Friday, October 29, 2010

Human Communication- Part 2 Cyber bullying, social media FB Twit Narcissist Haven?

The concept of anonymity was discussed. The lack of identity etc. You get to be whoever you want. The next major issue is how communication has changed, or lack of communication more precisely. Think about it, regardless of you religious affiliation, oh sorry Spirituality and beliefs I mean, you still have to consider human beings are mammals evolved animals. What sets us different? Opposable thumbs, of course and hence cutlery, and big old evolved brains. Huge brains with massive overgrown cerebral hemispheres, relative to everybody else in the animal kingdom. so what comes with that? Well verbal communication, It started out as eye contact then grunts and it evolved into words. Yeah we lost all the other cool senses and non-verbal communication that other animals still have with each other, instinct etc. (See "New Age Spirituality" of  the last 25 years Metaphysical or whatever it is called in 2010. you can work to get some of it back it is actually not a special gift for all the clairvoyants out there, it is actually something old humans lost hold of.)
Anyway so humans evolve, we loose our old instinctual communication, we grunt, we speak we make up languages, lots of them, based on where we are geographically, sort of still around, global neighborhood etc, based on who invaded who, I mean why don't the British speak French as primary language. (Rhetorical).
Then you throw in the opposable thumbs, and we start drawing on Cave walls and we get symbols and signs. We can draw. We start to draw lots of symbols and make up symbols for those grunts that are now words. Verbal and now written language. We communicate through it.
The original verbal language of humans was very intimate. It was all about eye contact and gestures, just slightly beyond the other animals.  you had to be in the same cave or vicinity to communicate. you knew where you stood.
The written stone tablets changed everything, you did not need to be in the vicinity of the person to communicate. Throw in ink and paper over the centuries, and finally the printing press. Communication became more massive, and less intimate. And nothing much went on for a few hundred years.
Then very recently, (relatively speaking to how long humans have been on earth)  just the last two centuries or so, all hell broke loose. The telegraph, early 1800's really brought out the immediacy of remote communication. Then of course the phone, TV and radio, in only the last century.
The telegraph brought in immediacy but not intimacy. no eye contact, no inflection. soon the phone brought even more immediacy and a strange new  pseudo-intimacy. Inflection, and voice but remoreness. No facial expression, no smells, no gestures. But lots of auditory.
TV really revolutionized the pseudo-intimacy. Now lots of one way communication, with two dimensional visual. and lots of sound. in your home no less, but still not real communication at least in a truly intimated two way human form. You can't bully someone through the TV, but you sure can demonstrate lots of it, even in high def now.
interestingly, people used to harass and beat the hell out of people over the phone, crank calls, etc. Just as the Internet, was taking off, some genius thought of caller ID and *69, and all of a sudden no more anonymous terroristic threats, people stopped playing games and harassing each other in that way.
Then emerged the Internet and simultaneously cell phones they sort of became the same thing as far as cyberbullying is concerned.
It was great we got rid of those clunky typewriters. Printers got better. We all learned how to type, if we hadn't in high school, except, the darn keyboard lingered as a remnant of the old typewriter. Now emerges the touch screens.  Smart boards etc. Thank God for modern technology right.
The anonymity is back with the Internet, you really have no idea whom you are talking to or listening to. Sorry but you don't. Of course now we have the crude innovation of skype, That of course will only get more perfected, but it will still only be two dimensional, no smell, no touch, until we can do molecular transport like Star Trek.
So now we communicate with the Internet. At work we email somebody across the hall. Parents and kids text each other in the next room. Why is that? Because it is a lot of work to communicate with someone face to face, and we as a society have started to develop a distinct anxiety about it.
Probably as a society the only thing we are more phobic about than direct face to face communication and intimacy. We are probably lazier than ever as a society. Think about it video-conferencing has taken off V-tel and all that, but it will never take off as it could have by now at least in the workplace.
We will always go for real life face to face meeting, if it involves excessive travel, why my God we can't do a video conference for that, we have to go for London for  five days for that one hour meeting. Because when you are traveling you get to get out of doing actual work, and still get to do all the self-aggrandizing- you know the type, always busy, gotta be somewhere. Check any airport.

The bottom line in communication is that it isn't what you say,  it's how you say it. Or at least that is 50% of human communication. At least that is what I have told students and anyone else who wants to know the art of developing an empathic connection with a patient.
Eye contact, inflection, volume, gestures, body posture that is 50% of human communication.pauses, facial expression. We call these non-verbal forms of communication but in reality human communication is one entity, and those are all components of it. Anything less than that is slightly less than human, say something like the Internet and social media for example.  We don't call it less than human communication though we call it virtual. But face it, when something is slightly less human isn't it easy to behave in a less than decent human fashion say cyberbullying?

1 comment:

IsabelCares said...

The universe's timing could not be better for me in leading me to this blog at this moment in time. Communication anxiety - I like the way you categorize that because it is so true. I just received a [forwarded] e-mail announcing the deaths of 2 long-time acquaintances. Talk about impersonal, detached, chilling...and, anxiety-producing! As the Virginia Slims advertising slogan used to say, "We've come a long way...." in communication, from intimacy all the way to...drum roll, please...e-mails and tweets.

Your blogs are always thought-provoking!

Talking about the book with the Lake Superior wind....... a calm day