Hearing a Michael Jackson song still feels good. Listening has become too painful.

Listening to it and hearing it are not the same thing. In fact, the difference is fundamental — not only to how we approach Jackson’s songs, on the 10th anniversary of his death, but to how we shape our everyday consciousness. To hear is to sense your physical reality all around you. To listen is to make yourself attentive to that reality. Hearing is involuntary, passive and perpetual. Listening involves history and memory, filtering what we hear through what we know. We can listen to, and we can listen for, but we can only hear what we hear.