Monday, April 25, 2016

People Literate

People Literate
People have this idea that the most direct way to get an idea across is language, more specifically written language. They think that an idea is best expressed as a block of symbols. While this may be the case for some people, it is relative. The most direct form of expression, for me at least, is painting. It can express in a frame what it would take someone an hour to ramble on about or a book’s length to make someone feel.
Spoken language is often problematic in the sense that when it is improvised, as it often is, there is too much filler. The listener spends more time than needed for the speaker to get to their point. And if spoken language is prepared by means of written language that is just more intermediate that makes the idea all the more diluted. Spoken language cannot be prepared through any other medium and still be just spoken language. If the ideas are thought of thoroughly before hand then the idea is expressed solely as spoken language, and it beautiful for this reason.
One might jump on the opportunity to contradict the idea that visual-artistic language is more direct than written language. That person is under experienced. That person can read faster than they can understand a picture because they have not looked at enough art to have their “reading skills” up to par with their reading skills. This is where relativity comes into play. A child spends their early years practicing reading skills so that they can pull meaning from written language. Most people are not visual-art literate. There is no doubt that the idea of a story would be more direct to an experienced reader as opposed to an under experienced one. The same case can be made for visual art. This is why language is relative.
Beyond not being visual-artistic literate, most people are not art literate. To the common person music, devoid of spoken language, is a bunch of sounds that “sound good”, or in some cases “not so good”. That is opinion but most people don’t realize that music is sounds that work coherently to get a message across.
In a more physical realm, body language accounts for as much exchanged information as spoken language. A widening of the eyes, a corner of the mouth jutting out towards the jaw, or even a stern look could speak like words. Dance can be as expressive as music and is often paired with music to convey an idea. Often times body language and spoken language work in a symbiotic relationship, where both mutually benefit from each other in getting an idea across.

There is no real answer to “what is the most direct medium of communication?” For me it is visual art because I can pull meaning from something as soon as I look at it, granted there are times that I’m stumped for hours or days, but that comes with all mediums. How direct something is comes with how literate one is in that medium.  There are big things in this world that may challenge our literacies but their challenges are not insurmountable. With this in mind our goal should be to become as literate in as many mediums as possible, to better understand one another, to know what “better” is, to be better, to become more people literate.