Clear communication is one of the true super-powers a human can wield.
Earlier today, I listened to an interview on the Lex Fridman podcast with Jonathan Haidt. They discussed the impact of social media on the mental health of the individual and society.
Jonathan mentioned “The Tower of Babel” story from the Bible and how that helped him understand the societal problems that come with social media use, particularly the out-of-context sound bites from the other team that will keep one opposed to the other.
After dinner, I cracked open the good book to check out the short tale. Here are some lines that stood out to me:
And the Lord said, “Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.”
Said another way: when they are all aligned they can do anything they imagine. Confusion stifles progress.
Whether it is in discussions with our spouse, friends, colleagues, or someone you disagree with – maybe the solution to a particular problem is just like the tower of babel. Listen carefully and communicate clearly, then nothing will be restrained. Easier said than done, of course. But the beginning of a solution is recognizing the problem and this one, as it turns out, is one that humans have been dealing with for thousands of years.
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As a communication scholar (and someone who likes Jonathan Haidt and Lex Fridman), your post is spot on. “Confusion stifles progress” is a great way of looking at the issue. There are so many issues in our currently hyper-mediated society that are created by lack of communication. That’s paradoxical because so many assume that just because we have the technology, we are somehow connected and communicated to the world. In reality, it has disconnected us from those immediately in front of us and around us.