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Being mode and Having mode

Updated: Jul 4

We are often sold an idea of who we can become, but in reality, we're just buying something we will have. For example, a shampoo commercial may sell you on the idea of being confident, but all you end up with is a plastic bottle filled with a list of ingredients you can barely pronounce. Similarly, a car commercial may sell you on the idea of being stylish, safe, and free but being any of those things requires more than just owning a particular car.

The philosopher Eric Fromm talks about:

What is fully describable is our persona - the mask we each wear, the ego we present - for this persona is in itself a thing. In contrast, the living human being is not a dead image and cannot be described like a thing. In fact, the living human being cannot be described at all. Indeed, much can be said about me, about my character, about my total orientation to life. This insightful knowledge can go very far in understanding and describing my own or another's psychical structure.
But the total me, my whole individuality, my suchness that is as unique as my fingerprints are, can never be fully understood, not even by empathy, for no two human beings are entirely alike.

...are you sold yet?

Philosopher Harry G. Frankfurt explores this idea in his paper entitled "On Bullshit," which distinguishes between outright lying and obfuscating the truth through misdirection, causing us to become confused about our being mode versus our having mode. Advertising often taps into our insecurities and our desire to be unique, individual, liked, loved, and admired by others for that uniqueness.

So, what is Overhear selling you, and could it be just another example of bullshit? Our app is free, we don't take any advertising revenue or harvest and sell any data so I hope this will lead you to conclude that it's not selling you anything.

We are simply inviting you to take part in something meaningful. We are asking you to be inquisitive, active, curious, mindful, and aware of your surroundings. We don't just want you to have the audio we create we want you to be present with it.

We invite you to 'be' yourself on location, but not only that, we invite you to go beyond being yourself and to hear where the audio draws you out of yourself and beyond yourself. This allows you to hear and embody the words of poets, residents, or storytellers and inhabit a space that provides insight into how you and how others experience a place.

In short, we are not selling you a product or a lifestyle. We are giving you an opportunity to explore and experience the world in a new way. We're pretty much all about the Being mode.

Overhear invites listeners to explore multiple perspectives and gain insight into who we are and who others are. In a world that often emphasises and capitalises on individualism and self-promotion, Overhear offers a refreshing alternative by encouraging listeners to connect with the world around them and with the diverse perspectives that exist within it. By providing a platform for voices that might otherwise go unheard, Overhear invites listeners to step outside of their own perspectives and gain a deeper understanding of the world and the people in it. In this way, Overhear offers a powerful counter to the hyper-individualistic culture that often dominates our lives, reminding us of the importance of empathy, connection, and community.

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