Jimmy Krotov

Communication: the dimension of presence

Communication consists not of stages, but of dimensions. The stages replace each other, the dimensions coexist with each other.

The very first dimension seems to be binary. To be or not to be. One may present oneself to the interlocutor, one may not.

In fact, it is more complicated than that. One can be or not be fictitiously. To be, not to be, or to be only in appearance. I'm out, I'm sitting next to a person, but I'm ignoring him. Boycott. Avoidance. To put it the old-fashioned way, hatred. I hate the other to the point where he is invisible to me, nothing, a hole in the universe.

Only a person can be or not be fictitiously, conditionally. It is possible because the person doesn't just give signals, but speaks. The word is immeasurably more complex than the signal. More precisely, communication is infinitely more complex than signaling.

"Being," too, can only be in words. A person leaves, leaves material space to stay. It is a demonstrative departure. It demonstrates an unwillingness to share the space of life with another. The very physical absence or mere silence turns out to be a powerful communication: I disagree, I object, I am against it.

Hence, in philosophy, the idea of the phenomenon and the noumen. Every phenomenon conceals something that cannot be manifested. Man only cognizes what can be cognized, but inside, behind the surface of the phenomenon, there is something that resists cognition. Hence man's uncertainty about his ability to know. Do we cognize accurately anything other than our sensations?

Uncertainty must increase many times over when communicating with another person. The chair does not lie, does not cheat, and the other person may cheat and lie, voluntarily or involuntarily. This is half the trouble, but the whole trouble is that one is able to use words not for lying, but for the higher truth, for love, for creativity. Lying simplifies the world, creativity complicates it. The other does not resist my knowing it. The other is torn toward me. But the real drama happens: communication is not easier, but harder when I am loved. Lovers are in touch at a depth that they themselves are closed to and that only the one they love opens up to.




(c) Yakov Krotov