Inter-Cultural Communication: Reality, Axiom, Image

Public Opinion, Mass Media and Dialogue between Orientalism, Occidentalism and Globalization


Essay, 2020

31 Pages


Free online reading

Abstract

This article presents a dialectic between the variety of truisms around the world on the subject of inter-cultural communication, the formation of public opinions through mass media, and nuances of dialogue in light of the current affairs in the world. It introduces my book titled: Inter-Cultural Communication between Reality, Axiom and Image, and exposes the reader to a brainstorming experience, providing worldwide public opinions an opportunity to question, to wonder and to create hypotheses, while respecting the different points of view. It attempts to suggest new models of constructive inter-cultural communication; consequently, fading away instrumentalized misunderstanding and conflicts between societies of the world. By making implicit assumptions explicit, this article delves into issues of racism, diversity, cultural and inter-cultural tolerance, and the growing importance of inclusivity in a modern world driven by digital communication and connectivity.

A Brief Introduction

This article is an evolutionary review of my book about the continuously developing relationship between reality, axiom, and image. It introduces a kind of revolutionary state of thought by suggesting a different approach to the stereotyped consciousness that exists between humans and societies. It invites individuals and collectives who have different opinions to communicate and facilitate an understanding of the others way of thinking while encouraging people to think out of the box.

This leads societies to maturity by a certain level of learning to see reality out of their cultural frames and from the perspective of the others, which does not necessarily contradict with the core of their identities. This could be achieved by self-criticism, flexing absolutisms, respecting differences, understanding the naturality of diversity between societies of the world and their cultures, and by seeing inter-cultural differences as a mutual enrichment, rather than the reason of conflict and extinction.

Reality is one (N. Luhmann), yet axioms differ between the various points of view around the world. Every perspective differs according to the natural environment (geographical and climatic location) of societies, and according to the cultural consciousness that individuals and societies gain from their life experience along with their symbolic and interactive environment in which they were born and grew up in, thereby develop their lifestyle, traditions, rituals, religions, politics, economy, art, sports, literature etc.. through it and within (H. Blumer).

While analogizing between the astronomical black hole and the mass communicational one, this article philosophizes suggesting the model of elevating upon cultural frames, calling humans and societies to stop for a moment, to think and reflect on the natural familiarity and communality around them, by reaching the maturity and the ability to balance between openness and maintaining their own identities.

We are species with different perceptions of the globe, which is a mutual enrichment and a strengthening factor for humankind, its co-existential continuity, and it should not be seen as a reason for fighting, anger, hostility or war.

Book Review: Themes & Abstracts

The book, Inter-Cultural Communication, is divided into nine chapters, which represent an analytical, critical and ambitious reflection, aiming to reach an intercultural dialogue and a constructive, mutual, and enriching co-existence around the world.

The first chapter chooses two theoretical bases, which the book builds on and relates to, believing that they help the reader understand the relationship between reality and its perception.

Hebert Blumer tries to explain the bond of human beings to reality while living in their natural and interactive (or social) environments in the theory of symbolic interaction (TSI). The theory clarifies the influence of environments on humans physical and cognitive consciousness.

Niklas Luhmann explains that reality is one with a never-ending horizon to infinity in the theory of constructivism. He defines human beings as cognitive systems that have the ability to see and to realize only that part of reality that they face and experience. This means that human beings and societies have a limited ratiocinative consciousness that can not define the whole reality, only through a life time experience that needs space, mutuality and constructive open interaction with familiar and different others around them.

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Every cognitive system environment construct interacts with its surroundings and with other systems, leading to continuous developmental change .

The second chapter concentrates on the terms of society, culture, and civilization. It defines those creations, compares them, and explains their relationship and their development over history.

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The third chapter talks about the communication between cultures in relation to orientalism, occidentalism and globalization. It defines those phenomena and their growth over history until today, and it explains their constructive and destructive impacts on societies and the communication between them. It philosophizes about the Hegelian dialectic of Thesis and Anti-thesis, trying to revolutionize the ideas of the antagonistic positions between inter-cultural differences into a complementary and enriching relationship, reducing the attitude of opposition and conflict. Finally, it discusses the role of orientalism, occidentalism and globalization in influencing the creation and development of the Thesis, Anti-thesis, Synthesis dialectic in theory and in the practical communication between the Arab world and the ‘West’.

The fourth chapter makes a comparison between the cultural structure of the Arab societies and the occidental societies within the context of intercultural communication. It talks about the relation between reality and its perception. It clarifies how Arab societies deal with Islam from the different perspectives of secularism, liberalism, and fundamentalism (F. Jadaan). It goes further to describe how the ‘western’ world deals with Islam from the geo-political, international perspective and the media viewpoint.

The fifth chapter compares the so-called Orient and Occident, between ‘East’ and ‘West’, Arab world and American & European world as different societies that carry different cultural constructs and live in the era of globalization. It observes the frail relationship between those cultures, because of the dominance of the hostile instinct in practicing globalization, leaving its positive attributes aside. So, what we see from the intercultural communication between those constructs of thought is; propaganda, geo-political conflicts, racist and extremist ideologies, instrumentalized mass media, analphabetism, ignorance, immature leaders and opinion leaders, misunderstanding and fear etc.

At this point, it becomes vital to explain Luhmanns blind spot, which exists and leads to miss-see or to fail in recognizing the facts and aspects of a communication process. According to the blind spot, this chapter insists on the vitality to leave an open space for the unseen or unrecognized to take its place in the process of communication, through widening the cognitive horizons to be able to perceive and to understand as much angles and features of reality as life experiences allow.

