I recently watched a documentary on the British wartime photographer Don McCullin. The previews portrayed McCullin as a deep thinking and compassionate man and I found myself watching the movie.
What is the relationship between seeing another and listening to another? I don’t know and I don’t even think I want to know an answer to that question. I ask it only because there seems to be a sensitivity that we engage in if we really see another or listen to another.
At one point in the film, Don McCullin mentioned that what made his wartime photographs have an impact on society was that he was sensitive to humanity. My sense of his work is that he wasn’t going into war zones as an unbiased photojournalist, he allowed his bias to be the source of his vision. His bias wasn’t for one side or the other in the warring peoples he photographed; his bias was for humanity.
What if, while someone was telling us their story, we allowed ourselves to become bias in their favor? Whether we agree with another or not just might not be the point.
You don’t have to be a photographer in order to see another human being. You only have to open your eyes. You don’t have to be a Listening Post volunteer to listen to another. You only have to open your heart and be sensitive to humanity. Be in favor of the person who shares with you. What if we were encouraged to do that?
Please take this opportunity to be encouraged. Try it for yourself: be completely biased in favor of another. Go ahead, it will only take a moment. Listen to what is shared by each person ever born and ever to be born: listen to humanity. Seems like a tall order, eh? Doesn’t have to be. Start with the person sitting beside you. Be encouraged to be on their side. I’ve got your back.