Philosophy of Communication
Whenever people communicate, questions of right and wrong arise. People always wonder if the statement was said right or not, they scrutinize others statement more than their own.
Ethical communication is fundamental to responsible thinking, decision making, and the development of relationships and communities within and across contexts, cultures, channels, and media. Moreover, ethical communication enhances human worth and dignity by fostering truthfulness, fairness, responsibility, personal integrity, and respect for self and others.
Unethical communication threatens the quality of all communication and consequently the well-being of individuals and the society in which we live. We should be committed to practicing the following principles of ethical communication:
- Truthfulness, accuracy, honesty, and reason as essential to the integrity of communication.
This is the basis of proper ethical communication. Everything begins with honesty. I believe communication would be of no value in most cases if it were not for the factor of truthfulness and honesty. One has to posses these ethics in order to even think about trying to convey an idea by communicating with individuals as well as the public in general. Lies beget lies; A well known fact indeed. It would only seem probable that a lie is something that could threaten an entire pyramid of truths in the form of communication. Accuracy the level to which one describes the truth could be as important as the truth itself. What if an inaccurate description of a truth during communication falsifies the idea in the first place? This would bring us to reason. Reason is what I think makes sense of the accuracy with respect to the level of honesty involved in a respective communication. Without reason expressing logically the truth of the communication, the integrity would crumble of the message being delivered.
- Freedom of expression, diversity of perspective, and tolerance of dissent to achieve the informed and responsible decision making fundamental to a civil society.
One needs to be able to express one’s ideas, feelings and thoughts. One needs to voice them out or communicate them in one way or another to the other so that the message is clear. First there comes the ability of expression which is followed closely by the freedom to do so. One may have the ability to converse and convey messages fluently to one another but without the freedom to do so, all these thoughts and feelings could be left unattended. Then again this freedom could be held for better or for worse. For example : Voicing out opinions against the government is very beneficial but it could also get one in trouble especially in corrupt countries. One needs to diversify and broaden ones view one different matters while communicating.
- Understand and respect other communicators before evaluating and responding to their messages.
This will enable one to understand others views on certain matters and smoothen the process of communication. One would not reply hastily when one has a broad mind and a broadened perspective on matters being discussed. One should create a 3 – tier process of communication in which the major ideas would be listening intently, where one lets the other communicate without hindrances. Then the diverse perspectives would help one think on a matter and thereafter evaluate one’s answer before finally responding to the statement at hand. I believe these few steps would save a lot of people a lot of trouble.
- Access to communication resources and opportunities is necessary to fulfill human potential and contribute to the well-being of families, communities, and society.
Access to information must never be restricted. As discussed above under freedom of communication the ability and freedom goes hand in hand. So does access to information and communication sources. One would then be able to make informed decision on personal and professional doubts on communication. Communication related opportunities must not be forgotten as it is through efficient communication done with the right ethics that one would be able to get the best of every situation and hence come out successful whenever faced with a problem of some kind. This in turn would save the problems between families. Proper ethics in hand would solve most of the disputes in the world. This is due to the unknown fact that the most humungous dispute in the world might have started from some unethical communication at home. Many families have separated due to unethical and underdeveloped communicative skills. Families in turn create communities and eventually the society and habitat one lives in. This way one gets to see the universal effects of communication.
- Communication climates of caring and mutual understanding that respect the unique needs and characteristics of individual communicators.
Mutual understanding is one of those common senses that is very uncommon these days.People are always ready to misunderstand someone in order to satisfy their somewhat sadist natures than being optimistic and always giving the other the benefit of the doubt. One needs to create an environment conducive to understanding and optimism around one’s self in order to promote positive communication and deliver fruitful products of sharing messages such as caring and understanding. This is what people want in life and this is what individual look for in the need of communication. This is the WANT of their NEED. The fulfillment of satisfying one’s needs and the comfort at fitting properly into an environment lies in the art of proper ethics in communication.
- Communication that degrades individuals and humanity through distortion, intimidation, coercion, and violence, and through the expression of intolerance and hatred.
Communication should not be used for extents such as the abuses mentioned above. This would give communication a bad vibe and lead to an era of silence; an era where everyone is scared that someone is listening to their conversations and personal thoughts. We can observe such a situation going on at the moment in the world and mainly in the west wherein people are scared to mention credit card numbers on a normal phone call to a certified call center, or where one just doesn’t feel right talking to a loved one wondering who might be listening on the other side. The patriot act in the USA that was enacted after the WTC attacks allowed the Government to listen to everything. Since then Money has been extorted from people to keep secrets that would have been kept if not for this pillaging of communication.
- Courageous expression of personal convictions in pursuit of fairness and justice.
As mentioned above as voicing out ones opines against a certain institution or in favour of a belief or standing for a right, one needs to be courageous in such cases. Intimidation and coercion will be harder to deal out by the pillagers of communication explained above if more and more people are courageous with their views and opines. The Ethics will help many courageous and the freedom of communication will guard the many. But for that the masses need to get stronger at communication. Fairness and Justice are just a mile away from one. That mile is the mile of ethically developed communication. Once that road has been travelled [, only people like Robert Frost who took ‘The Road Not Taken’ (The path less travelled by) would be dominated by the intelligence agencies!] more and more people would rush into the era of free communication within the ethical boundaries.
- Sharing information, opinions, and feelings when facing significant choices while also respecting privacy and confidentiality.
Privacy and Confidentiality has been mentioned in the above many statements and explanations if one reads between the lines. Here, we shall discuss it a bit further. Privacy is the sunlight for the ethical communication flower. Privacy brings out the best in the ethics of communication. People decide that the less the people hear what they say and convey the more frank they can be. This is another reason why the masses should move to freely and ethically at the same time.
- Responsibility for the short- and long-term consequences for our own communication and expect the same of others.
Finally, Even after one manages to try to follow all steps and statements given above, communication can never be perfect; ethically at least. One can always improve the message one is passing and tune out the static while accepting the consequences of unethical and undeveloped communication and related skills. These consequences must be dealt with and learnt from so as not to turn these short term consequences into long term or create long term consequences.