Essay on Communication. Why Is It so Important?
Communication is a natural part of every human’s life and we participate in this activity in all our conscious moments. It is a multifaceted event that transcends all areas of our lives, from our social interactions with friends, to our workplace, to our home lives. Communication occurs in a multitude of ways from spoken word and debate to non-verbal queues, written works, or deeds. One aspect of communication is the idea of civilly and reasonably sharing our own, personal beliefs and ideologies through various means, but primarily through written or verbal means. We can call this facet of communication: thinking in community. This idea, known as thinking in community, is simply an aspect of communication that envelops the whole. It regards conveying our own, personal beliefs we hold to another individual or group who may or may not hold the same beliefs. Thinking in community can be considered as a foundation for the forming and furthering of sound, reasonable beliefs based on common facts through the sharing these things with one another in a community. Let me explain.
Every belief that we hold to be true must begin somewhere. So, in order to have individual, core beliefs, we must first begin by forming them. The means of this formation can be divided into two main categories: formation based on feelings and formation based on critical analysis (which may also be called reason). When we begin with feelings, we begin evaluating from the top down, leaning on our human impulse, perceptions, and experiences for interpretation of perceptions. Because of the deeply personal nature of these beliefs, we could say that those based upon feelings are subjective to each of us, rather than being based upon things more concrete and objective. Beginning with reason, evaluating from the root upwards, allows us to objectively form a logical foundation before striving to step towards the next. This formation allows us to separate feelings from facts, which are standard to all mankind. This allows us to know not only what we believe, but have a grasp of why we believe what we do. Let’s look at these individually now and the results of each.
The danger of forming beliefs on feelings
Feelings can be considered to be a core part of what makes us individual humans as each of us is endowed uniquely with these things. Our feelings are shaped further by our experiences and our individual perceptions of the world. Unfortunately, it is because of these feelings that our objectivity can be hindered and our perceptions skewed. Although we may believe that we are or can be purely objective, in reality, all of us are biased humans. We are, whether we realize it or not, at least in part, affected by our own unique perceptions, feelings, and experiences. Problems arise when we begin to form our beliefs and truths upon these subjective things. We may begin to find our identities in what we believe rather than simply considering them as values we hold true. Instead of separating who we are from what beliefs we hold, it is easy to begin wrapping ourselves into these personal ideologies and values that we hold so dear. Because of this personal attachment, we can become sensitive and perhaps defensive about many of the beliefs we hold. We feel that it is no longer our beliefs being opposed, but ourselves. Those beliefs founded on feelings, may not be wrong, but we must consider their validity at their roots. We must take into consideration what the foundation is for our feelings, impulses, and perceptions. When we make this step, which humans often do, what results are potentially faulty, if not simply indefensible arguments. Societally, this results in “un-breachable” conversations: those that we often seek to avoid such as religion and politics. Each of these beliefs is deeply personal and, while held to be true by the individual, is debatably subjective and perhaps should be considered as such. When discussing things such as these that are so abstract and deeply individual and personal, it is easy to pair these things with our feelings. As a result of the identity we find in our beliefs and the abstract and personal nature of these things, we can become defensive and may feel attacked on a personal level. When beginning with feelings, it is easy to forget that simply because we disagree doesn’t mean that one or both of us is wrong.
Benefits of beginning wish reason
Reason and critical analysis, allows us to begin placing our perceptions aside, thus allowing us to start from the roots up and evaluate more objectively from the basis of fact and reasoning. Looking objectively at facts and critically evaluating each, allows us to then realize that the individual differences we face in our opinions and values does not mean that any of us is necessarily wrong, though that may be so; however, it could also indicate that we simply approach the same propositions in a different manner based upon our individual interests, influences, and experiences. By approaching with reason, we are now able to adequately compare and contrast these things with more impartiality. This realization and the ability to compare and contrast, allows one to begin forming a more solid basis for beliefs as we now can be more easily corrected when we are found to be wrong. We are then not as personally attached or wrapped up in our own beliefs. This solid basis can, in turn, result in better communication as we can now critically evaluate what we believe and why we believe what we do.
Picking from the two
Descartes, in his Discourse on The Method of Rightly Conducting The Reason, states that each of us has been endowed with the same amount of reason. [quote]. This infers that each of us is equally capable of taking the same objective facts and evaluating and applying them individually based upon our personal beliefs; however, we are directed separately in our perceptions of these things based upon our personal interests, influences, and experiences. As a result, we simply come to separate conclusions. But, it is only when we think objectively with reason that we can properly evaluate these things. This is why I would like to propose that the better of the two options presented is to begin with reason and critical analysis in the forming of the things so foundational to us such as our core beliefs and ideologies. As humans, it seems that we most often begin with our feelings and emotions regarding a topic, which is often easier, as it is ruled by our immediate perceptions and interpretations. We should strive for reason to be our basis, as it allows us to properly form sound beliefs, and as a result, communicate and think in community to further this cycle.
