Tuesday, June 14, 2005


"n. 1. the act of transmitting 2. a) a giving or exchanging of information, signals or messages by talk, gestures, writing, etc. b) the information, message, etc. 3. close, sympathetic relationship. 4. a means of communicating; specif., a) [pl.] a system for sending and receiving messages, as by telephone, telegraph, radio, etc. b) [pl.] a system as of routes for moving troops and material c) a passage or way of getting from one place to another 5. [often pl. with sing. v.] a) the art of expressing ideas, esp. in speech and writing b) the science of transmitting information, esp. in symbols." - Webster's New World Dictionary, 2nd College Edition

2.a) a giving or exchanging of information, signals or messages. or 4.b) a system as of routes for moving troops and material.

So, if a truck carrying goods drives down the highway and drops off it's goods at the next town, communication has happened twice: once as part of the highway system, and once with the truck moves the goods from one town to another. (please see Tutorial, A Study Tour of Communication for more info)

If you walk outside on a rainy day, and raindrops hit your head so you raise your umbrella, communication has happened. If somebody sees you do it through their window and so declines to go outside, communication has happened at least twice.

Each one of these words I am typing are only symbols for the thoughts that I have in my head right now. Even through reading them, you will never know exactly what thoughts were in my head, and as succinct as I can be, I am trapped using symbols to try to convey what I am feeling. As a result, I can never be 100% accurate or clear in my message.

Think about this for a second in the context of human relationships.
1) We are competing with many forms of human and non-human communication for the attention of our listeners/readers.
2) We can never fully convey what we are thinking, nor can we fully understand what anyone else is thinking.

All the more reason to develop further our listening skills, and sensitivity.

I think that no system could exist without rudimentary forms of human and non-human communication, but think also how our human systems and communities could grow and benefit from better communication.

I just sat through a meeting where the speaker managed to say nothing for an hour. I think his secret was using really big words that didn't really mean anything (typical business speak, I know you've all been through this.) I wonder what would have happened if he had been forced to come out from his hiding place behind the big words and speak like a real person. I think it would have been surprising but entirely positive.


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