Assumptions about Communication/Cool Hand Luke

Steve Long Salinas17 at AOL.COM
Fri Feb 23 19:29:01 UTC 2001

Clifford Lutton wrote:
<<..communication occurs when the presence, appearance, and/or act(s) of one
being are perceived and interpreted (assigned significance) by another

On its face, this appears to have me "communicating" if someone (or
something) peeks at me through the window as I'm taking a shower.  I'm
"present"  and my "appearance" is being perceived and "assigned significance"
(hopefully) by another being.

This definition appears to make sharing my physical existence a
communication, if it is perceived so in the eye of the beholder.  An
interesting definition, but I wonder how operational.

In a message dated 2/23/2001 12:48:08 PM, gerry van koeverden replied to
Clifford Lutton's definition:
<<Not close enough to the mark. You are taking only part of the meaning. Our
concept of "communication" predicates a concept of mutuality, of 'union' or
'comm-union';  in our everyday use of the word, what we mean is that the two
participants involved understand the same thing. >>

If we go strictly by the Latin (> communicare, to partake or impart) I'm
communicating if I share MY sandwich with someone.  To share my understanding
of something with another certainly also qualifies -- there is no need for
reciprocity, at least by the original word's meaning.  But I guess the net
result are two people are "sharing" the understanding or the sandwich.

I guess, from a functional point-of-view, we might bring back the question:
to what end?

Am I communicating - strictly speaking - if I share my ham sandwich with a
vegetarian?  Am I communicating if I "impart" my flawed knowledge of
omelet-making to a real cook who really knows how to make an omelet?  Am I
communicating if I am arguing and tell someone to "go jump in a lake"?  Am I
communicating if I talk it over with myself and decide something should be
done about something?

Once again, I'd humbly suggest that we would find the use of the word
"communication" incomplete if we also do not keep an eye on the actual effect
or intended effect of our attempt to communicate.  If the information goes
"in one ear and out the other", has the "imparting" taken place?

<<If the other doesn't understand what we are trying to communicate, then we
back to Cool Hand Luke (remember the movie with Paul Newman?)  "What we have
here is a failure to communicate!">>

Good example.  Actually Old Luke understood what the Boss Man was saying,
alright.  Those who know the movie know Luke's problem was not understanding.
 He just didn't care.  He had other intentions.

Steve Long

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