Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Communication, revisited

Continuing with this thought on the issue of communication. IT is my observation that there is actually very little communicating going on in our culture today, mostly because we are not talking to each other; rather, we are talking at each other. I know this is not an original observation, but that doesn't make it any less true. Let's take the quote from Scientific American that started this whole thing for me.

At one level, the editorial folks at SciAm are absolutely correct. The issue revolves around the the interactions between two elements of a pluralistic society that happen to be in profound disagreement with each other. The problem is, SciAm's formulation says nothing. Why? Because every policy debate in a pluralistic society is, at its foundation, a debate about which side of the issue gets to determine what actions are to be considered appropriate. It doesn't matter whether the subject is a highly volatile one, like stem cell research, or barely debatable, like child exploitation. The resolution of the policy question will result in one segment of society curtailing the actions of another.

But we can never get to the point of the debate if we pretend that the argument is something other than what it is. On this issue, and so many others, we throw words at each other, not in an effort of clarify, but to muddy the waters. Just listen to any political advertisement. Does anyone with a brain really believe that any candidate's formulation of their opponent's position is fair and accurate? Every statement should be viewed with the utmost cynicism, not just suspicion. The same holds true with editorials, advertisements, news articles, and even blogs. It is neither in vogue, nor effective to attempt simple communication today. If you read or watch anything and expect that you allow oneself to be indoctrinated.

We cannot afford to allow that to happen in a pluralistic society.

1 comment:

Andy said...

Good observation. So what's the solution?