New York Times features St. Olaf professor’s take on the art of listening
“Given that meaningful relationships are crucial to human thriving, it is unfortunate that the ability to listen should be so underestimated, and so rare,” St. Olaf College Professor of Philosophy Gordon Marino writes at the beginning of his recent New York Times column titled “Are You Listening?” that was featured in the paper’s national and international editions.
Marino points out that over the years, philosophers have paid little attention to the virtue of listening.
“While attempts to break down moral character into a list of virtues — like courage, honesty, self-control and so on — go back at least to Aristotle, the ability to listen never made the list,” he notes. “Philosophy is mostly silent on the moral importance of being a good listener.”
Philosophy is mostly silent on the moral importance of being a good listener.Professor of Philosophy Gordon Marino
He goes on to outline how hearing others through your own concerns is not really listening — and provides several examples of how effective listening can make a difference in the lives of others.
Marino is an internationally recognized journalist who regularly contributes to publications like the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. He won the American Philosophical Association’s opinion-editorial contest for his New York Times piece “A Life Beyond ‘Do What You Love.’” Marino is also the author of The Existentialist’s Survival Guide: How to Live Authentically in an Inauthentic Age.
On campus, Marino is devoted to teaching. Philosophy courses he’s recently led at St. Olaf include Law, Politics, and Morality; Nietzsche and Existentialism; The Making of the Modern Mind; Freud and the Study of Human Behavior; and Ethics and the Good Life. This spring, he’ll lead courses on Kierkegaard and Existential Prescriptions for Anxiety and Depression.
In addition to his teaching and writing, Marino also serves as curator of the Howard and Edna Hong Kierkegaard Library at St. Olaf College and is an assistant coach for the St. Olaf football team.