Be on the lookout for examples where that talk about communication as if a) better technology and “noise reduction” and “improved wiring” will make human relationships better and b) more open and honest sharing and more intimate, soul-revealing communication will mend our relationships and misunderstandings. These are the ways of thinking that Peters believes leads to our mistaken dream of perfect communication and distract us from the “hard work” of making connections and creating relationships and building new worlds. Examples of these ways of thinking about communication are everywhere. To be clear, Peters criticizes a way of thinking about communication that believes technology or therapy will help overcome barriers. These ways of thinking keep us focused on a narrow capacity for communication, what we’ve called the “standard view” or the “transmission model” of communication.
Cell phone and other communication technology commercials usually provide great examples of messages that encourage us to believe that communications can solve the so-called “problem” of communication. We don’t literally think that better cell phones will make us happier people. The point is we’ve come to talk about human communication and connection as if it worked like communication technology … that somehow “improving the connection” will fix our conflicts or getting on the same “frequency” will make for better relationships.
And as we saw in class, many popular songs about relationships call up this dream where our hearts are open and our souls are connected. These messages demonstrate the “discourses of therapy” where more talk and clear, honest, sincere communication will overcome barriers and fix what we see as the “problem” of communication.
You can find these examples of discourses of technology and therapy everywhere. Try to post an example that you come across in the coming days.