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Tuesday
Jun012010

The Particle Waves Goodbye

"Man kann nicht nicht kommunizieren."
- Dr. Paul Watzlawick
The above quote when translated means One cannot not communicate. I was thinking today as I almost drifted towards sleep and was startled by a thought involving one of my childhood friends who is now moving away to start his career elsewhere. What piqued my interest especially was thinking of his communication as behavior and vice-versa - the dual function that language wields - as a means of communication and as a behavior. Of course language is not limited to our verbal modality, it extends to visual and kinesthetic behaviors; body language and touch and the like.

Recently, though a partial transformation of attitude - whether self-created or assisted - he has changed the nature of the communication "ritual" as Dr. Eric Berne would call it. The metacommunicative "ritual" was structured on a friendly game of masculine competitiveness - a verbal game of oneupmanship through put downs or "bagging" in the parlance of our times. Recently, this friend has refused to "take the bait" i.e., reciprocated the insults in a manner befitting the well established ritual. This non-communication as a behavior has in fact communicated to me that this friend perhaps has become annoyed with me or no longer wishes to continue the relationship. This behavior validates the axiom of "looking at what [one] does instead of what [one] says." According to some scholars, the choice of words comprise only 7-10% of total communication with the remainder divided equally between voice tonality and body language.

To outsiders, our communication seems scornful and vindictive when in fact the parameters for our friendship has been established in such a fashion that provides us with the maximum amount of pleasure; while we disparage the fidelity of our mothers, we are actually enjoying these little games as an adjunct of the total relationship. The dual function abounds everywhere and reveals itself differently to the partners in the cycle of communication and outside observers. If we remind ourselves of the wave/particle duality of light we can apply it just as easily to human interaction. What we do is what we say and what we say is something we do. Both are inseparable but distinct; both and neither, all at the same time.

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