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The many meanings of Indirect Communication

 
 

 

 
 

Priming a search engine with Indirect Communication produces a variety of meanings.

Two of the meanings arise in philosophical contexts.  This webpage is written by a person who would not give himself a status in philosophy as high as amateur.  Time and thought devoted to acquire even a smattering of understanding of philosophy, fascinating though this might be, would be at the expense of progress in AOB.

It is from this standpoint that I am moved to comment that in the context of existentialism, the term Indirect Communication seems be applied to a notion devised to enable communication to be conjectured without it being an essence which would invalidate the idea of existence.

The other philosophical context of Indirect Communication is attributed to Soren Kierkegaard in connection with his practice of writing under different names.  This seems to be a technique of heuristic (serving to discover) role-play in which in each case the author adopts a particular stance, to the point of absurdity if appropriate, to see where that role leads.  Presumably the communication is regarded as indirect because there a stage between the actual author and the reader.  However, it could be argued that by using a pseudonym for a particular role, communication within that role is more direct because the 'baggage' of identification with the actual author is absent.  Moreover, by the author adopting many different roles the reader is presented with an eclectic range of viewpoints from which he or she must directly choose.

Other meanings of Indirect Communication arise from the nature of the links between members of a group sending or receiving messages.  For example, messages sent by one person to one or more others, as in e-mails, are regarded as direct but messages sent to a central point, such as a website, and accessed as and when by others are regarded as indirect.  Messages exchanged through a mailbox are also regarded as indirect.  The direct/indirect dichotomy is also applied to communication between scientists working in the same location and those communicating through conferences as well as between people exchanging information face to face and through the media.  These situations may best be described in terms of two or more stages of  directness rather than characterised by indirectness.  It should also be noted that, regardless of the classification system, the messages can in all cases be clear and unambiguous, or intended as such.

The final meaning extracted from the webtrawl - the most consistent with AOB - was that the message is not stated as clearly and unambiguously as possible but is in the form of a suggestion or hint which requires interpretation by the recipient.  The sender of the message builds in an obliqueness which the receiver has to work upon to extract the intended meaning; the intended meaning has to be inferred by the recipient.  The examples of indirect communication in this category were all verbal.

 

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