February 15, 2010
Let's talk about talking
In Eric Havelock's, The Muse Learns to Write: Reflections on Orality and Literacy from Antiquity to the Present, I was instantly stopped by a quote on page 63 that says, "There is even a communications industry."
Umm...duh? But let's talk about communications for a minute. First of all, it is communication...please drop that unneeded 's.' There is only one form of communication. (Which is relaying a message from one person to another person with a possibility of feedback.) But there are many forms of media or mediums that communication can be communicated through. (Ha, that was clever.) Anyway, now that, that is settled, let's move on.
I found another quote on page 64 to be just as interesting, "It is astonishingly flexible and mobile, and it always has been." SPOILER: I'm about to say the same thing I've already said about 100 times, only in different words, since this is a different book. END OF SPOILER.
Oral communication holds a greater faculty than written text. Prove it. Well okay.
Havelock says that communication has always been flexible and mobile - though, as we learned before, when dealing with the written text, this has not always been the case. The written text has gone through quite the ordeal to get to the flexibility and mobility that it is at today; however, orality has also been flexible and mobile. What's the greatest way to get somebody to do something? Ask them face-to-face, looking the right in the eye and saying what you need to. Sure there are other effective ways to do this as well, today, but that has not always been true. Oral communication is greater because of its effectiveness, (you have a smaller chance of misunderstanding someone when you're talking with them in person) mobility, (tell a secret to someone with a 'big mouth' and see how quickly that secret gets back to you, word of mouth is the biggest form of PR) and because of it's frequent use (everyone learns how to talk before they learn to read and even if someone never learns to read, they will always have that ability to relay their message through oral communication.)
I don't see my mind changing on this subject anytime soon.