Process of beginning with reason
If we agree, and we decide to begin with reason, we then discover that this is not an easy process to embark upon. The first step is realizing the deep connection that often lies between beliefs and feelings. The second step is beginning to separate these things and take them one by one, critically analyzing each and assessing why you or do not hold them to be true. Through this process, you begin to back up these core items with reason based upon fact rather than feeling. It is also through this process that you may realize that you do not know why or what you truly believe about a matter. This is part of where thinking in community plays a role. We must begin this process in private, within ourselves, taking each and evaluating them for what they are. But then, to more adequately find these beliefs we hold, we must begin thinking in community. We must begin by taking these things that we hold so precious to us, and begin by evaluating them objectively and reasonably with others to find their truth and error, or even determine if there is any to be found. Take this for example: how easy is it to see your own mistakes when writing a paper vs. when reading someone else’s? When looking at your own paper, do you see the comma you missed, or do you gloss over the mistake for the umpteenth time? Now think about when you look over someone else’s paper? Is it then easier to find the mistake? In this same way, we can begin to better find our own beliefs in reason when we take the time to think in community and civilly compare what we hold to be true, regardless of whether we agree with another individual or not.
The final definition of thinking in community and it’s benefits and results
When we think in community in this way, we are able to compare and contrast our own beliefs with those of others. Whether we agree with them or not, we are then better able to discover what we believe and why we believe it. It is by thinking in community and communicating with others about what we believe and approaching the conversation with an open mind, that it allows us (and the other party) to begin and continue this process of founding our beliefs in reason. So, this is what we can now call thinking in community: discussing, whether through speech, writing, or other means of communication, our beliefs in a manner with others in order to, together, better find our own beliefs in reason. From thinking in community in this way, there are many results, but most fall into these three categories: changing your mind entirely, adding to your beliefs, or better founding your own beliefs. Let’s look at each.
Comparison and analysis may lead to the realization that perhaps you were wrong or misinformed about a matter. Whether you disagree or agree with those you are communicating with, as a result, you begin to question your own previously held ideas. This may result in a complete overhaul or changing of your view regarding a matter, as you then choose to discard much if not all of your previous notions. You may then choose to adopt the ideas presented to you and to take them as your own seed to grow. However, you may also choose that, although your own view was incorrect, you do not agree with the view you are presented. From this point, you are now able to begin forming why you do not agree, and as a result, perhaps then understand your own new, different beliefs. Regardless of whether or not you agree with another party, in this way you simply realize that the foundations for your own beliefs were so faulty, that you must now choose different footing.
Through thinking in community, you may also find that you do agree with another individual. However, as they are a separate individual with a different view and perspective of the world, you will find that they perhaps have a slightly different or deeper perspective on your own beliefs, or simply that have more insight into a facet of your own. Through this communication, you are now able to deepen, better understand, add to, and adapt your own beliefs and ideas. In this case, you are now better founding them through agreement, and from these seeds of agreement that are now planted, grows new and better ideas, adding to the roots of your beliefs and allowing for the growth of your ideas.
Just as we may discover that we agree with another individual, we are just as likely to discover that we do not disagree with them. When this occurs, an opportunity for growth arises. By listening to another individual fully and communicating civilly and productively, regardless of your agreement or not, one is then able to defend their own reason. From this defense, values may be called into question. This questioning allows us to then reason through why we believe how we do, and, as a result, we are then able to back up our beliefs more adequately and soundly. This communication and perhaps disagreement allows one to now better grow and root their own beliefs, and better assess why they do or do not agree with the other party and why they believe how they do. By creating a better defense, you are now able to better understand yourself and the world around you.
Societal results of communication
There are many personal results of thinking in community, as we have discussed, but there are also societal changes that occur as well. Through this fact of communication, thinking in community promotes growth together as a society and the result is change, often for the better. We are not only now able to better form our own beliefs, but are also able to then begin fostering similar change and growth in others. When we grow as individuals, we grow as a society. Societal growth and working together allows us to understand one another and more effectively communicate. Regardless of our agreement, by beginning with open channels of communication, not hindered by feelings and personal biases, we are able to more adeptly understand our world and ourselves. This understanding forms positive change and growth as we can now collaboratively work together to find the best results for society. Thinking in community is not a natural part of communication for us as humans to practice actively and properly, but as it envelops the whole of our interactions with others, it should be considered. It is the foundation we have for forming sound beliefs together based on common, collaborative reason and the sharing of these ideas with one another.