No Need for Communication?

IFSR Newsletter 1987 No. 1 (15) Summer
Stephen Sokoloff
A new age may soon be at hand. To understand what I mean, you just have to study the rights diagrams. Connecting a certain box in the third row from the top with a circle somewhere down below could be equivalent to a quantum leap; that would make ordinary transfer of knowledge a thing of the past. It is nearly impossible to divine the wonders that await us in the era of metacommunication.
Ivory tower scholars are often victims of their own utopian visions. Dreaming of a distant paradise, one can ignore the medieval incompetence of our own information exchange processes. Our Newsletter can serve as an example. I have heard that in one European country this publication isn’t mailed to its readers until weeks after it arrives. The package of Newsletters just lies around on a desk somewhere until the recipient finally decides to take it to the organization headquarters in another town.
Some of the Newsletters we send abroad never even get to their destination; they are simply returned to us. It seems that the organization to whom they are addressed has vanished into the Bermuda Triangle. Nobody can (or is willing to take the trouble to) divulge us the current whereabouts of the president.
The communication between the Newsletter and its readers also leaves much to be desired. Rarely has anybody been ready to send us critical and survey erticles. At some points I have believed that IFSR members are mostly an indifferent and passive lot, without any real opinions or ideas. I sincerely hope that future contributions will prove this suspicion to be unfounded. The situation does seem to be getting a bit better, as you can see from the current issue of the Newsletter.
I would be the last person to question the importance of highly specialized studies. Still, a preoccupation with such disciplines sometimes serves to conceal a lack of ordinary communicative skills. Our intellect often leads us to increasing levels of abstraction – and isolation! Somehow, we must learn to strike a balance. Educated people who refuse to engage in a generally comprehensible discussion are ultimately condemned to societal irrelevance.

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