COMMUNICATION IS MEANING
You never existed! Did you? Now you do. Next you are no more! Some 36, 000 days of existence on this planet is a surplus to any member of our Homo sapiens. If only you will live up to that! Non-existence—existence—non-existence! From negative. To positive. And negative again! Meaning out of nil. Meaning from being!
Communication is meaning. Meaning is communication. All humans cannot communicate without meaning and every communication is a process of exchange of meaning—denotation or connotation. Thus, humans cannot NOTcommunicate, that is, we cannot afford not to communicate (interact, transact and exchange meanings) since our existence in itself communicates something or many things. From sperm drops into congealed blood, blood into flesh, flesh into bone, then another flesh covering. And a breath of life! COM-MU-NI-CA-TION!
Codes are made into words, words into phrases, phrases into clauses, clauses into simple sentences and simple sentences into compound complex sentences. Communication makes meaning out of no meaning. That's why silence has its own meaning. Any form of noise in communication has its meaning too. Apathy, objectivity, neutrality and all of that. They communicate meanings.
A page of written words, drawn symbols and coded colours makes a sensible meaning. Even a blank page is not without a meaning! Every colour, every line, every shape communicates at least one meaning, depending on the context, or geography, or its universality. Meaning is meaning whether perception, conception, deception or reality. It resides in individual being. Communication is interpretation—it is an exchange—a transaction of meaning(s). Communication is communication when the meaning is communicated from the source to the destination of the intended message. Our world is not without meaning—pregnant with multiplicity of meanings: life, peace, justice, shenanigans, insecurity, education, genocide, war, death, oppression, development, technology, international diplomacy. Quite a cluster!
The language of communication depicts its meaning and so is the tone of any communicated or shared message. The page you are reading, you will agree, wields its meaning. Communication cannot occur without a shared meaning between and among those involved in the process. Adam was empowered to make meaning out of some objects by naming their names in the communication encounter between him and the angels. His naming the objects communicated and also shared his knowledge and superiority over the angels. However, the angels' inability to name the names is a meaning of ignorance and of lesser status to that of Adam.
In the beginning of existence, the creationist theory has it that the Creator of all that exists just proclaimed “be!” and the world came into existence. Even the big bang theory affirms this communication of existence! So, communication dates back to the beginning of existence.
When we look up any word in the dictionary, for example, every word, every expression shares a meaning. Or several meanings: denotative, connotative, figurative, jocular, technical, professional, academic or idiomatic.
A hunter—armed with his gun, traps and other instruments— in the jungle communicates to the beholder. A fisherman rowing his boat and spreading his nets in the river communicates to the world. A teacher standing in front of his students, demonstrating with his limbs and interacting with the learners definitely gives a form of communication. A politician addressing a crowd of supporters at a gathering is giving a meaning. A doctor holding the wrist of her patient to get the pulse is a communicator! And her patient communicates too. Our world communicates from the beginning to its end. Meanings are derived from the East to the West, and from the North to the South poles of our universe. Let us communicate to build, not to destroy. Those who beat drums of war communicate destruction! So, what do you communicate to the world?
Welcome to the world of meaning.
Idris Katib is a certified member of Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR)