April 2021 - Update
The many varied methods of communication that human beings have developed serve as an inspiration for me.
For millennia, our primary source of communication was through face-to-face interactions, which worked well in tribal communities. We shared our knowledge, updated each other through gossip, and gained insight using little more than our voices.
Writing, of course, became a monumental development in which ideas, records, etc. could be preserved for posterity, which further bolstered humanity. Much writing from thousands of years ago has been lost, unfortunately, but we still have a wealth of knowledge recorded, saved, and studied today. (I’ll offer one such example in a future update.) Pre-history itself can be loosely defined as any time in which we don’t have direct written records. History, therefore, becomes loosely defined as the time of written records. A time in which humans attempt to permanently preserve their thoughts.
Communication methods today would astonish people from thirty years ago, let alone 1000 years ago, yet we quickly take for granted the ease of modern communication.
For example, in 1991, email was exceedingly rare. Twitter, Facebook, TikTok, and all the other social media formats were nothing more than a faint dream. Cell phones were still clunky. Home computers were still relatively rare and expensive. For most people, sending a text message consisted of writing a letter, putting the letter in an envelope, and then placing the stamped/addressed enveloped in the mail. Days would pass before a response was received either via mail or a phone call. Phone calls are now considered a burden by many people. 😊
Communication is an exceedingly powerful and inspiring tool. Regrettably, the last decade (with the implementation of numerous social media platforms) has shown us that communication tools can be significantly abused. Yet the platforms can also offer clarifying insights that would have caused the ancients to marvel.
Of course, that begs the question: if we can offer clarifying insights through those platforms, which leads to bettering humanity in general, then why would anyone want to abuse their ability to communicate? The answer to that question has no simple answer other than we are not always rational and don’t act in the best interest of humanity. Effective and clear communication is a struggle for nearly everyone; in the age of instant communication, thoughts are posted online as quick as they flash through our minds.
Nevertheless, I look forward to seeing the various enhancements to our ability to communicate, as they will help us create wonders we’re still dreaming about.
I offer challenge for the next month: before you post something at an online forum, in a text message, etc. take a moment to consider the implications of your words. Perhaps, your well thought out interaction will inspire someone such as myself.
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Until next time, I hope the month of May brings you solace.
A place to ponder the world of writing, among other things.