First of all no presentation could actually be about the ‘human condition’ (speaking semantically), as the phrase or concept in and of itself is a complete myth as pertains to any unique individual. I can talk all day about my condition, and maybe Joe down the street can tell me about his, but as far the term ‘human condition’ is used in modern parlance, one would assume that it pertains to everyone as a whole, on the planet, a cumulative ‘how we doin’? This is a completely unfathomable prospect, and the never-ending ripples of conflict crossing the globe hourly, secondly, minutely, are all pretty much caused by the literal screaming of life-taking answers to the above question, usually something like, ‘Not too great’. Even considering this concept of reducing every private, breathing, feeling individual alive right now into a singular conceivable topic of conversation, even imagining it as so approachable and unsanctified seems barbaric in its Tower of Babel-like pride and hubris. And typically the only people who really even have the luxury of speaking of the human condition are people who have air conditioning, ATM cards, etc. Sort of like me.
So the presentation has taken the angle of communication as a medium to express a vague opinion or idea, or statement about the ‘human condition’. I believe that communication makes up quite a large part of the ‘human condition’, an obvious understatement, in as such that people, in general, other than having the conditions of two legs, color vision and deft thumbs, also seem to be under the condition of communicating with one another pretty much at all moments when they are in the plural. They even communicate to themselves, although what they say has yet to be completely surveyed and cataloged in a properly indexed subcategory of the Congressional Record. And plus that might not be a subject completely within the scope of this project, especially considering the all too spooky fact that we are them, also ourselves, us, me and you. Our condition collectively can be summarized as, say, maybe along with the condition of the man dying fifteen miles away of lung cancer, of the woman in Czechoslovakia being raped by a militant, etcetera, right now, as I sit here comfortably writing, and as you sit there comfortably reading, as communicative aspects. All of us are communicating, in various fashions. Especially if one considers the somewhat liberal hypothesis that every interaction, not just words and body language, should be considered a type of communication.
My exploration of the materials for the subject consisted of a quite explorative foray into random sections of my book collection, which has become very eclectic if not overwhelming in sheer mass, or volumes, as it were. The first title that interested me, or caught my eye from the half-hazard and completely unorganized lines of books that lay before me was a book I knew I had not opened or even regarded in over a decade. I saw and remembered that I owned (this happens often when one moves often) a Boy Scout Handbook, dating from the middle eighties but first written and printed I’m sure in the sixties at the latest. I grabbed it and opened it up and the first page I saw was a chapter on communication. I immediately realized the pertinence and validity of this as a subject for my project and anon I formulated the said theories and attitudes contained above in this very report. It was quite convenient. I then proceeded to read the article and I found that it was absolutely astounding in its acute placidity. It was brilliant in its normalcy and simplicity. Or maybe I was just nostalgic and didn’t feel like looking any further.
Trying to follow up on my good luck, I decided to try it again and so continued perusing the shelves scattered about my room until I happened upon what I thought to be one of the most informative books on information theory that I had ever read, regardless of the fact that it was the only one I’d ever read, and the only one I owned, so, and it was called The Grammatical Man. Rapidly I swept it up and turned to the first page that opened before me. Garbage, I didn’t like it. Next page at random, ah, there we go, a section on the underlying structure of sentences as per Noam Chomsky. Beautiful, perfect, I thought, two down, one to go (of course I’ll bet you know by now that I’m a minimalist). The third one was much harder, and nothing jumped out to my eye, and as all my books remain to be unpacked, I actually had to think about a third one that would nicely round these out. The wackiest thing I could think of or that I owned happened to be The Book of the Subgenius, a crazy pseudo-real book of some whacked out cult thing. It is absolutely full of the most profound bullshit. I wanted something unusual to contrast with the preceding paternalistic and scientifically serious pieces. I then actually had to go to the trouble of flipping through it four or five times on various occasions until a little subchapter jumped out at me that wasn’t too ridiculous. It was called ‘What is Bulldada?’ And it concerned Bulldada, and whatever it may actually be, I think it’s fairly evident that it is a type of communication, and so I thought I could squeeze it in using the common denominator of the atom. What I discovered is that finding three random pieces on communication in my apartment seems to be fairly easy. Everything that lay within the works I already knew, somewhere inside of me, for I had read all of them, some long ago time in my life.
Read the rest in the book…
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