Why The Message Deserves Priority In Any Communication (My Greatest Help Yet, I Think)
Updated: Aug 4
(Extra material on the matter: https://www.philosocom.com/post/how-to-be-a-deeper-being-the-philosophy-of-kli-and-tochen )
Communication can be a very difficult thing to do and engage in. Not only when expressing ourselves, but also when understanding the communication we receive. If we do not understand others properly, we might see falsehood where there is truth. In other words, it is important to improve our understanding of others, because otherwise we might delude ourselves into thinking that we understand them when we do not.
The delusion that we are knowledgeable is partially due to this. We might regard our flawed understanding as proper and just accept it as such.
By "proper," I refer to our optimal understanding of information. This does not mean that we cannot have feedback or opinions on it. It is just that a flawed understanding may affect our opinions, as logically expected. Clarity is therefore the solution to literal-based delusions ("delusions" are just things we think to be true but are not. Maybe we are all delusional to an extent).
Text-based communication is usually based on two things: the choice of words and their intended point. Regardless of the communication's content, structure, and so on, the recipient chooses what to relate to. For whatever reason, the recipient might choose to highly regard the minor components of your message.
For example, those who might disapprove of Gandhi's actions might disregard the intended message of "be the change you want to see in the world." Their understanding might be flawed because they may not be aware of the ad hominem fallacy.
Therefore, they might reply to you: "But I don't want to be the change Gandhi wants to see in the world!". In this case, the understanding is flawed because it matters less that Gandhi said it and more that he preached for his own way of changing the world.
Please note that there is no need to agonize when you are misunderstood, even if your message was clear. It is not usually your responsibility to educate people about their improper understanding. Some people may forever suffer from understanding problems due to many reasons. Perhaps they never received the necessary education for it; maybe they have intrinsic hardships. We may as well never know.
Communication is a tango! It requires at least two sides for it to work. Otherwise, it will be an unheard monologue. Whenever you communicate with someone, you basically enter into a collaboration attempt with them that may or may not work as it should. Your relations with them do not necessarily affect this fact. Even sworn enemies may try to understand each other whenever they are communicating. For propaganda, for example.
For it to work properly, there must be enough effort from all sides to try to understand each other. If we overly rely on our impressions, we will likely fail to understand their message. Therefore, miscommunication may ensue. I am speaking from experience. Our impressions are not as sufficient as we might regard them to be.
Miscommunication happens when the intended point is misunderstood. If we use the earlier example, people who disapprove of Gandhi may accuse you of supporting him despite the criticism aimed at him. However, there may as well never have been any position from you regarding his life, career, and so on. After all, you just quoted him and nothing more!
It is very fallacious to use the Adolf Hitler example. Hitler was a vegetarian, and perhaps there is a small chance that people might accuse you of sympathizing with him if you are a vegetarian yourself. Are we sympathizing with Hitler just because we abstain from meat? Of course not! Unless we are neo-Nazis.
This is how miscommunication is to be avoided: When we understand the true logic of the communicator. Logic originally meant this: reason, plan, and so on. Thus, to understand a message, we have to understand its true reasoning. The true plan behind it. The plan that led the communicator to say what they intended to!
People may accuse you of arrogance for whatever reason, even if you didn't mean to be condescending. When people are engulfed in their impressions, they're sure to miss the true meaning. Maybe one's arrogance doesn't matter as much as the point? Whether or not arrogance was intended?
Communication requires us to see the world beyond our egos. Beyond the personal experience and feelings. It requires thinking and a genuine attempt to understand the point, message, or "plan" of it. Intuition alone is insufficient.
This could be the reason why people may refer more to their feelings than their thinking: the feeling may appear regardless of what you think. And since thinking requires a greater effort than others will bother to make, they might instead rely on what they feel. They will not necessarily understand that deeper thinking may be required to properly understand the message.
You are not responsible for their feelings! You are not the caretaker of their hearts just because you're a communicator! By communicating, you give them information and nothing else, necessarily. If they want help with their feelings, it's not necessarily your responsibility to give it to them.
There are professionals whose point is to do it. Therapists, psychologists, and so on. You may not even be qualified to help them emotionally as the relevant professionals. Professionals are people who are paid for their service and who make their living out of it. Who has the education and required expertise! Not everyone's good for this function, especially not psychopaths or sociopaths.
