[FOUNTAIN]We’ve got a failure to communicate

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[FOUNTAIN]We’ve got a failure to communicate

Listening is as important as speaking. In Korean, there is even a word referring to how well one understands, which means “sense of hearing.” When speaking, we should make ourselves understood. There should be a sense of communication between the act of speaking and listening.
Psychologist Yang Guk-sun divides the “sense of hearing” into several categories. For example, let’s say a son tells his mother, “Mom, get out of my room. You should knock before you come in.”
The mother could respond in several ways: 1) “A mother can’t even go into her child’s bedroom? What could a child be hiding?” 2) “You seem upset that I came in without even knocking first.” 3) “Now that you are grown up, you seem to want your own private world.”
In the first case, the listener has not even understood the obvious feelings of the speaker. Even though the son and the mother are in the same place, they are living in different worlds. In the second case, the mother has understood the surface feeling but does not know how to react to it. In the third case, the mother has correctly heard what the child was saying and not saying and has even understood how her child is developing.
What is speaking that “makes oneself understood”? It is expressing the inner self by using the word “I,” which clearly states that “I am responsible for the feelings that I have.” But using the word “you” blames the other person for the feelings that one has and tries to make that person feel guilty. In this case, no matter what is said, the listener won’t accept it.
A person who does not have a sense of understanding will not be able to understand regardless of who the speaker is. Lacking a sense of understanding and having a manner of speaking that instantly blames others make a bad combination.
Looking at the rampage at the barracks near the DMZ, it seems that Private Kim had a very low “sense of understanding.” Of course, this does not justify the shooting spree. The tragedy must have started from miscommunication.
It is the age of the communication disorder. Are people like Private Kim only in the military? Aren’t they among us as well?


by Chun Young-gi

The writer is a deputy political news editor at the JoongAng Ilbo.
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