May 9, 2011
I was in a meeting last week where we were discussing how to educate children about math, reading, and writing. What interested me as a Denver architect is how far we have veered away from the written word. When I was in school (no jokes please) we learned to read, write, and do math through a verbal description of the process. Now, kids are being taught using images and metaphors.
It reminded me of an episode of Star Trek.
The episode focused on aliens that communicated through the use of metaphors. Our current inability to communicate information using the written word has led to the use of graphical means in order to convey information. Are we reverting to a type of communication used in the past? Or are we evolving into the next form?
At the dawn of man, information was passed on through the use of images. These cave paintings were not just decorations but stories. The most common subject depicted were large wild animals being hunted. Other images included snakes with horns and bird men. In every case, what we see is a graphical form of communication whether it was for information, spiritual reasons, or some other unknown purpose.
Centuries later we began to communicate stories through word. Using sounds and vocal tonalities, people were able to communicate back and forth in a common verbal pattern. Geographic locations developed different verbal languages that created a barrier which written communication soon broke.
Writing is a representation of language in a textual medium, using symbols to form words that express thoughts and ideas. It was developed as a way for traders from different cultures to understand each other and their bartering systems. It was a political necessity for recording historical and environmental events.
Which brings us to the twenty-first century.
We are getting further and further away from written communication. In fact we are even moving away from verbal communication. With the advent of texting and tweeting, we have increased the use of acronyms combined with emoticons to communicate thoughts, ideas, and feelings. We rely less and less on the use of words.
So are we in the midst of the next communication phase?
Possibly! As an architect, who communicates through form and graphical means, I am amazed at how the whole human experience, young and old, have embraced texting and tweeting, using fragmentary sentences or initialisms to convey information.
IMHO (in my honest opinion), creativity abounds. Especially in communication.