Tag Archives: communication

Shady Quip

Some people talk as if they actually understand what they’re saying. Of course we know better.

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The World Of ‘1s’ and ‘0s’

 

 

Humankind has spent its collective existence in fomenting revolutions. From the first tool in the hand of early man 2.6 million years ago to Bluetooth peaking out from the ears of our children, we have evolved.

We have rid the world of some diseases and created others. We have learned how to feed everyone and how to kill without being nearby. We have woken the beasts of hatred and avarice and we feed them well.

We had the Agriculture Revolution, the Scientific Revolution, the Industrial Revolution, the Sexual Revolution and the Computer Revolution. I am sure there is more to come in the not too distant future.

We crow about how much better our lives are and shiver in fear at what we have created. People all over the world go hungry and die of diseases we have cured simply because it costs too much to get current medicines and food to those in need and those in greed want more.

We have gone from living hand to mouth and growing what we needed to a society that is a gluttonous example of excess. So much of the world is hungry but there’re those who have more than enough to eat but do not seem able to share. And that New World? It is controlled by a chip. Ironic isn’t it?

In the first world countries we are surrounded by computers. There are computers in our toasters, our cars, our prosthesis.   We are not alone, ever. That chip is listening and watching everything. And the language that chip, that computer speaks? It’s the ones and zeros. It’s a language that very few of us can speak fluently. That should frighten us.

 

I Am Going To Kill . . .

 

Now that sounds like a mighty provocative statement don’t you think? But what does it mean? Am I going to end someone’s existence? Murder? Or am I going to end the existence of that hamburger on that plate?

Context. It’s all about context. And quite frankly ‘Kill’ could mean any number of things: ruin something, overpower, block, hurt, make time pass, laugh . . . . the list is pretty extensive. Confused yet?

I speak one language well (well, pretty well) and I will acknowledge it is a rather confusing language. “Stay where you’re at, and I’ll come where you’re to”. Drive on a parkway and park on a driveway. To anyone to whom English is a second language: Kudos! Even some of us born to it have issues.

I am finding more and more that it is not how well I speak that is important, it is how well I am understood. And the onus is not on the person to whom I am speaking, rather it is on me. I love words. I have a university degree in English. I often use words that are multiple syllables long and sometimes archaic. To my ear I am speaking appropriately. Unfortunately it is not my ear that I am speaking to. I was in a grocery store the other day and looking for a particular item. I was looking for aubergines. For the life of me I could not remember it’s common name. When I asked I was told that they didn’t sell exotic items. I was looking for eggplants.

I love the fact that I live in a multicultural nation. I love the fact that people from all over the world choose to come to my beautiful country. I believe we are stronger for that. But it also presents difficulties that I’m quite sure 30 years ago we never thought about: everyday conversations. And then of course you have the generation that speaks in symbols, short forms and acronyms. The flavour of the word is lost when you LOL. The first person that ever used that acronym for me was a dear, dear friend. I thought it meant Lots of Love. You can imagine my chagrin when an acquaintance used it. Context my friends, context.

There is a marvellous scene in an episode of Star Trek the Next Generation where one character holds up a hot cup of tea and asks another how he would explain what she is holding in her hand, to an alien race. For those of you in the know it was counsellor Troy and Capt. Picard. Was she holding hot, liquid, glass, cup of tea, beverage? And if the alien race had no concept of drinking a cup of tea how do you explain it to them? And that is our problem here in present-day Earth. Context.

All over the world things are done differently in different countries. They refer to things by different names. When we come together there’s a great deal of miscommunication. Our job is to keep trying to communicate until we’re all on the same page. When I write that down it seems like such an easy thing to do. And yet you know as well as I do easy is harder then it looks. We will never, ever fail as long as we keep trying. I’ll keep trying and I’ll stop looking for aubergines!