Pointing the Finger II – A final thought.

I use a picture because words are insufficient to express mood!

A couple of weeks ago, before the throes of a research paper derailed my unscheduled-yet-regular blogging, I spilled some thoughts about degraded communication.  Instead of reiterating everything I wrote there, I will simply post a piece of the Arnheim quote which opened that entry:

We must not forget that in the past the inability to transport immediate experience and to convey it to other made the use of language necessary and thus compelled the human mind to develop concepts.  For in order to describe things one must draw the general from the specific; one must select, compare, think.  When communication can be achieved by pointing with the finger, however, the mouth grows silent, the writing hand stops, and the mind shrinks.

Okay, that’s pretty well established.  Unless we consciously communicate our thoughts and impressions of life in a literate and descriptive manner, as was once the necessity, our capability to do it at all will diminish.

Considering the matter further, it struck me just how much that we as a culture have become accustomed to “pointing the finger.”

Consider:

  • Emoticons
  • Microblogging
  • Chatpspeak
  • GIFs
  • Memes
None of these things are bad in and of themselves.  But we are using them in place of words.
We need words.  Language must be maintained.  As the internet is now a primary avenue of communication, one must make the conscious choice to avoid shorthand and “chatspeak” and use language to its full extent.
Don’t allow the succinctness of an ‘LOL’ or the convenience of “:-)” to cause you to forget the power and breadth of words.  Even on twitter.
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