And if they can't afford it, I'm sorry to say, but it's not necessarily your problem. It isn't your problem because you're not necessarily responsible for their finances. You might not even be a banker or an economist, and so on. You do not even have to donate, for donation is voluntary, not an obligation.
Logic is imperative for understanding communication. A fallacy is essentially this: that which is unreasonable or that which isn't the "plan" of things. Ad hominem is a fallacy because people might have nothing to do with the message. Ad-populum is a fallacy because popularity or lack thereof is not necessarily relevant to the message.
Logic is elementary, and I am disappointed that many people do not bother to learn at least some of it when they can. I'm also disappointed that logic is not always studied in schools, and I'm disappointed that teachers might not have it either. Thus, relying completely on education might be unwise, if it is lackluster. If we truly want to understand reality, we better try to learn whenever we can, from anything that is learnable! Even the "university of life" can be learned from! It does not have to matter what the source of your learning is, as long as you bother to learn from what you are able to. Learning is, after all, imperative for our survival.
By the way, it should be noted that fallacies are not universal. In other words, the thing that makes them fallacious may indeed be relevant to the "plan" of things! If the subject of communication is the person, then ad-hominem might not apply. If you go to a psychologist and the main subject is yourself, then ad hominem might as well be completely irrelevant in your entire conversation when the subject is yourself.
When it comes to the choice of words, please note that people may relate to the same words differently. Trigger warnings exist because some people may suffer from the mere mention of words! That's right! And the thing is, these words might as well be any words in a language.
Even the names of certain people may cause them to emotionally react unusually and even in a disturbing way. That's why I wrote long before that people can be triggered by anything.
Is it your responsibility to not talk about cheese if people are triggered by it? Of course not, because you might as well not know that "cheese" triggers them. If anything, it's their responsibility to tell you what gives them comfort and what does not. You are unable to know it by yourself, for you cannot know everything, just like everyone else. And it's not like specific triggers trigger them all.
A correlation of expectations is imperative before making certain connections with people. If someone thinks of you as their friend but you never agreed to be their friend, their misconception is not your fault. After all, you are not necessarily responsible for people's improper understanding.
They might as well have to improve their understanding skills themselves if they are truly interested in avoiding illogical understanding. You are welcome to help them, of course, but please remember that it isn't necessarily your responsibility to be their guide, their tutor, their mentor, or whatever. It has to be agreed upon first!
Communication, in conclusion, is a very complex concept that not everyone's a master of. Maybe not even myself. To try and master communication, logic is a necessary component in doing so. As an autistic person myself, the very thing that helps me understand people is reason. That is why I try to improve my reasoning whenever possible, so I can avoid miscommunication as much as possible. After all, to regard a misunderstanding as otherwise is a delusion. And if we truly want to understand reality, we must seek to eradicate any delusions embedded in our thinking.
Philosophizing isn't the property of an elite, of intellectuals, of academics, of geniuses! It's something everyone, in theory, can do! The reason for that is simple: Everyone has a need to understand reality, to whatever extent that may be. And to do that, some philosophizing is required. By "philosophizing", I refer to the attempt to try to understand things logically.
You may disagree with the usage of words. Please remember, however, that words merely carry meaning and do not have it entirely by themselves. The meaning is represented by words, not embedded in every single word. Context is imperative. Analysis is imperative. Proper inferring is imperative as well. All to minimize the chance of delusion.
Dear readers! I sincerely believe this article has the potential to help many. If you believe it can indeed help, please share it. By sharing my articles, you fulfill their intended purpose: To contribute to humanity. That's why I write them in the first place. That's why this website does not require payment to be read. I believe philosophy deserves to be accessible to everyone on the planet! I believe philosophy can make the world a better place!
For that is the very point of philosophy: trying to understand what can be understood and/or what deserves to be understood!
Thank you all for reading! I am truly grateful for each and every one of you. By reading philosophy, you essentially choose to try to enhance your understanding of reality. Well done! I am proud of you. I really am. Respectful criticism and feedback are welcome, for I am not all-knowing. I want to improve too. Even masters of their craft deserve to improve, just like anyone else.