Many years ago, in his book Das bedingte Leben (The Conditioned Life), the theoretician Friedrich Wolfram Heubach quite rightly pointed out that the word ‘communication’ was constantly completely misunderstood. As is generally known, the word is commonly used in order to indicate – often in a rather pathos-laden way – that everything and everybody chats with each other and is related to one another. There is, for example, the so-called communication design, which shapes communication through typography and layout, but also in the field of high tech and in the new media.
Communication is seen as something to be proud of because it promises openness, an endless preparedness for conversation, transparency and correct social behaviour. But, back then, Heubach already showed that communication was exclusive rather than integrative: it always excludes all those from the social group, who do not understand the symbols used by those who are communicating. Who do not speak the same language, who read in a different way, who do not know the latest fashionable acronyms and phrases. This is already confirmed when looking at the origin of the word ‘communication’: it is based on a combination of the Latin terms cum (with), noenia (wall) and ire (walking) – which perfectly describes that only those who walk within the same walls (city walls and the like) will understand each other. All those beyond these walls are drastically excluded.
This is still the case today and explains the pathetic stupidity of the constant use of the word communication.