Thought of the Day
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Thought of the Day

Everything Is Communication

I had a recent discussion with my dad about Korean drinking customs.

I am not one to respect tradition for tradition’s sake, so I pushed back against the customs.

They seemed arbitrary and forced.

(For those unaware, the youngest of the table is to serve the elders and there are codified ways to hold your cup to receive and hold the bottle for pouring.)

Upon reflection, I realize now that they are a codified form of communication. It was an organized way to communicate certain ideals.

“You are my brother and I will take care of you.”

Just as it is in the USA with the handshake. It is intended to communicate a certain feeling.

If you understand that, it is no longer a dead motion and instead, it is a rich gesture.

I have recently been down the rabbit hole of decoding all forms of communication.

People are constantly communicating with me. With their eyes, arms, facial expressions, words, posture, and tonality.

I am also communicating.

When I stand tall and give eye contact, I am communicating certain things to people.

When I touch people in certain ways, I am communicating something.

When I challenge and tease, I am also examining certain factors as well.

This is revealing. When I view all of these from the lens of communication, they make so much sense.

If you remove the connection aspect from a joke, for example, you get a really warped, tone-deaf sense of what a joke is.

Without seeking of connection, jokes are just attempts to impress.

Understanding this allows me to use these gestures with more ease and nuance.

They are not “knockout blows” to throw blindly at people to win a game.

They are targeted tests to see what lies within a person’s heart and mind.

If I tease someone and they react positively? I’ve just revealed their impression of me they were a bit shy to reveal before that.

This understanding helps me feel more comfortable testing things to gently probe people’s true natures.



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James Kahng

Living with abandon. We are born into life, skydivers without a parachute.