Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Well, huh

Whipped this quote right off The Elementary's blog without a by your leave because it speaks so perfectly to the current state of our current affairs.

"The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place."
-George Bernard Shaw

It would appear that, in the political arena at least, most of our "thinking" is being funneled through the lens of emotion, so one in the market to influence is either preaching to the choir or to the deaf.

photo: bp2.blogger.com/.../ s320/miscommunication.jpg


Vincent said...

I wonder what Bernard Shaw was referring to?

But in the context you propose, he is certainly right. The preacher on the soap-box in the market-place is pursuing his own agenda and not conducting a dialogue.

Therefore it isn't communication at all. A political party in Britain got into trouble legally because it sent out recorded audio messages of its leader by telephone to random subscribers (in the guise of a democratic questionnaire).

It was nothing resembling communication of course: just a one-way rant for one side's benefit.

When I am accosted by a politician or preacher of any kind, there's no reason why I shouldn't funnel their message through the lens of emotion---irritation springs to mind!

Communication only takes place when there's a two-way flow, listening as well as speaking.

Living in a democracy does not oblige me to listen with open mind and sweet reasonableness to any accosting voice!

Vincent said...

The cartoon is good, for it reminds us that in real communication we don't actually confuse the two meanings of mouse at all.

Communication isn't a computer program, and our understanding of one another transcends words, doesn't it?

Lee said...

Communication is not what you say; it is what the other person hears. Always a risky enterprise.

Barbara said...

I have first-hand experience that the absence of effective communication invites disaster and a lot of hurt feelings. Sometimes we even have to try multiple approaches to make ourselves understood. But the important thing is to keep on talking.

Pauline said...

Vincent, I don't know what GBS had in mind when he said that but I know that I had the most recent presidential campaigns on mine. When members of a listening crowd yell, "Kill him!" when referring to the opposing candidate, I'd say they are surely letting their emotions get the better of their intellect.

Lee - I agree, communication is always risky. Likewise, Barbara, I guess we have to keep trying. Deserted islands are few and far between these days.

meggie said...

So true, the picture in the mind being quite different to the speaker's mind picture!
I agree with Lee.