Rethinking COMMUNICATION

The following essay from Conscience: Your Ultimate Personal Survival Guide is an appropriate companion to the article just posted on LinkedIn, “True Leaders Trust Their Inner Compass To Overcome Confusion.” It opens with a question:

When others use the same word to mean different things, how do effective leaders bridge the gap to communicate clearly? If you’d like to see the rest, here’s the link: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/true-leaders-trust-inner-compass-overcome-confusion-patricia-west?trk=prof-post

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Essay 32. COMMUNICATION

He who is learning to paint must first learn to still his heart, thus to clarify his understanding and increase his wisdom.” — The Mustard Seed Garden Manual of Painting, quoted by R.L. Wing.

Painting in China made it possible to manipulate the veil of appearances so that it might be pulled away to reveal the hidden essentials of reality and lead the observer into an experience approaching ‘truth.’ Both art and the I Ching employ a triggering device that makes conscious that which has been buried in our unconscious.” R.L. Wing, The Illustrated I Ching. 

“My pen is my bokken, sword of discrimination, ruthless as it follows certain lines of thought onto the page and ignores others into nonexistence. My pen gives life or death to words. My pen cuts through partial truths, slashes weak verbs, and sparring and paring, uncovers a rare, gemlike image. . . As my mind’s chatter settles ever more deeply, my pen can follow a thought like a bee tracking nectar.” — Connie Zweig, Becoming a Warrior Writer

THE FRONT

Roots of communicate suggest sharing, to make common. Webster’s defines communication as the act of transmitting, giving or exchanging information. The means can include signals, gestures, and writing as well as speaking. The word is also used to describe the means of information changing hands, such telephone, telegraph, radio, or other systems. It’s also used to describe routes for moving troops and materials. In the arts, it connotes expressing ideas and sentiments. In mathematics and science, it includes symbols.

The definition has no shadings of meaning to indicate the multitude of verbal and non-verbal levels of information exchange, acknowledging a broad spectrum spanning cellular synaptic connections and inarticulate body language on one extreme to non-local, telepathic messaging (ESP) at the other. The definition of communication also lacks nuances that indicate motives for communicating, or whether information shared is complete or accurate.

Bad-faith extremists babel. They intentionally miss each other coming and going. Seemingly powerful extroverts (extreme-yang aggressors or oppressors) abuse communication tools as overt weapons of propaganda, intimidation and subordination. Speech is used to overpower and control. Seemingly helpless introverts (extreme-yin targets or victims) use language (along with silence) as covert weapons of self-protection or retaliation. Words are used to placate, distract or mislead.

In The More You Watch the Less You Know, TV veteran Danny Schechter observes that there’s a media war going on to win the hearts and minds of viewers. It’s going on in education too. Insiders disempower people with the potential to threaten empire-building plans by feeding them partial information piece-meal. Potential leaders are co-opted by rewarding them for knowing more and more about less and less, calling the outcome “expertise.” The right hand/brain can’t know what the left is doing.

It takes cooperative interdisciplinary work, linking not only related academic specialties, but also the levels of law, to discover solutions to apparently unsolvable economic/social/political conundrums. The most essential community-building service sincere leaders can provide is the dissemination of accurate, hopeful information that promotes positive action. As people of good-will intentionally transcend extremes, cultivating balanced mesovert communication skills, they are developing a base of values shared in common, along with means for connecting to share vital information.

Especially in the arts, however, it isn’t the writer who inspires. Words are just catalysts. They precipitate inner knowing, causing it to rise to the surface of conscious awareness. It’s the result of synchronicity. When the writer, reader, time and topic are in synch, then, Bingo! There’s a connection — communication.

THE BACK

The opposite of communication is silence, the absence of giving and/or receiving information. In a social context, ignoring others is a sign of mistrust or disrespect, a denial of their value, trustworthiness or sincerity. In meditation, however, silence in the inner sanctuary of the mind is the respectful attitude of receptive humility. In this context, cessation of dialogue is prelude to at-oneness.

A perversion of communication is cacophony. The overwhelming amount of data now available from an increasing number of sources causes information overload. City streets and public places are filled with loud, harsh noises that shatter the nervous system. This extreme causes the mind to shut down in self-protection.

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One thought on “Rethinking COMMUNICATION

  1. Richard Lipscombe

    Patricia.

    I wish what you say about communication in The Back was actually the core issue we face today. I fear that it is not, indeed, it is far from it. I want a cacophony. But I want it to come from the place of dissent, difference, divergence, and debate. Today the perversion of communication is ‘sameness’. There is more communication and sharing than ever before on this planet but it is always the same message – based as it is in theology, ideology, or group-think – that is being shared. This has created a communication structure of ‘us’ and ‘them’. Within this new communication structure little can be shared across these ‘us’ and ‘them’ silos. West Side Story told us about it. Today what is shared is what is acceptable within these silos. More and more is being shouted loudly about whatever is acceptable, agreeable, palatable, and massage-able within our social silos.

    We have developed a communication system that benefits those who pursue ‘belief wars’. Beliefs are transmitted not communicated. Beliefs shut down independent thinking. I fear that independent thinking has taken a ‘holiday’ in the early part of C21st. The knock-on effect of that is communication is now on strike!

    Cheers, Richard.

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