Banning communication

My daughter is writing her college admission essays. One short question asked “What is the form of communication that you would most like to ban?” I’m not sure what she wrote, but we brainstormed types of communication. Talking, writing, telephoning, email. Cell phones, text messaging, Facebook, pop up ads. Morse code. Mother nagging, sister fighting. Dogs barking in the next yard. Street preachers. Ads in the middle of your favorite shows, MovieTone News, billboards, newspapers, magazines, sale prices posted in store windows, junk mail. Gossip. Books. Vanity license plates. Telemarketers who interrupt your dinner, unsolicited faxes, fundraisers. Off-color bumper stickers. Racial or ethnic slurs. Tattoos. Pornography. Lying, slander, libel. This list seems to be going downhill fast.

It turns out to be a very interesting and not so simple question. At first, we thought: communication is a good thing – what could be bad enough to rate actual banning? But in thinking about it, there is a lot of very unwelcome communication out there – some merely annoying, but some with the potential to cause great harm. There’s a lot of discussion to be had here.

Funny how at first glance these questions seem sort of silly but manage, with some thought, to have some real depth. In many ways, this is the same with any topic – the more you look at it, the more you understand it. People, I suppose, are the same way. Perhaps we should approach our daily lives like college essays, taking time to move the experience a little beyond the surface.

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