The Problem of Conveyance

The Problem of Conveyance

Best-selling Japanese author Haruki Murakami wrote, "Painful is the stress when one cannot reproduce or convey vividly to others, however hard he tries, what he's experienced so intensely". He wrote that in his short story, "A Long Way from The Stuffed Cabbage".

By that measure, I'm in real pain. One of the proclaimed indicators of civilization is the division of labor; The idea that individuals specialize in highly specific tasks. The "higher" the civilization, the greater the division of labor, we are told. The division of labor becomes toxic when we begin to rely on specialists for issues that we really shouldn't. If you leave economic issues to economists, or social issues to politicians, and other issues that directly effect us to specialists, you'll end up with tyranny - as many philosophers and intellectuals have warned us. The intellectual and the writer are rendered ineffectual and inconspicuous when the audience limits their interests to their own field of specialization and their hobbies. Serious authors can rarely penetrate this bubble.

Take a computer programmer who is interested in photography as a hobby. Is there any way to convey philosophical truths to him? Or an economists who likes science fiction. Is there any real way to convey real-world issues that effects her? Or a businessman whose hobby is exotic cars. Can you even attempt to convey climate change research or current social problems to him? How do you get people who are trapped in their own bubbles to care about serious issues that directly effect them? Is all you can do, transmit your message with the hope that someone receives it?

The Great Gatsby by Scott Fitzgerald was not a novel about lavish parties thrown by the rich. Nor was Moby Dick by Herman Melville about a whaling adventure. Nor was Bruce Springsteen's Born in the U.S.A. a patriotic song about the American Dream - as Ronald Reagan attempted to portray it for his reelection campaign. An idea conveyed isn't really conveyance if it's distorted by the receiver or by the time it reaches the receiver.
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