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Lesson Plans


WORTH THINKING ABOUT: SUPERFLUOUS COMMUNICATION

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Lawrence A. Parker/OCCTI (occti)
Mon, 23 Aug 1999 16:25:24 -0400


Lawrence A. Parker
Philosopher and Educational Consultant
The Ohio Center for Critical Thinking Instruction, Inc.
89 Grand Avenue
Akron, OH 44303-1004
330.762.5341
http://www.acorn.net/lists-ht/occti
http://www.acorn.net/occti (under reconstruction)

WORTH THINKING ABOUT: SUPERFLUOUS COMMUNICATION
The renowned mathematician Norbert Wiener, who created the science of
cybernetics (and coined the word to describe it), had great disdain for the
fact that "people who have elected communication as a career so often have
nothing more to communicate." In his 1950 book, "The Human Use of Human
Beings," Wiener wrote:
"When there is communication without need for communication, merely so
that someone may earn the social and intellectual prestige of becoming a
priest of communication, the quality and communicative value of the message
drop like a plummet... In the arts, the desire to find new things to say and
new ways of saying them is the source of all life and interest. Yet every
day we meet with examples of painting where, for instance, the artist has
bound himself from the new canons of the abstract, and has displayed no
intention to use these canons to display an interesting and novel form of
beauty, to pursue the uphill fight against the prevailing tendency toward
the commonplace and the banal...
"I speak here with feeling which is more intense as far as concerns the
scientific artist than the conventional artist, because it is in science
that I have first chosen to say something. What sometimes enrages me and
always disappoints and grieves me is the preference of great schools of
learning for the derivative as opposed to the original, for the conventional
and thin which can be duplicated in many copies rather than the new and
powerful, and for arid correctness and limitation of scope and method rather
than for universal newness and beauty, wherever it may be seen."

Society";