Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Communicative Responsibility

I find it difficult to answer the question, “What are our responsibilities to each other when we blog?” Perhaps it is because I am unused to the medium. Certainly, one would bear some of the same responsibilities inherent in any discourse, for example, the duty to exhibit sensitivity to issues of race, gender, ethnicity, religion, and culture. That in itself is a question open to debate (that of political correctness), but it is not unreasonable to expect some degree of decency and awareness when one engages in communication with others.

It also occurs to me that one could argue for an obligation to speak the truth, or at the very least, to be sincere. However, one would have to define sincerity. In order for one to discern the sincerity of another, one would have to demonstrate that a text possesses verisimilitude of some sort. Obstructing this goal is language’s vagueness and tendency to deconstruct. There is no transcendental signified. Signifiers only refer to other signifiers in an infinite regress. The import of any text that one may create is often involuntarily influenced by such factors as the limitations of the medium, the historico-cultural connotations of words, conventional usage, obscurity, and subjectivity.

Moreover, there is the question of whether or not one can ever give an accurate representation of oneself. Frequently, one unconsciously creates and assumes roles which vary according to the situation and audience. But is one’s identity only constituted by these roles? Beyond them, what is there? What am I, if I am not just a brother, son, grandson, godson, nephew, student, employee, colleague, friend, associate, and potentially a whole slew of other identifications—if all of these are mere corruptible façades, masks which one dons for some time, before having to relinquish them to time and decay? One could contend à la Baudrillard that these roles serve as simulacra which conceal the emptiness of identity as is commonly conceived.

Thus, one invariably projects a persona—a fixed, partial conception of oneself, conditioned by factors which may or may not be controllable—out into the world. To venture an answer to the prenominate question: one of the only obligations that one must strive to fulfill in life and in communication is to express the universal (the verities of the human condition) within the confinements and vagaries of the particular (i.e. the particular medium or media that one is using as well as one’s discrete perspective, cultural milieu, historicity, etc. ).  

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