By using Wingding’s Alt-C 120 you can create eight triangles at the touch of a button that in some cultures standing for selecting and in others deselecting something. You can recognize the ten of the Latins or the symbol of the research department of Alphabet Inc. The view from above onto the pyramid simultaneously shows the sign of the Bulgarian Air Force and is also the genealogical symbol for illegitimate. All right? Most of the time not. Every message is blurred on principle, since the undisclosed context of the involved people is crucial for the interpretation.
Ideally we have three perspectives: the sender, the receiver and the neutral observers of a message. Everyone has its own standpoint concerning a message: rejection, neutrality or consent.
The senders develop ideas and spread more or less and sometimes not at all digested messages. To what extent the senders are pursuing an intention, only they themselves know – if at all. Some produce statements that are consistent with their intentions. Others formulate messages that are contrary to their other opinions. It can also happen that the explanations mean nothing at all. Only the senders know what they actually mean. From the outside, we can only speculate based on further statements.
For the receivers, the message consists not only of what is said or shown, but also of the accompanying signals. They perceive the messages through their senses, e.g. visually, auditory, or kinesthetic – they see what is meant, it sounds good, and feels coherent. Eventually, they determine the content of the message. They connect the content with their experience and knowledge. For some, the contents confirm their conception of the world. Others cannot but contradict the statement. And some people don’t care. Only the recipients know what is going on in their mind. From the outside, we can see how the message works based on the reactions.
The observers are not the target group of the message. They can pursue neutrally what happens between the sender and the receiver. Even if they think they are neutral, they process their observations with their mental models. Some draw benevolent conclusions and incorporate them into their affirmative view. Others unconsciously do the opposite and with their negative view they provide a critical treatment of the whole. Even the neutral observer distorts, because his disinterest is accordingly reflected in his description of the situation. Only they know what happens in their minds. From the outside, it is impossible to assess what actually happened.
From this point of view, we have to be prepared for the fact that in most cases we are dealing with alternative facts – something that professional fact makers do not want to hear. What do we expect from a message that the sender did not mean, that the recipient gets the wrong way and that the observer reports in a negative way? In this case the message creates nothing but noise in the stream of significant information. It is the act that counts in the end.
Bottom line: The only thing that counts is the inherent blurring of messages. There is no objectively tangible truth, only personal interpretations. Senders, receivers and observers cannot get out of their settings and thus deliberately or unintentionally distort the facts. Though, the cry for objective facts is nothing more than a helpless desire for truth.
In our everyday communication are three positions for making propositions. Each of these positions is important. The statements from the different points of view are always loaded with additional information that superimposes the clear understanding. Even the external observer, who has nothing to do with the circumstances, includes his own character in the statement. Thus, the sight reveals the observer.
The three standpoints are:
- Self – The own angle of view
is the most authentic proposition. If someone expresses his or her personal opinion, you need a close look at his point of view. It is easy to forget the hurdle that must be overcome, if one wishes to put his innermost feelings into words. The own mental models, the interpretations and associations can only be conveyed incompletely. In doing so, content is vaguely expressed; facts are generalized and loaded with presumptions and ambiguities. The results are words and images that arise. In addition, the four aspects of a message lurk in the background: the factual level that conveys facts; the appeal that wants to lead the others to do something; the relationship that represents the ties between sender and receiver; and the self-disclosure that resonates in one’s own condition. Thus the own angle of view does not provide the clear statements that you would expect. There is a lot of unspoken and what is said is latently ambiguous. There is nothing left to do in this case but to ask.
- Others – The view from the perspective of the counterpart
is determined by the relationship that connects each other. Statements that arise from this proximity usually result from a long, mutual exchange. Misunderstandings, ambiguities, and misinterpretations should have been further reduced by the discourse. In doing so, one forgets that the utterances of the other, which one cites, are filtered by oneself just as in the previous point. In addition, the other can also only partially transfer his thoughts from the depth structure into the surface structure. This already produces a double distortion of meaning. There is nothing left to do but to determine further aspects by actively asking.
- Meta – The view from the outside
could be an unobstructed look of a neutral observer. The factual perspective, seemingly free from prejudices, promises an impartial standpoint. In doing so, you forget the presumed association space of the observer. Even the uninvolved has to make an effort to put his perceptions into words that reflect his deep structure as neutral as possible. Strengthening this point of view brings a completely unknown perspective into the game, which oneself and the other do not know. In addition to the distortions, it is important to understand the facts, the appeals, the relationship statements, and the self-disclosure behind the observations of the meta-level. In this case as well, you must try to exchange additional information in order to get a better understanding.
Bottom line: No matter from which perspective one makes propositions, always filters affect, which prevent a undistorted expression from the deep structure into the surface structure. Statements are always erased, generalized and distorted. The part that is transferred contains four aspects that make the understanding even more difficult. The four sides, the factual level, the appeal, the relationship statement, and the self-disclosure, always act simultaneously. The only way out is the exchange of additional information, in order to get closer to the actual meaning. In the end only the saying of Ludwig Wittgenstein remains: Whereof one cannot speak thereof one must be silent.