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In all the well-won tributes to composer Aaron Copland on his 80th birthday, we have failed to find reference to a bit of advice he once gave that reaches beyond the realm to which he applied it. "Music can only be really alive when there are listeners who are really alive," he wrote. "To listen intently, to listen consciously, to listen with one's whole intelligence is the least we can do in the furtherance of an art that is one of the glories of mankind."

True of music, yes. But what about listening to each other? Suppose we did not just hear our friend, our neighbor, our spouse, our fellow man -- but listened intently, consciously, with our whole intelligence. What unsuspected glories we might share. Anyway, isn't it the least we can do?

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