To understand the demands and restrictions of human consciousness will allow teachers and students alike to actually "be" listeners. It is speculated (by K. Wilber, E. Neumann, J. Gebser and others) that human consciousness, in the course of human existence, has gone through several changes, different modes or structures, so to speak, lasting thousands of years. Gebser has delineated five structures of consciousness: Archaic, Magical, Mythical, Mental/Rational, and Arational/Integral. With each of these structures or consciousness comes a system of communication suited to the needs of the consciousness. Presently, humankind is once again in transition, in the throes of a shift from mental/rational to arational/integral consciousness. This shift can be seen in the art of the Impressionists and the aperspectival art of Cubism. Physicists discuss relativity and chaos. Philosophers have developed the premises of phenomenology. Music is being restructured in the atonal style of Hindemith and Stravinsky. Listening is taught as a focus of communication studies and customer service. This new stage of consciousness will require the individual to think and speak in some way other than dichotomously. It will require seeking the similarities in others and, as a result, diversity, not differences. The purpose of communication will be to connect with (not control) others and find the agreement and harmony in varied perspectives. What this means, more specifically, for the task of listening is that it will become increasingly important in a climate that emphasizes connection between people rather than competition. Education will focus on intrapersonal processes, learning to trust intuition, and teaching students a non-judgmental attitude. (Contains a table showing the structures of consciousness and communication and seven references.) (TB)
ERIC Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the International Listening Association (16th, Little Rock, AR, March 8-11, 1995).