Many hear the sounds or see the words in the page.
But listening, if that means not only absorbing what’s been presented – whatever the media – but trying to think objectively and subjectively and vicariously about what is absorbed, so it’s understood.
Understanding isn’t demonstrated by agreement or feelings of rightness but by having parsed the new content into a definitive but flexible distillation of whatever was objectively being spoken, written, played, shown.
The more difficult (i.e. not familiar, challenging to one’s extant worldview) the less readily absorbed, the more silent thoughtful effort to authentically parse.
Less thought and effort parsing makes an constant coercion to gravitate to easier content more quickly absorbed.
Thus a demand for content dressed to seem profound, honed by its creator to be most palatable – the least sense of lost fidelity alongside the smoothest absorption; which itself is gratefully praised as proof of quality.
So long as there’s no anxiety over lost fidelity, there’s an inevitable progression in content detail that’s most easily followed by cutting off distraction (i.e. contradictory content, troublesome nuance) bolstered by in-group collusion, disdaining out-group dissonance. These lines of demarcation will only become more defined, less porous to ideas or cross-pollenation. Breadth of knowledge narrows and with it, discernment, thus heightening the need for the echo chamber to keep up the conviction of rightness (obviously) and self-confidence of objective relevance (knowing the subject, feeling on the front line that defines the future narrative).