Mass Miscommunication

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According to Merriam-Webster dictionary, communication is “a process by which information is exchanged between individuals through a common system of symbols, signs, or behavior.”

A common system?

Given the billions of humans on Earth and the variety of physical environments, governments, social classes and religions in which we grow up, is it any wonder with by relying on a “common system” to communicate, we are always at war?

It is only Thursday, but I am compelled to share a truly insightful video: Sheena Iyengar on the art of choosing. After viewing the video, perhaps you’ll agree we need another definition for communication, one that focuses first on understanding who it is we are trying to communicate with (i.e. where they come from, what are their values—understanding, necessarily agreeing with) before presuming to communicate with a superficial set of common symbols, signs or behavior. (i.e. For me, an apple is a snack. For someone living in abject poverty, an apple could very well represent surviving one more day.)

Think about it parents. How often have looked at your teenager and wondered what is going on in his or her head?  Yet, despite taking time to wonder about this, attempted to communicate anyway–and are surprised when it doesn’t work?

I’ll say no more. Sheena Iyengar is more eloquent than I could ever hope to be.


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