a 'good' listener because he or she reinforces NVB.
SVB is a listener’s perspective on our spoken communication. The listener is afraid to tell the speaker that he or she sounds horrible, because he or she knows that if he or she would do that, all hell breaks loose. Not enabling the speaker would immediately be punished. In NVB, since the listener is not really a listener at all and the speaker is not really a speaker either, but the spell of make-belief can only be broken by the listener.
Speakers continue to speak the way they speak regardless of what the listeners think or feel. Speakers continue to use violence to emphasize their words. NVB speakers pay lip-service to their listeners, but make sure they say what listeners ‘want’ to hear. What anyone is forced to hear is based on fear. The listener is not listening although he or she keeps buying into fear. The speaker threatens the listener and then supposedly protects the listener from this threat by doing the talking for him or for her. What happens is that the speaker prevents the listener from speaking. The listener has forgotten that he or she can actually speak. The listener may occasionally speak, but that way of speaking is not the speech which makes the speaker listen. Morever, when listeners to NVB speakers speak, most likely, they don’t listen to themselves either. In NVB, neither the speaker nor the listener listens. When the listener really listens, his or her own private speech becomes one with the public speech of the speaker. That is SVB!
In NVB the private speech of the listener contradicts the public speech of the speaker. In NVB there is a constant tension between private speech and public speech. In NVB private speech is excluded from public speech. In SVB, the speaker’s private speech is similar to the listener’s private speech and doesn’t interfere with the speaker's public speech. In SVB private and public speech are joined. In NVB private speech and public speech are disconnected.
A speaker’s public speech may unknowingly or unconsciously be perceived by the listener as disturbing by his or her private speech or the listener's private speech may also knowingly and consciously be perceived as distracting from the public speech of the speaker. The difference between a person’s private and public speech is a subject matter which remains difficult to talk about as long as the attention of the communicators, both the speakers and the listeners, is only on the speaker. In NVB, the attention is always on the speaker and the topic of the conversation is what the speaker says. In SVB, by contrast, the listener determines the topic of the conversation. Moreover, the attention focuses on whether the listener understands the speaker. This sets the stage for a different kind of interaction than one in which the speaker is presumably more important than the listener. In SVB, the speaker is important because he or she is understood by the listener. In NVB, speakers demand the attention from the listeners.
In SVB, speakers give attention to the listeners due to how they speak. In NVB, speakers hold, hijack and drain the attention of the listeners. Because in SVB attention is given to the listener, the listener is given the opportunity to speak. Because in SVB the attention is given to the listener, the speaker will listen to the listener, who is stimulated by the speaker to speak in a SVB manner. Because NVB speakers dominate the attention of the listener, even when these listeners become speakers, they neither listen to themselves nor to others. The selfishness and dominance of the NVB speakers is characterized by their outward orientation, which affect the listener. In NVB, the speech only goes in one direction: from the speaker to the listener. In NVB speaker literally rams whatever he or she says down the listener's throat. In effect, whatever the listener would want to say is forced back by what the speaker is saying.