This principle operates on the basis that most people will do the absolute minimum that will achieve the desired result, be it successful communication (for example a nod, a gesture, a word) or fulfilling work commitments, contractual obligations and so on. For most people this is perfectly consonant with the monetarised societies that we live in – after all, if the electricity bill you received is $100, you don’t offer to pay $105. When you are competing in the 100 meters sprint you don’t run another ten, when there are 10 dishes to wash you don’t also re-wash clean ones and so on. Hence, many people communicate on that basis. A short text, a twit, a missed call often appear (mainly to the simple-minded who overlooks the implications) to do the business. I think that for communication this is the wrong approach. We don’t do it only to achieve something, humans – with our alleged superior intellectual capacity – use it for much more: A great book is communication, a card, a letter, an email, but also forms of art, films, songs etc. Now, you could probably guess the song if someone played the first few notes of “Money for Nothing” on the guitar and stopped there. Still, there is great pleasure in listening to the whole thing, assuming you like it. The same is, I think, applicable to verbal communication, especially if the people involved have developed their communicative skills. There probably are some people in your life that you enjoy communicating with more than others. Have you ever thought why? They are either doing something right or their style goes very well with yours. Both great and not mutually exclusive! The more you communicate with them, the more you (and probably they) enjoy it. It usually costs nothing, more so in this age of ‘everything is free online’ in the cases when you can’t be with them and helps build better relationships. Obviously there are people you’d rather not talk to, in which case you often try to say, write, text, email less to them. This is a different issue, and the least effort goes towards actually terminating the communication, which is fair enough. But those that you want to communicate with? I can think of many ways to show interest in their well-being and enjoy doing it. Give them a call, have a conversation. They at least deserve a well-written text. ‘Wot u up 2? LOL’ isn’t enough really.

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I have nothing against nods, texts, emoticons, missed calls and other such like, I just prefer communication to allow for more advanced codes to develop between humans, if we are going to pretend we are any brighter than, say, kingfishers.

I may not be very clever but I look fab!

What is more advanced? Well, manythings can be debated here but I think language is key. The better (more grammatically and syntactically correct) the use of the language is, the more advanced the communication can be. Those who use it correctly (as defined above) have the skills to do everything else too and this opens up all sorts of opportunities. Someone who says to you “hey, I have really missed you and the fantastic conversations that we have about (insert your own topic of preference here -Proust, global warming, Mozart’s sonata in A minor, John Terry’s understanding of Aristotle’s Ethics), let’s meet for a coffee soon” can of course also text to say ‘Wot u up 2? LOL’ but not the other way around! Furthermore, if my very articulate friend texts me to say ‘Wot u up 2’ (note absence of question mark) I will know they are probably making fun of it, and now that I think about it double entendres are one of the few things that often characterise advanced human communication, why waste such opportunities? Here is someone saying “Imagine if we had to resort to communication like this!” using communication ‘like this’ and suggesting further communication but of a different kind.

 

I rest my case.

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