Assumptions about Communication, etc.

Clifford Lutton lexes at MINDSPRING.COM
Mon Feb 26 21:54:36 UTC 2001


Bill Mann has written:
"Clifford:
"... what would you say about a predator-prey situation (e.g. wolf and rabbit) where the rapid approach of the wolf is being perceived, interpreted and assigned significance by the rabbit, who then runs away.  How is that communication?
"Perhaps on some dependency scale, interaction is more basic than communication.  
"If you wish to take this up, please bring it back to the list.
"Best wishes.
"Bill Mann"
To which I reply to Bill and all interested:
    Whether by nature or by nurture, experienced rabbits generally fear wolves (and a great many other animals including most humans).  Your wolf's presence, was perceived and interpreted by your rabbit which did what rabbits do if they able and wish to survive.  The rabbit had no illusions about wolves communing with rabbits.  Whether the wolf intended to communicate its presence to the rabbit or not, it did so; perhaps even silently,  your rabbit got the message.     
************
    I can think of no communication event in which a "receiver" (accidentally or volitionally) perceives input from a sender and does not volitionally interpret (accurately or inaccurately) the "sender's" message . Not to interpret would preclude  there being a communication  event.  (Yes, ole' taciturn Luke was an cool communicator.  Recall how he intentionally caused his captors and other inmates (communicatees) to perceive and misinterpret his speech and actions so he could escape?)  
    Perceiving may be unintentional, and communication may be precluded by a possible receiver ignoring intended percepts.  
    However, volitional (intentional and/or instinctive) interpretation is a necessary part of each communication event.  From the point of view of the receiver, volition is not a variable because there is no communication event if there is no interpretation.
    It appears to me that many attempts to clarify the concept, communication, fall short because they approach the matter more from the perspective of the sender than of the receiver.
        Because "intention" is a problem when attempting to define communication (as recent list postings indicate).  Because it is less a problem when the concept is approached from the receiver's point of view than from the senders, I approach the task from the perspective of the former rather than the latter.
        Best,
Clifford Lutton
lexes at mindspring.com
300 West Parkwood Road
Decatur, GA 30030-2823, USA



  Clifford:

  Off the record (and off of the list), what would you say about a predator-prey situation (e.g. wolf and rabbit) where the rapid approach of the wolf is being perceived, interpreted and assigned significance by the rabbit, who then runs away.  How is that communication?

  Perhaps on some dependency scale, interaction is more basic than communication.  

  If you wish to take this up, please bring it back to the list.

  Best wishes.

  Bill Mann
    ----- Original Message ----- 
    From: Clifford Lutton 
    To: FUNKNET at listserv.rice.edu 
    Sent: Thursday, February 22, 2001 2:40 PM
    Subject: Re: Assumptions about Communication


    IMHO FWIW, communication occurs when the presence, appearance, and/or act(s) of one being are perceived and interpreted (assigned significance) by another being.

    Clifford Lutton
    300 West Parkwood Road
    Decatur, Georgia 30030-2823
    (404) 371-8935
    lexes at mindspring.com
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