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Talk to me, just don’t be with me

Communication

Communication

Until 200,000 years ago, speech was unknown to the human race. Speech was developed as a means of communication among humans due to the mutation of the FOXP2 gene. It was this mutation that led to the rapid evolvement of human beings, which made humans the superior beings they are today.

Symbols were developed 30,000 years ago, and writing 7000 years ago. Communicating messages to people at a distant location started in the prehistoric age, with the use of fires, beacons etc. Mail (Post) was developed in the 6th Century BC, followed by the development of heliographs, etc. The electrical telegraph was invented in 1838, the Telephone in 1876, and from 1969 onwards, computer networking, internet, e-mail, and wireless communications.

We have come a very long way from the pre-historic age, in terms of the cost, speed, and flexibility to send messages to any number of people in any part of the world. Going by the logic of scientists, who dedicate superiority of humans over other species due to the development of speech, we could conclude that given the present level of development in communication, humans would now have to be more supremely evolved than ever. Sadly, this isn’t true.

This is only because, humans have been focusing more on the “mode of communication” rather than communication itself. Indeed, there are plenty of courses, workshops, books, journals, articles and blogs – all teaching us that in order to be good communicators, we must be a good listener, have the right attitude, establish eye-contact, be precise, and so on. Even then, are people really able to communicate with each other? How many times have we concluded “No use, he\she\they will never understand”? People working different jobs all over the world obsess day and night to get their boss, or a client, a media person, politician… someone – to just listen to them. Closer home, we have everything at our disposal – mobiles, landlines, e-mail, VOIP, net meetings, messenger chat, video conferencing, conference calling – everything. Yet, we find ourselves unable to talk to people.

Seems to be a huge mystery, but it isn’t. The problem is, we are blinded. We are so obsessed with ourselves and our gadgets, that we have forgotten what is important. Everywhere, I see people on their mobiles – buses, trains, offices, restaurants and movie theaters. But rarely do I see people actually talking to the person they are with at that moment. It appears that we are so wrapped up in technology, that we cannot even distinguish between the person in front of us and the person on the other end of the phone anymore.

Maybe it’s time for us to stop, and to take a look around us to appreciate the real world – to be human again. Like the fat man and woman in Wall-E, who realise each other’s presence only when they get disconnected from their systems. So the next time you are on a date, or at a family dinner, switch that phone off – and live life for a while. It’s totally worth it.

About Anindita Chatterjee

Career and Education: I am currently PGDM 2nd year student (operations) from K J Somaiya Institute of Management Studies and research, Mumbai. I had a prior work experience of almost 2 years at Verizon Data Services India, Hyderabad, where I served as a server administrator. My work involved troubleshooting all kinds of OS and Hardware problems with Windows 2003 servers. My graduation consists of BE in IT from CBIT, Hyderabad. Social: Born in Mumbai to Bengali parents, raised in Hyderabad, studying now in Mumbai, I am pretty much the PAN Indian. I love making friends and meeting new people, although I wouldn’t really call myself a social butterfly. I love writing, and am a voracious reader – be it fiction or non-fiction. I think that one of the biggest comforts in life is being able to curl up on the couch with a great, exciting new book after a day’s work. I also enjoy all kinds of music, and I am a complete movie buff. I realise that there are grey areas in most issues, but I do call a spade a spade, when it’s glaringly obvious. I believe in God, but I’m not religious. I feel that it’s important to focus on the purpose rather than the medium used to achieve the purpose.

5 comments

  1. Udayan Banerjee

    brilliant – will certainly not take any calls during a family outing going forward 🙂

  2. Deepak Chhabra

    This piece of work is an eye-opener for our generation ,which is so tied up with Technology..Today,mobile phone is even more close to you than your spouse , you end up spending 24 hrs with it.The lesson i learnt from this article is not to use mobile phones on social gatherings and always remember mobiles cannot replace friends and families..

  3. Good piece of advice. We are evolving along with our gadgets but axis has shifted. This pocket sized gadget has done wonders, at the same time has crossed all limits of human accessibility. I wonder you will be remembered by your mobile number a while later.

    I have had always appreciated talking in person. When we talk sitting next to a person, its not two lips that manoeuver, our eyes talk, our brows talk, our cheeks talk, our body talks. Can the electro-magnetic waves carry all these..? One may say ‘yes’ with technical innovations..ok..Can the touching vibrations be carried & conveyed..? Can it smell the essence of the soul?

    Earlier voyages were meant to be learning process. Today the person sitting next to you is either listening to music or talking on his mobile. Moments later you forget who was your co-passenger. We are creating aliens around, don’t need from other planets. God Save Us!!

  4. Talking in person came so easy to Dillep Chato; I am not surprised that his daughter will be in same mould.
    Anindita, I will go a step further and say, have a sceen free life for atlest 10 days in a year ( no TV, no Computer, no mobile ). Only talk to people around
    you. You will be surprised with the positive results!

  5. Hmmmm! a very interesting article . never knew about FOXP2 gene .congratulation Anindita . I think I never had this gene . I find it easier to communicate with email but hate answering phone . I think my wife has a double dose of FOXP2.
    Anyway there is must be a difference in communication skill. while as a doctor I find it easier to talk to patients and their relatives but I am always searching for words when I step out of my professional role
    Anindita ,while talking is important but listening is even more important . Now we are told to listen which is a part of counselling.From our childhood our parents always told us don’t answer back just listen.
    I think this must have suppressed our FOXP2 gene!! Who knows.

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