Recently I have been wondering about the things that go unsaid within civil discourse. At this moment, a lot of civil discourse is occurring in our media and content drivin versions of the public square and in groups of all sizes. Even the best form of communication has limits. Communication on social media is inherently limited in both the audience and size of the files being shared. Outside of that limitation, generally during the exchange of information only so much time exists for one person to listen and for the other to talk. Even within standalone writing, video, or audio recordings the same time limit exists for the respondent. Time is a scarce and valuable resource. Some people go as far as describing time as the root of all value. Given how powerful a claim that is about the value of time it is easy to imagine that some things go unsaid just from the structural imperfections inherent in the communication methods we have to use. That is not the part of the question or the problem that I’m trying to ponder in terms of the things that go unsaid within civil discourse. My aim here is to ponder how to help repair civility and allow civil society to work in general for everyone. Within that last sentence a hypothesis might be implied that the things that go unsaid are breaking down the frameworks that allow civil society to function and civility to ensure. Essentially that hypothesis is probably where the bulk of my thoughts are squarely focused today on questions about modernity and where we are at as a society.
Spending time thinking about the fabric of our constitutional republic beyond government is deeply meaningful. It is essentially spending time thinking about the foundation of social institutions and the normative framework that underpins discourse in the public square. Beyond time constraints imposed within the cable news cycle, the print publishing cycle, and the inherent limitations of soundbytes discourse in the public square seems to be full of things that go unsaid. Within interpersonal relationships I tend to personally favor a variant of radical candor both in the workplace and outside of it. My strategy for communication is outside the standard normative framework. That has been the case for over twenty years. My behavior is not setting any type of trend. That has not stopped me from spending a lot of time in the previous decade thinking about the intersection of technology and modernity and what that means for society in general. In this time of global pandemic and quarantine I’m spending a lot more time wondering about the modernity part of that equation. Technology seems less important right now and is probably secondary to the considerations at hand, The modernity part of the equation right now in his watershed moment of pandemic seems to be changing the nature of discourse in terms of the things that normally go unsaid.
Contemporaneity would generally describe this window of time where a shared experience of people who lived in this time of pandemic and experienced a change in discourse occurred. Watershed events like the one that is occurring end up creating some type of intergenerational equity between all the generations that experience the event. Perhaps that is where I should spend my time pondering for the rest of the day and into tomorrow. Within the shadow of modernity things are changing based on how the contemporaneity of the two events combined with the intergenerational nature of the shared experience. My initial reaction is that the shared part of the common experience is what is changing public discourse. Having a shared frame of reference is a very important part of communication.