How I see it

Tom Bowlus, Editor-in-Chief

We communicate with people every day, and each individual conversation is an opportunity to share a part of our cognitive realm with the other party. Of course, some interactions are necessarily brief: “Fresh ground pepper, sir?” “Yes, please.” Others provide opportunities for a more profound exchange. Yet many of us truncate these types of discourse in ways which rob both speaker and listener of opportunities to think, debate, understand, and appreciate. For example, if I take the time to type out (or say aloud) “you only live once,” my brain is hopefully connecting some dots regarding “what does it mean to really live,” “I will not have a second chance to do this,” “the costs of missed opportunities,” and “human mortality.” By contrast, if I type (or say) “YOLO,” I have reduced these concepts to the equivalent of a shrug. Granted, it may be wishful thinking on my part that simply taking the longer road (of communication) will actually trigger all of these deeper thoughts, but it may at least cause a few more neurons to fire.

 Social media, texting, ridiculously short attention spans, and other societal pressures are moving us all in a direction of more frequent, but less meaningful, communication. It boggles the mind that a character-limited, stream-of-consciousness tweet is now considered to be a formal document produced by the President of the United States. We are devaluing communication, which should be a cherished facet of human existence. These are not positive trends, but – despite the increasing pressure towards shallow, meaningless utterances – all hope is not lost.

[pro_ad_display_adzone id="116586"]

We have the power within us to take back the value of communication; to demonstrate to those with whom we communicate that we actually care about the conversation; to demonstrate that we have something to say that is worth listening to, and to let our conversation partners know that we respect their time and their mental acuity. For many of us, we have our high school English (Language Arts) teachers to thank for this capacity – especially those teachers who actually made us write things. Yes, it is important to know the foundational building blocks of sentence structure, grammar, and the like, but the “persuasive argument” assignments, “spontaneous short essays,” and similar assignments really help to hone one’s communication skills. With this in mind, I would like to extend a hearty thanks to two of my English teachers – Mr. Taylor, and Mrs. Lamp – who doled out meaningful assignments, and who encouraged me to be a better writer. I believe my first published work was an impromptu essay titled “Hamlet the Unhero” which I wrote in Mrs. Lamp’s class. Thank you, Mr. Taylor and Mrs. Lamp, and English/Language Arts teacher everywhere who care about meaningful communication!

 I am very proud of the work which all of our contributors here at Bass Gear Magazine put forward for your consideration. All of writers/contributors are passionate and excited about what they are writing about, and they truly wish to convey something meaningful – or at least helpful – to the reader. This is, after all, our primary goal.  If more people approach communication – be it written, spoken, or “other” – with the goal of conveying something helpful, meaningful, insightful, entertaining, or honest, then we may be able to reverse some of the societal trends towards lots and lots of short, meaningless chirps, or tweets. In the end, these become nothing but background noise. Don’t be background noise…

 That’s how I see it.

Take care, Tom.