words + gaps = communication

Mar 23, 2012

On Facebook this morning a friend posted a picture of a sign. The gaps in the words on the sign were very unclear meaning that some words ran together forming new words.  The meaning of the sign was quite different that what the writer intended. 


I would upload the picture here but it was a bit indecent.  It is not the message of the sign that is important here but the point I would rather we focus on!


When I saw the picture I remembered Pope Benedict’s message for the World Day of Communication. We will celebrate this on May 20, but the full text of his message is available at this link.


The pope highlights silence as the secret in good communication between people.  It is not only the words we use, but the space between the words and moments of silence to listen to the other, that enables effective communication. 


This is one of the points the pope makes:

“Silence is an integral element of communication; in its absence, words rich in content cannot exist. In silence, we are better able to listen to and understand ourselves; ideas come to birth and acquire depth; we understand with greater clarity what it is we want to say and what we expect from others; and we choose how to express ourselves. By remaining silent we allow the other person to speak, to express him or herself; and we avoid being tied simply to our own words and ideas without them being adequately tested. In this way, space is created for mutual listening, and deeper human relationships become possible. It is often in silence, for example, that we observe the most authentic communication taking place between people who are in love: gestures, facial expressions and body language are signs by which they reveal themselves to each other. Joy, anxiety, and suffering can all be communicated in silence – indeed it provides them with a particularly powerful mode of expression.” 



And then the pope goes on to give me a bit of encouragement for this little blog:

“Attention should be paid to the various types of websites, applications and social networks which can help people today to find time for reflection and authentic questioning, as well as making space for silence and occasions for prayer, meditation or sharing of the word of God.”

I’m not sure if the pope reads this blog, but many of the things he says suggests he is getting good material from somewhere.


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