Homo Sapiens, a species of primates, post millions of years of rigorous evolution, have matured into creatures of the highest order. Of the nine species of humans, that once roamed the Earth, Homo Sapiens solely shone through. Although traits differ across a wide range of organisms, humans possess the unique ability to communicate linguistically.
Archaic humans have used varied mediums of communication throughout history. From cavemen communicating their emotions through distorted stick figures, to contemporary humans effectively transfiguring abstract emotions, into concrete content, we have come a long way. Regardless of our linguistic aptitude, that facilitates effective expression, we have a tendency to misinterpret gestures; A phenomenon that has caused significant damage in the past.
1. Catastrophes of the Past
One of the most disastrous nuclear catastrophes history has ever seen, the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, was a consequence of a semantic error. A naive ‘mistranslation’ by intermediaries, led to miscommunication between the Japanese ruler and the American president, during World War II. Owing to the media, it spiraled out of control, which subsequently resulted in the detonation of two nuclear bombs, over the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, by the United States of America.
This event caused around 2.5 million deaths, and exposed several generations to nuclear radiations. The Salem witch trials, that were carried out to execute women accused of witchcraft, were a result of misinterpretation as well. Seizures and other signs of a possible mental illness, were correlated with the devil and supernatural, and this assumption transpired the brutal trials.
Even though the timelines and stakeholders differ in the aforementioned tragedies, their essence is somewhat similar. Had mutual democratic dialogue been established, the people in question could’ve kept themselves from misinterpreting others’ intentions, and saved people from years of inflicted torture.
2. Relevance in Modern Times
Several mechanisms have been formulated in the contemporary times, that ensure effective communication at national and international levels. As a consequence, such tragedies, in this day and age, are highly unlikely. However, miscommunication of assorted aspects, is one of the leading causes of conflict in routine life.
A series of similar reactions has been noted in the case of road rages, and other sudden brawls too. What emerges as an anger outburst then, eventually triggers emotional and physical trauma in several cases, later on. Whether there is a difference of opinion, or a full-fledged fight, people tend to raise their voices in a bid to prove a point.
However, it is a scientifically proven fact, that anger that’s followed by raising voice to a person, can trigger their ‘flight or fight’ response, which prepares them for a possible invasion in their personal space. Hence, expecting a mutual agreement in a fear-invoked environment, is plainly far-fetched.
Another common issue we face routinely, involves trial by media. In the age of freedom of speech, accusing someone of a crime they haven’t been proven guilty for, is a sheer and common case of media exploiting its autonomy. In such cases, misinformation is spread like wildfire, and considering the impact that the media has, on a nation’s government and its people, such misinformation can effortlessly ruin the affected person or organization’s goodwill.
3. The Need for a Democratic Dialogue
Considering the essence of each case revolves around miscommunication, it can be avoided by encouraging a democratic dialogue among people. If both sides are allowed a certain degree of autonomy, to effectively communicate their side of the story, and their perspectives, they can meet halfway, and agree on a solution efficiently.
It is indeed the best possible alternative, as even the foundation of our judiciary is based on this principle.