The primacy of listening

In the 16th century, the development of the printing press was perhaps a key factor in the reformation of the Christian church – used to great effect by protestant’s like Martin Luther. Accessibility came in the form of free printed ‘flyers’, bible passages translated from Latin and of course public speeches and debates. Yet another chapter in our very human quest for freedom of thought, speech and access to knowledge.

In those times, literacy was a skill taught only to the elite and powerful. Despite this, communication through storytelling has carried knowledge across generations without the need for reading or writing. We first start understanding our world by hearing about it.


We now consider literacy a fundamental human right, but you really can’t master it in the early years of life. We learn to listen, then talk, then read, then write. Again, listening is our earliest – almost innate – learning tool on the path to literacy. We just have to start there first, then we can use all 4 skills in combination.

Read about the ‘Socratic method’ and storytelling perspectives in this article:

Leave a Reply