Wednesday, March 01, 2023

Is communication impossible?

No one understands anything. Myself included.

I had someone tell me, using words, that words are meaningless. I asked why he used words to try to communicate this idea to me, then. He said he could have used GIFs. I'm skeptical. How could he be sure I would interpret the GIF as he intended? He couldn't.

Then, I had someone disagree with me that "conservative" and "liberal" are both incompatible with liberty. He claimed to be a "classical liberal" who is also an anarchist. I said I can't be a classical liberal since I don't believe in the "night watchman" state. He replied that he doesn't believe in that either, so I asked in what sense is he a "classical liberal" since (my understanding is) that this is the defining characteristic of the group. He said he believes that definition is outdated, but when asked, he couldn't give me his updated definition. He said he'd have to think about it.

You may not agree with me, but I think I can at least explain my position-- using meaningless words, unfortunately. Words which I can also define (using more meaningless words, I suppose).

In another instance I said there are no "good cops" for exactly the same reason there are no "good rapists"-- the actions they choose to take are not actions a good person would take. Someone demanded to know if I was comparing all cops to all rapists. I said, "I’m saying it’s legitimate to judge a group of people by the actions they choose to commit." Of course, the message couldn't get through his conditioning.

The current Scott Adams/Dilbert mess is also based on a breakdown in communication. He used words that people interpreted to mean what they wanted them to mean (and take out of context).

It makes me wonder-- and I know I've expressed this before-- if communication between people is possible beyond a simple "Me Tarzan. You Jane." information exchange. I guess these days, even that breaks down. What a mess.

Maybe it's time to revert to a pre-linguistic state and just grunt and point and whack each other with sticks.

I'm doing this for you.

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