Odd Thoughts: Clarity becoming discommunicated

Langley columnist Bob Groeneveld is finding as we communicate more, we actually communicate less.

Maybe it’s the writer in me.

Or maybe it’s because “See Spot run!” burst into my consciousness with a mind-numbing revelation: the letters we had practised over and over and over again prior to opening that first Dick and Jane book had meaning beyond the “penmanship” that no teacher was ever able to drill into me.

Letters could be used to form words to convey thoughts directly from someone else’s mind into mine.

I didn’t know who had written the “See Spot run!” that had so electrified my brain, but I could read his mind. (Or hers. We were trained to assume anyone with a thought worth sharing was a him, unless there was absolute identification that included a Miss or a Mrs. There was not yet even a Ms possibility back then.)

What I didn’t know yet, at my tender age, was that I could read that mind because of the precision with which the letters had been formed into words that precisely conveyed an intended meaning.

Soon after, I learned how spelling and punctuation – and later still, specific grammatical constructs – enhanced that precision and facilitated greater clarity in the sharing of thoughts and feelings through the written word.

And it wasn’t just Spot who could run. A person with a pen or pencil or typewriter could make anyone – or anything – run, simply by combining the rules, some words, and a dollop of imagination.

That’s how water runs from a tap.

It’s how your nose runs with a cold.

It’s how a car runs and a house can get run down.

It’s how a moderately clever brain can build a running gag.

It’s also how Facebook and its Internet cousins can run a language into the ground.

Who cares about capital letters at the beginning of a sentence? Who cares about capital letters anywhere? Who cares about which letters belong to which words?

And commas what’s the point of them anyway if you can write things that some people can understand even if its convoluted and isn’t in the rules and dont actually make any sense and if they wont understand thats there problem not mine.

The paradox of social media is that we can now communicate almost instantly with anyone anywhere in the world… while our ability to communicate is running headlong into a wall of imprecision that threatens to make our communications meaningless.

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