Not everyone needs to be heard

One of the worst mistakes I made as a younger man was believing that everyone just “needs to be heard.” Some do. I don't relinquish at all my conviction that exhaustive, collective, emotional unloading — what the feminist tradition once called "consciousness raising" — is a veritable form of revolutionary politics with real effects. Nonetheless, there exist individuals who wish to perform a kind of intellectualized temper tantrum, which is not an honest disclosure or unconcealing, but a kind of instrumental technique — where the listener is the object of manipulation. My former inability to discern the characteristic differences between these two modes was perhaps the single greatest error of my twenties, in terms of resource wastage (time and effort, mostly). Practical resources that could increase such discernment for others would be extremely valuable, especially today, as the need for them appears to be increasing...

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