Communication

As I write this diary I’m listening to a contest on Ham Radio. The point of which – as with all contests – is to make as many contacts with other Ham Radio operators during the contest period as possible. This being a whole lot easier that when I was first licensed.  Back in the 1950s and 1960s nearly all equipment was vacuum tube and unlike the sophisticated  equipment we have today, the frequency readout was on a circular or rule type dial. Not digital readouts. Today it’s all computer controlled digital readout. Just plug in your microphone and antenna, set the frequency and talk. But then again, back in the days of yore getting licensed meant a very technical test and ability to send and receive morse code.

Yes communications has changed and become an order of magnitude more sophisticated. With the internet and cell phone and texting and ….

When I was growing up you had landline phones which most times were on a party line. That meant that there was one physical line or wire that multiple people shared. Sometimes whole communities. No secrets here. Or you could send a telegram from a Western Union Office. A bit more secret than the phone, but not much. Or you could send a letter. Until the advent of the personal computer, that was about it. Oh yeah…you could actually talk with somebody in person.  Best way to tell a secret.

Though we have far more methods of sending information and thoughts, we are still limited in the ways we have to communicate.  For communication to my mind is more than exchanging of information. If requires the ability to exchange ones feelings and emotions as well. Still only really possible in person and to a lesser extent by voice. For this necessitates a visual and physical  presence. To see one’s eyes and face and hear one’s voice inflections. The sending of {{hugs}} is not the same as actually hugging someone. Yet people are turning more and more to texting and other digital social networking.  And this may prove to be a mistake.

For one thing you cannot know what the emotional state of the person on the other end is. And it is not really possible to accurately express your own emotional state. Miscommunication at best. And forming a meaningful relationship  and connection requires some form of physical presence. Just ask any psychologist.

Yes…we may have improved our ability to exchange information, but I believe we have not improved our ability to communicate. In fact we maybe harming it.

Photo by Paul Shanks, used under Creative Commons license