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Paulo Freire

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"Yet only through communication can human life hold meaning."
Chapter 2

Paulo Freire

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[Messrs Ogden and Richards] will reply that they are considering the meaning of a "thought," not of a word. A "thought" is not a social phenomenon, like speech, and therefore does not have the two sides, active and passive, which can be distinguished in speech. I should urge, however, that all the reasons which led our authors to avoid introducing images in explaining meaning should have also led them to avoid introducing "thoughts." If a theory of meaning is to be fitted into natural science as they desire, it is necessary to define the meaning of words without introducing anything "mental" in the sense in which what is "mental" is not subject to the laws of physics. Therefore, for the same reasons for which I now hold that the meaning of words should be explained without introducing images which I argued to be possible in the above-quoted passage I also hold that meaning in general should be treated without introducing "thoughts," and should be regarded as a property of words considered as physical phenomena. Let us therefore amend their theory. They say: "'I am thinking of A' is the same thing as 'My thought is being caused by A.'" Let us substitute: "'I am speaking of A' is the same thing as 'My speech is being caused by A.'" Can this theory be true?

Bertrand Russell

"I seek the meaning of existence." said the stranger.
"You are of course, assuming." said the Master, "that existence has a meaning."
"Doesn't it?"
"When you experience existence as it is not as you think it is you will discover that your question has no meaning."

Anthony de Mello

For the social ecologist language is not "communication." It is not just "message." It is substance. It is the cement that holds humanity together. It creates community and communication. ...Social ecologists need not be "great" writers; but they have to be respectful writers, caring writers.

Peter F. Drucker

The theory of communication is partly concerned with the measurement of information content of signals, as their essential property in the establishment of communication links. But the information content of signals is not to be regarded as a commodity; it is more a property or potential of the signals, and as a concept it is closely related to the idea of selection, or discrimination. This mathematical theory first arose in telegraphy and telephony, being developed for the purpose of measuring the information content of telecommunication signals. It concerned only the signals themselves as transmitted along wires, or broadcast through the aether, and is quite abstracted from all questions of "meaning." Nor does it concern the importance, the value, or truth to any particular person. As a theory, it lies at the syntactic level of sign theory and is abstracted from the semantic and pragmatic levels. We shall argue ... that, though the theory does not directly involve biological elements, it is nevertheless quite basic to the study of human communication -- basic but insufficient.

Colin Cherry

The dictionary definition of communication [...] includes the communication of goods and supplies. [...] But transport of goods is not communication in the sense we are adopting here, and does not raise the same subtle and difficult questions. What "goods" do we exchange when we send messages to one another?

Colin Cherry
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