Can anyone else remember their high school english classes? I recall dreading the hour I would spend each day in LA, no not Los Angeles, But rather Language Arts. Not until now did the title of that class ever make any sense to me. Admittedly and probably similar to many people these days, my appreciation for all artistic aspects may have started to bloom a later down the road, so in middle school and high school I had trouble calling english class an art form.
I think now of how language holds such power over so many factors in the world.
Now I study communications and media arts and analysis, and am now officially obsessed with the art of message delivery and reception via the use of language.
Let me tell you guys, theres a lot more to communication than just words. Effective communication is one of the most fragile and delicate arts that I have seen to exist. I bet your asking yourself, how can something I do effortlessly every day be such a delicate art form?
It comes down to this, you have a thought that may seem like a simple thought, you want to share that thought with someone else in a way where they can fully understand how that original thought effected you, and why you think its worth sharing, and what you want them to learn or gain from this exchange of information. sounds easy right?
Now add in all the factors….impossible for me to list but heres an idea of the types of factors that effect communication.
– Everything and anything
its a short list….but realistically you have no guarantee that the person you are communicating with has any real ability to understand you and what you are trying to convey, this is because we all understand based on our own experience and interpretation of external factors such as mood, tone, volume, facial expression, body language, what we had for breakfast, the stomach ache that we got from what we ate for breakfast, the factors are infinite and unpredictable. This unpredictable audience reminds me of what an artist often faces, the unknown audience and their unknown state of mind. Language in this way becomes an obvious art form, and an extremely delicate one at that. In the same way that we see dance as an art form, language is a dance of two minds. A dance is an exchange of independent movement that uses two individuals to create a visual unity of motion. Much like dancers strive to connect their individual movements into a visually cooperative performance, two people in conversation seek to achieve understanding, in other words an organic thought based on the combination of individual perspective. the end result is both gratifying and beautiful.
We can imagine what it would look like if two dancers paid no attention to each other and tried to share a stage, each performing their own individual and unrelated movements. It wouldn’t make sense, there would be no conclusion no ultimate visual outcome, just two people doing their own thing.
In conversation I picture this hectic unorganized exchange as an argument, where each individual is focused on their own projection and pays little attention or consideration to the other persons input. Think about when you have been in a conversation where you felt heard, fully understood, and how it flowed. Now picture an argument, how sloppy and un organized it was, or just how it made you feel to not be understood. It is emotionally displeasing and leaves us empty and feeling unproductive.
Throughout all different types of groups and communities, language varies and differs in both practice and meaning. An atlas to one man may be interpreted as a collection of maps, to an artist it refers to a nude model. when we have such variance in our communication it becomes difficult to have successful communication between two parties, interpretation is everything and we all seek to find common ground where we can make meaningful connections and understandings.
words with multiple meanings have generated for em a world of metaphors. A place of constant comparison being used as a tool for understanding and relating. the more perceptions and perspectives that we can connect or relate with, the more fluid our communication can and will be with people who have different perspectives of the world or immediate environment. Have you noticed how language has either limited or liberated you? it for sure has the power to do both depending on how we direct it.