Communication

The human behavior stream is contingent upon communication for social learning and the development of personal mental schema about, among other things, self, others and future prospects. Communication and information are coterminous constructs. Communication is information; and information is the means of communicating. Since communication has two distinct poles: the conveyor of information and the receiver of information; precepts become an important part of the creation of concepts. Thus the perception becomes a part of the communication process. What happens between perception and conception is also interesting.

The human behavior stream is contingent upon communication for social learning and the development of personal metal schema about, among other things, self, others and future Comunicationprospects. Communication can be defined as the passage of information which requires both a transmission and receptions. Communication and informal are coterminous constructs. Communication s information; and information is the means of communicating. When we say we commune with nature, we mean not that we converse; but that we receive information through a process of observation. Since communication has two distinct poles: the conveyor of information and the receiver of information; precepts become and important part of the creation of concepts. Thus the perception becomes a part of the communication process. What happens between perception and conception is also interesting.

 

As we gather perceptions we become interested in those that are similar [or analogous] and those that are dissimilar. We begin to identify patterns of perceptions and to develop them into conceptual categories. These categories then mature into ideologies or beliefs. At this top level action takes place, we begin to perceive through a biased frame of reference: those perceptions that fit into our believes reinforce them, those that do no, unless they are powerfully salient are ignored. Our patters or beliefs often become so rigid that even our perceptions are skewed. We interpret any ambiguity within the context of the rigid pattern. Therefore, if our whole pattern has come to the belief in the power of M and we perceive W – we are likely to interpret it as an upside down M. It is this distortion of world view that is the true construct of a paradigm. The actual inability of the person to see the W as a distinct concept in and of itself; but be able to interpret or translate it only with the context of its own way of perceiving.

 

Although communication through words is extremely powerful, it is fraught with ambiguity. Pinker observed the power, but not the ambiguity, when he stated that you and I belong to a species with a remarkable ability: we can shape events in each others brain with exquisite precision through making noises with our mouths. We can shape events in other brains, but we cannot always be assured of the resulting shape. As Pinker also stated that works cannot be ideas: since any one word might have two or more meanings, the meanings are the ideas, not the words.

 

Since human services provided to people with problems in living are contingent upon the sharing of information, it is surprising how little concern has been show in regard to the attributions of our words. Attributions have to do with the way people try to ‘make sense of’ events by setting them ina a causal framework. Thus one may attribute a critical remark such as “this is really lousy” to personal forces [e.g., ability and effort] and or to impersonal forces over which the individual has little control [e.g., situation and bad luck]. Thus the vent which takes place in your mind may either be “I really screwed up” or “Why are they picking on me, I couldn’t help it?” or an infinite number of variations on the theme. What’s more, if I screwed up, I may re-evaluate how I participated, try to find ways to improve my performance in the future and interpret the whole even as a learning experience OR I may feel that I am a failure and worthless and give up. These are very different events caused by a single verbal representation of little complexity.

 

cognitive technology upon which our construct of human services is built, posits that thought controls behavior. Since most, but not all, thought is construed as and in response to words, it seems apparent that what we shay has critical importance to our expectations. I have been accused in the past of being anti-medical and on some level this is true. However, the presentation of drugs to solve an interpersonal or intrapersonal message also sends a quite salient message to the person with problems in living. In our culture medication has powerful attributions. The term ‘hospital’ is even more powerful. Further, the termpatient has particular role meanings – patient is a dependent role, not an independent one. When we refer to medication compliance - we must obey, submit or surrender – it becomes problematic as to how we then help people understand their own mental schema as if they had control.

If we intend to help people help themselves, it is imperative that we examine closely our words and the messages they convey. Michael Valentine has provide an excellent discussion of how we do not say what we mean and I will not duplicate it here. However, I would like to raise the issue of what the words you use in the helping relationship mean to you. Certainly there is habit. Human beings are creatures of habit. It is difficult to change a language. But there is a subtle degree of truth to our language as well. We need to examine truly our own mental schema and evaluate how much we believe these terms. If thinking controls behavioral and communication is behavior, we must posit that the use of words has at least some bearing on our belief system.

 

The goal is, of course to get helpers speaking in functional, easy to understand language which empowers the person with problems in living.

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