The Listening Man

Peter - Taos, New Mexico
Entered on June 9, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

I believe that I know very little. I do not mean that as a testament to humility or a lesson in self-deprecation. It is simply that I am confident in the knowledge of others over my own. Every person possesses a piece of the puzzle, a sliver of wisdom that is their very own. Listening to theses voices, discovering the insights hidden among the masses, is my requisite to understanding.

I believe that my understanding of the world is lacking. This planet is home to more truths and possibilities than any single person can hope to uncover. One man’s truth is another’s heresy – allowing that contradiction to guide society promises only conflict and war. I see no one truth, I see no one system.

I believe that dialogue is the path to knowing. I believe that all too often people speak without thought, without a full appreciation for the opposite viewpoint. I have always been quiet in the classroom. It’s not that I believe you should simply accept what you are taught. I’m just scared I have not thought hard enough about the question. I believe in patience.

I believe I have a solution to this country’s ills. The America I know is a beacon of global society. It is home to the world’s people, ever race, every religion, and every nationality. It is a bastion of freedom, the result of a collective drive for intellectual liberty and corporeal independence. It is imagined and created by those who dream of a better future, of a world brighter than any before.

Every person owns an ounce of the knowledge needed to make that world a reality. It is accomplished by giving people their say and listening to every single word. It cannot be completed though one political system, through one law, through one instance of intellectual or creative expression. It is done slowly by the conversations of the masses, through the dialogue of a free and open country.

I believe that the world is a dangerous place only when we close our eyes and cover our ears.

I believe in the power of the listening man. I believe in the power of the listening nation.