By John Durham Peters
"This is a finest and thought-provoking publication. . . . Peters continues that conversation is eventually unthinkable except the duty of creating a nation within which humans can dwell jointly peacefully. Given our as mortals, conversation is still no longer basically an issue of know-how, yet of energy, ethics and art." —Antony Anderson, New Scientist
"Guaranteed to change your brooding about conversation. . . . unique, erudite, and wonderfully written, this booklet is a gem." —Kirkus Reviews
"Peters writes to reclaim the proposal of authenticity in a media-saturated international. It’s this final situation that renders his ebook a courageous, colourful exploration of the hydra-headed difficulties awarded by way of a rapid-fire well known culture." —Publishers Weekly
What we've here's a failure-to-communicate ebook. humorous factor is, it communicates superbly. . . . Speaking Into the Air gives you what remarkable severe books consistently do-hours of highbrow problem as one absorbs the progressively unfolding imaginative and prescient of an erudite, artistic author." —Carlin Romano, Philadelphia Inquirer
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Extra info for Speaking into the Air: A History of the Idea of Communication
Fashion illustrates such simultaneity: in some periods past styles (swing music, sideburns, bell-bottoms) are dead and off-limits, and in others they are suddenly current again. The past lives selectively in the present. 2 What these reflections mean for this book is that I try to illuminate the present by excavating several past moments with which I believe it has an affinity. There is little here that is directly about television, cinema, or the Internet, and not much beyond the mid-twentieth century.
For Heidegger communication revealed our simultaneous togetherness/otherness as social beings; for Ogden and Richards it allowed a clean meeting of minds; and for Dewey it sustained the building of community and the dance of creation. Each of these five views is also anticipated in earlier doctrines. 29 The dream of mental conjunction via semantic agreement was traced by John Locke, and the dream of shared consciousness reaches to medieval angelology and mysticism. The breakdown of communication was explored by Kierkegaard and Emerson, and Hegel saw communication as the staking of an existential claim to recognition as a human among other humans.
Communication in this sense makes problems of relationships into problems of proper tuning or noise reduction. As I examine such media of transmission and recording as the post office, telephone, camera, phonograph, and radio in later chapters, my focus will be not on how they affected face-to-face communication as an already constituted zone of human activity, but rather on how such media made “communication” possible as a concept in the first place, with all its misfires, mismatches, and skewed effects.