Monday, May 23, 2011

PROBE: Matching and Making

There is a kind of illusion in the world we live in that communications is something that happens all the time, that it’s normal. And when it doesn’t happen, this is horrendous. Actually, communication is an exceedingly difficult activity. In the sense of a mere point-to-point correspondence between what is said, done, and thought and felt between people—this is the rarest thing in the world. If there is the slightest tangential area of touch, agreement, and so on among people, that is communication in a big way. The idea of complete identity is unthinkable. Most people have the idea of communication as something matching between what is said and what is understood. In actual fact, communication is making. The person who sees or heeds or hears is engaged in making a response to a situation which is mostly of his own fictional invention. What these critics [F. C. Bartlett and I. A. Richards] reveal is that the mystery of communication is the art of making. - McLuhan, “The Hot and Cool Interview,” 69.

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