Human Communication: The Ultimate Oxymoron

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The Ultimate —

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I’ve always thought of “Human Communication” as being the ultimate oxymoron; even more absurd than “Jumbo Shrimp”, “Military Intelligence” and “Happily Married”.

Because of the many pitfalls inherent in Human Communication and its reliance on individual competencies, I can probably count on one hand the times that I’ve experienced true, unambiguous communication — totally devoid of cavalier misinterpretations or subtle misunderstandings.

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The written and spoken word — although representing a significant, revolutionary cultural invention that turbo-boosted civilization — still remains rather lame at truly establishing a solid, common bridge for effective, two-way communication.

But until we master telepathy, writing and speaking is the only game in town, no?

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Unfortunately, vital context is routinely misinterpreted or absent altogether; which can lead to disastrous results.

And I’m not talking about the embarrassment and confusion resulting from an overly abbreviated text-speak message or a misspelled, weakly worded email.

It could be as dangerous as an intercepted enemy communique that is totally misinterpreted.

For example, during WWII, when the Japanese said, “We will bury you,” they were actually trying to express honor.

You see, what they wanted to say, what their real meaning was, “We will honor you. Your fallen will be buried, not left in the open to be picked apart by vultures and wild animals.”

Throw in the differences between pockets of subcultures from varying geographic locations within a city, state or seaboard and miscommunication is inevitable — in spite of the fact that all parties are from the same country and speak the same language!

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Lastly, the bulk of what we actually call communication is from non-verbal cues (body language, facial expressions and accompanying movements meant to place emphasis on a certain aspect of the conversation — not to mention unconscious mannerisms and distracting nervous ticks).

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Given all these factors that impair good communication, it’s a wonder that the written or spoken word can get members of any group (of any size) to agree upon anything; much less reach a consensus on what to do next.

And that puts a great deal of responsibility on the communicators themselves.

For the author, he must craft a message that expresses what he really means — not an easy feat, by any means.

For verbal communication, the quality of communication depends on the skill levels of the participants.

Some people are good speakers, but suck at listening. Others are deathly public speaking averse, but are good listeners.

But everyone at this party needs to switch hats fast and often.

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They need to function adequately as both speaker, then listener (sender and receiver of the message) repeatedly — whether they like it or not.

Many people don’t realize that the onus for effective communication does not rest solely on the sender of the message.

The receiver must first listen, not look off into space, twiddle his thumbs and whistle a tune.

Buying your time impatiently and just waiting for the chance to launch a rebuttal is the surest way to lose any chance of the other person ever listening to you; even when it’s your turn to talk.

Besides, it sends a rather “loud”, disrespectful message to the other person.

The receiver also has the responsibility to acknowledge the level of his comprehension; or, if not, he must provide some kind of feedback that communicates his need for clarification.

Otherwise, the dialogue has effectively devolved into a collective monologue.

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Imagine that?

The old tongue loves to wag, no?

I’ve rambled long enough.

Parting Shot —

By JaiChai

“Really Appreciate You Stopping By. Truly hope to see you again!”

About the Author —

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Believing that school was too boring, he dropped out of High School early; only to earn an AA, BS and MBA in less than 4 years much later in life — while working full-time as a Navy/Marine Corps Medic.

In spite of a fear of heights and deep water, he performed high altitude, free-fall parachute jumps and hazardous diving ops in deep, open ocean water.

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After 24 years of active duty, he retired in Asia.

Since then, he’s been a full-time, single papa and actively pursuing his varied passions (Writing, Disruptive Technology, Computer Science and Cryptocurrency — plus more hobbies too boring or bizarre for most folk).

He lives on an island paradise with his teenage daughter, longtime girlfriend and three dogs.

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“My mind was a terrible thing to waste…” — JaiChai

Originally published at



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I'm retired (U.S. military) and living on an island paradise with my girlfriend, teenage daughter and two dogs.