Thursday, April 08, 2010

Keeping Things in Context

I was thinking about context today. Context is very important when it comes to judging things. For example, take a look at the following conversation:

Person #1 - Uh-oh, you've got something on your face there.
Person #2 - I do? Where?
Person #1 - Right there on your chin.
Person #2 - Oh my gosh. That must be part of my loofah from the shower.
Both - Laughter.

The context of that conversation makes a huge difference. If, for instance, that conversation took place between two female co-workers, then this is not a real interesting conversation.

On the other hand, if this conversation took place between two male MMA fighters, this conversation takes on a whole new meaning.

The reason why I bring this up is because in today's world of e-mails and text messages, the true spirit of our conversations sometimes gets blown out of proportion because of context. When we can't see someone's face or hear the inflection in their voice or, God forbid, we don't have the same definition of certain words as someone else, then the context is out of whack and the conversation is up for misinterpretation. We live in a world of more means of communication than ever. But we also seem to get some of those messages mix up more than ever. It's weird.

Context is a small thing, but sometimes it makes all the difference in the world.

"Let's dance," from Fred Astaire can mean three minutes of entertainment on the dance floor. "Let's dance," from Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad could mean three minutes of all out war — unless of course Ahmadinejad actually does want to dance. Might want to find out the context first.

It's all about context.

No comments: