Saturday morning quotes 2.41: Communication
“When the mass media triumph, the human being dies”
– Umberto Eco, “Towards a Semiological Guerrilla Warfare”, 1967
As we live our lives deliberately in the slow lane, in spite of the daily bombardment of unnecessary technology and useless information, we find that active resistance is necessary to survival. Communication is vital to existence but where do we draw the line? At what point does receiving and sorting through a surfeit of information take over our lives and prevent us from living, breathing and experiencing the more important bits?
We live in an age of Mass Media, where talk is cheap, misleading information is everywhere and at every turn someone is trying desperately to sell us something we don’t need. No matter whether the topic of discussion is 19th century guitar technique, coffee grinders, distribution of CDs, chain saws, lute strings, shoes, or concert promotion, we are daily bombarded with adverts from people who are here to tell us the best way to achieve a goal we haven’t even bothered to consider. Mass Media 1) encourages a ‘definitive method’ to almost every aspect of life, 2) enables those who are ambitious and unscrupulous self-promoters to apply such methods no matter what the arena, and 3) allows the result to be presented and advanced as plausible and accepted fact via misleading advertising.
Umberto Eco, a specialist in the field of Semiotics, has given us plenty of wry analysis that at the very least informs us of the nature of the problem.
As a rule, politicians, educators, communications scientists believe that to control the power of the media, you must control two communicating moments of the chain: the Source and the Channel. In this way they believe they can control the message.
The battle for the survival of man as a responsible being in the Communications Era is not to be won where the communication originates, but where it arrives.
As specialists in old music, it’s a strange existence living with one foot exploring the music, culture and sensibility of the Renaissance, while the other foot is attempting to gain a foothold and resist the slide down the slippery slope of presenting that music to modern audiences. Communicating the value of old ideas via modern advertising methods targeting people with a reduced attention span may seem a fool’s errand. But we continue to receive encouraging feedback from around the world and will therefore continue to channel our ideas of the aesthetics of the past to the open minds of the present. Just don’t expect us to get all fancy and up to date.