From Day One of our lives, we are talked at and encouraged to make a noise, or a gesture, that conveys some kind of meaning, no matter how vague. We are applauded the first time we gurgle a jumble of letters; we are sung the alphabet and read stories. Communication is the thing that links us all. It builds and nurtures relationships, mends bridges, increases popularity and quashes quarrels. In fact, it is rather like pudding…
I have recently found that communication often dictates my happiness (or lack thereof). Before writing this blog, I finally tackled a build up of emails from friends that have been nudging at the edge of my consciousness for some days now, demanding attention. And as a result, I have meetings lined up for next week, I’ve caught up with an old friend, and I’ve (hopefully) given comfort to a cousin who needed me.
And that’s the thing, isn’t it? Without communication of any kind, we would ultimately be empty shells running on autopilot.
We need conversation, we need the emails and phone calls and meet-ups. Even this blog is a form of communication. I may not know you individually as a reader, but I still communicate with you, whether through a view, a like, or a comment. Whenever I get an email saying I have a comment on a post, it makes me smile, it’s an affirmation that someone out there, faceless though they may be, cares and has heard what I have to say.
Communication conveys care. It is the tool we have to express love, anger, forgiveness, happiness, grief…every emotion on the spectrum only exists because we have the communication needed to give it a name and meaning. It is the most powerful skill set we have.
If you were angry at a person, in a situation irreversible without explanation and an apology, you would lose a relationship to silence and sulking.
If you found yourself infatuated with a stranger, no future could ever even be dreamed of without eye contact, body language, an awkward conversation laced with flirty comments.
If travelling, you couldn’t find a place to rest or eat without a universal understanding of the meaning of certain diagrams or logos.
If you were a long distance away from family or friends, you would be alone without the written word: post cards, letters, emails.
If you were the legendary E.T., stranded on an alien planet, you would be lost. With no communication with anyone else who could understand you, what power would you have? How would you survive? Who would comfort you?
At the end of the day, humans are a sociable species. We thrive and grow from interaction with others. We are lost and empty without it. We are eternally seeking out other life in the hope of reaching out to the unknown, praying for our relations to expand across galaxies. This planet is too small for the amount of love, curiosity, and thirst for knowledge that we need to express.
Everyone strives for it. From your next door neighbour to E.T. himself.