It doesn’t exist another term with the same wide meaning of “communication”. Today it’s the most used and abused word, mostly used incorrectly, at least if it’s even possible to define a correct use (it’s not). Still “learning” does the magic. You can substitute “communication” with “learning” in every situation and you won’t even loose any added value of meaning. Many tried to define such a word (“communication”, not “learning”), most of the times peoples tend to focus on a single aspect, like: “something moving from a subject to another”. And here you can start to delve and define all the theory of Shannon and Weaver. The technical theory of communication. Source, encoder, message, channel, decoder and receiver. Math. Difference between at least two different levels. 0,1. Binary digits. Or perhaps we can go romantic (or systemic, like Niklas Luhmann) and define the communication as something “unknown” happening inside the system, like a human being. After all the source could have a precise aim when it sends its message, perhaps the source is a politician willingly to seduce his audience so that everyone agrees with him and votes for him. Does it always work? Obviously not. The massage encounters various problems along its way. There’s “noise”, technical problems. But technical problems aren’t exquisitely technical, a technical difference can also be a cultural gap, a different language… even a “mood” or a “trend” (at the end is all about the aleatory concept of “culture”). And it’s not complete because the noise isn’t the only problem. You can still send a perfect message and still not achieve your ( “your” as “source”) aim. And this happens because of the true, systemic nature of communication: it happens only in a single, closed system. Like a human being.
The “communication” doesn’t really involve two subjects. It just needs one. The communication in its true meaning is just a “perturbation”, a stimulus. It could come from whatever and “whatever” can still communicate with you. Even the absence of communication is strong communication. The point is that the communication “happens” (like shit), you cannot help it. And it happens inside a subject, no matter of what happens outside. This is the concept of the original distinction between a system and its ambient. The ambient perturbs the system, the system reacts. The reaction could be completely “other”, detached, contingent. The message is a perturbation but the communication and its own level happen inside the system. The message outside has zero value if it doesn’t produce a difference inside a system (the basic theory explain that an ambient is always outside a system and the elements that form such ambient are completely different from the elements of the system. They don’t even touch and there’s zero exchange. Each part just perturbs the other. And is “structurally coupled” or “coordinated” with the other.). And the system reacts by following its own processes, it’s impossible to anticipate something from the outside (hm, not really, but I won’t explain).
All this just “adds” to the difficulty of defining a silly word like “communication”. Silly because of the nature of the culture. “Culture” means that you can “draw lines”. The culture is just an hallucination that allows you point your finger and differentiate something from something else. The “theory of form” of Spencer Brown. Even racism is simply a “property” of the culture. It can only happen because we have a culture, one of its finest products. Anyway. We can define things, and these definitions have different “dimensions” just because where we trace lines is something completely arbitrary. You can draw lines everywhere. We can say “fruit” or “apple” and we are just drawing lines to define more or less big spaces. These spaces don’t exist, they are part of our hallucination (culture) and doom (the fact that we have lost the right of being able to see things as a whole. Our integrity.). So, basically, “communication” is hard to define simply because it has not a precise meaning. You see into the term whatever you like. No different from “love”. Everyone has its own definition and there isn’t a precise way to point a “truth”, because, once again, we don’t have truths. We have a culture. And since a culture has the opposite meaning (and space) of “nature”, you have the explaination about why the culture is an hallucination: the truth is about the nature, men don’t live in the nature, they live in a cocoon called culture, a dimension that doesn’t really exist.
So we have a few guidelines and a word with a wide and subjective meaning. Peoples define the communication focusing on different aspects because they point what they see on a precise moment and it’s very hard to draw a synthesis form all that to deduce a single and complete definition able to embrace all the possible aspects. At this point you have two different path (paths always come in pair, it’s a rule), one is about building a very complex definition, long and elaborated enough to fit in it every meaning possible, the other is about using tricks. The first has been choosed by the famous gurus, each with its own insane and incomprehensible definition. The other path is, instead, what I find more interesting and “rewarding”, using the obvious tricks to reach the heart of the communication. The trick itself isn’t complex. Since it’s hard to define the term simply because it has blurry borders and you can fit in that pretty much everything, you can use the strategy to junt find an alternate possibility that offers you the same “range” of meaning. And when you find such a word you can start to observe both wor”L”ds and, so, understand both better. As a Joycean epiphany.
And we already have a wonderful word, already an epiphany on its own: “learning”. Its a term so special that as you start to observe it you’ll see into it more and more depth, till you discover more about the communication than you can do by using no filters and study it directly. Like staring at the sun and feeling dazzled. They are so similar because they share an intimate meaning. Everyone owns a personal definition of “learning” even more than “communication”. Both are wide and blurry, still retaining something nearly magical, something seducing. Learning has the “poetry” that “communication” misses. And this has a precise meaning: this word can save the world. It’s a crossover between the hallucination of the culture and the lost nature. Poetry as “art”. Art as “reavealing an aspect of the world, hidden till that precise moment”. Only the art is able to show us the “nature” we miss. The “art” is an instant, again an epiphany, a sudden mircacle that allows everyone to have a glimpse of the real world. To see a beauty.
“Communication” as a term is no different than “walking”. It’s something that leaves you perplexed. They both involve a source (a starting point) and a receiver (a finishing line). You “go” but we don’t already know from where and toward what. And, you know, why… We do things in general but the words don’t help us to find a sense or a purpose. “Communication” implies something to say? A motivation? Not really, it implies just itself and it really doesn’t give us anything valuable. It’s an egoistical word. Unfriendly. Well: ugly. Surely not artistic. So, why damn we walk? Why damn we communicate? Each time we use these words we feel a loss. The loss of a sense, the excuse. A soul. A meaning!
Really, we have these words meaning so many things and still not giving us anything valuable. Or perhaps we use them exactly because they are empty. Today we are seduced by the emptiness. Luckily we can still choose, or at least I hope. You can use ugly words and obtain nothing than pain, or choose something else with a soul. More “compromising”. “Learning” has everything and more. More than “communication” it belongs to the intimacy of a blind (a child) and closed system. Learning is a process happening in a single system. It defines everything precisely because you can learn from everything, even from yourself. You don’t even need a source nor an aim tied to an external source. You can go out and see a beautiful day. You have learnt. Learning is about life and as “life” its meaning has no real limit. Since it has no limits it gives us the hint of the nature. The absence of the culture, the glimpse of nature. Learning is our purest process and is “beautiful” on every aspect. You don’t need a guru to explain you the term, you don’t need money, nor knowledge. You just need life and you know that it belongs to you, if you want. It’s our true nature without the impurities. Noone can draw a line between himself and this term, noone can apply to this a form of racism and noone can be an (Ab)alien(o).
And instead of “communication” it doesn’t leave you stupid and without a sense. “Learning” is already positive to the point that you don’t need a reason or a purpose. Life in its purest form.
Incomplete. I’d like to add more links with references and a better conclusion.