Communication is cultural and varied and changing. These days we can literally talk a-mile-a-minute, or faster yet, chat around the world in under eighty seconds. It seems as if this planet has always offered instantaneous answers, but have you ever wondered what happened to the Cherokee stories that were verbally passed down for generations? Or how applicable the Aboriginal songlines are now that we have GPS? Or where the importance and childlike fun of hieroglyphs went?
Each culture has adapted its communication style to suit this modern, globalised world. Imagine if every nation still used its ancient method of correspondence! Offices would be stocked with scrolls of papyrus, and politicians would sing and dance their election campaigns. When travelling abroad, French tourists would need cave paintings on road signs, while Polynesians would bicker over upside-down celestial maps. In World War I, British code breakers would have used a counting board to crack Germany’s elaborate smoke signals.
As much as I would love to explore that world, communication is changing. Perhaps it’s for the better. We are now entertained by emoticons for every topic, and our education can be emailed to us. Language and communication are adapting to technological upgrades just as they have done since the beginning of time. However, today’s technology is upgraded with just the quick click of a button.
Some argue that we live in a tech-oriented society, where modification means progress. Well, in that case we certainly do progress! It takes seconds to send a message across the ocean, and you don’t need to put it in a bottle. Phone calls are still made, but many Australians now use the internet to do so rather than a pre-payed system. Living in Perth, the world’s most isolated capital city, you really do value faster broadband.
Subscribing to this modern lifestyle is fairly easy (as any Youtuber will tell you), and people all around the world come together to adopt it. That said, there are days when I miss dinner-table conversation, or talking to a company employee rather than an automated response. I still refuse to voice-command Siri, and I get back out of bed to check that the house is locked rather than texting my housemates. Call me old-fashioned.
Changing communication leads us to exciting discoveries, and unites cultures in a deepened understanding of each other and our capabilities. Expectedly, ancient methods of recording and retelling faded out as cultures changed. Not everything should stay the same, but changing doesn’t mean forgetting. Just think, years from now some kid might be wondering how we survived using only iPhones and the alphabet.
‘Lest not forget’ may be an outdated phrase, but it’s one applicable to appreciating where we were and where we are now. Technology and communication will likely never stop changing, and I am intrigued as to where they will take us. Now, please excuse me: my battery is about to die, and I need to send this to California, or else you won’t read it at all. Where is a carrier pigeon when you need one?