The sixth chapter works on the presence of mass media in societies and between cultures. It defines and explains mass media, its basics, its types and roles in synthesizing between reality, society, and the images of reality. Opinions vary in perceiving the role of mass media as an instrumental role (where they are only seen as channels of communication), or in perceiving them as cultural cognitive systems (that are able to lead complete communication processes, creating an image of reality to share it with the public).

Any way and in every way, cultural and inter-cultural images and perceptions are outcomes of the interaction between public opinions and mass media with each other and with their natural and symbolic environments.

The practical part of this chapter compares the construction of the oriental and the occidental mass media systems and shows how they work on creating public opinions.

Between a successful performance of mass media (on the intra-cultural level) in the ‘West’ and an amateur chaotic performance of mass media (on both the intra-cultural and inter-cultural levels) in the Arab ‘East’, there appears the immense role of the world wide web and social media, which changes the global communicational balances worldwide. This chapter looks into social media platforms and their effect on the shapes and spheres of global inter-cultural communication.

The seventh chapter foresees new constructive communication models of dialogue. It starts with representing forms, ways, and contents of human and cultural interaction between closed and open models of communication, depending on the natural and symbolic environments of societies. This chapter continues to define dialogue within history, philosophy, religion, economy, psychology, sociology pedagogy etc. It also explains concepts of dialogue, as well as its ethics and barriers suggesting ways out of the current inter-cultural conflictual circumstances around the world.

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Every culture has its components, features, and structures that distinguish it. And its identity is maintained (preserved) within its continuous communicational mobility aiming to protect its existence.

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Cultures interact by adopting the perspectives of one another while communicating. This leads them to see themselves and others from an outside perspective with the truism of preserving their own cultural identity at the same time. This, in turn, enriches knowledge, and continuity of societies.

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An inter-cultural dialectic is formed that leads to reciprocal cognitive and behavioural enrichment, leading to interactive, mutual and harmonious inter-cultural outcomes between two cultures. (A + B)

The eighth chapter focuses on the challenges that face mass media in the era of modern technology around the globe. It explains how many changes occur to the sent message through mass media, and how different the same message becomes between sending and receiving. It analyses how far this change of meaning in the content of the published (or spread out) message could influence the public and guide them to imaginary perceptions that may lead to positive or negative misunderstandings. This chapter talks about virtual reality, cultural imperialism, and about the levels of evolution that cultures have achieved in this high-tech era of the 21st century.

Chapter nine starts with tangible optimism towards authentic dialogue between cultures. Comparing discourse and dialogue, it defines dialogue, its phases, tools, methods, horizons and conditions to achieve constructive communication. Based on the factual difference between cultures, this chapter tries to discover reality and dig into various perceptions, including the problematic of axiom or ‘truth’ between the cultures of the Occident and the Orient. Trying to solve the inter-cultural misunderstanding about axiom or ‘truth’ between cultures, this chapter seeks different opinions about dialogue: the opinion of Graham Fuller, Roman Herzog, Prince El-Hassan Bin Talal, Reza Hamid Yousefi, Kollerman, Barnlund, Gudykunst, Hofstede, and Kim, etc.

In conclusion, of the theoretical and practical opinions, there appears an inter-cultural identity, which is part of the inter-cultural community. This form of existence may offer societies a fertile, constructive and ambitious ground for global co-existence. This chapter illustrates the meaning of an inter-cultural community as an authentic role model for societies. It explains its basic characteristics, phases of development, and its ethics.

This segment of the book moves from inter-cultural identity to virtual identity (technological identity), which was formed with the emerge of the technology phenomenon in the communicational development.

This part of the book questions the reasons of the massive inter-cultural gap, while technology brought societies nearer to each other because of its fastness in communicating information between people defeating the geographical and the time distances around the world. This writing tries to find practical answers to fill in the gaps, by compromising between artificial life and natural life and between inter-cultural differences.

The last part of this book shares a question with the reader: What is next?

After studying all the options of Kollermans societies of separation, assimilation and integration, the only solution for our worldwide inter-cultural problem seems to be dialogue, wisdom and wide horizons of knowledge, which will give all societies the choice for a stable, constructive, and different way of adapting to reality and its world of narrative textures. This chapter explains why the book chose the theory of symbolic interaction and constructivism to build on, towards achieving inter-cultural dialogue. The theory of symbolic interaction (TSI) leads us to accept reality as it is: with its diverse natural and interactive environments that create human consciousnesses and behaviours towards reality.

The theory of Constructivism clarifies that reality is one never-ending horizon, and humans are able to realize, only, what they experience of it. So the more they experience, the more they realize, see and learn about reality.

According to those two theories: humans, societies and cultures should be open and continuously develop themselves on the micro level, as well as on the macro level to keep up with the humongous evolutionary reality, which does not mean to waiver the own independent cultural identity.

When societies reach the maturity and the ability to balance between openness and maintaining their own identities, they would be able to participate in the suggested initiative of elevating upon their own cultural frames. This could be reached by societies moving out of their absolutisms with a confidence that is strong enough to flourish their identities during a broader communication experience that includes new inter-cultural enrichments, knowing and learning about otherness, and through harmonizing differences.

As result, societies can return to their own worlds, having gained new qualitative and quantitative knowledge that widens their horizons, impacting their consciousnesses, and developing authentic cosmopolitan individuals, and consequently societies.

Gaining objectivity from the inter-cultural elevation concept, leads societies to be mass communicationally independent in obtaining their information from different sources. Mass media are to be viewed here as cognitive systems that are part of culture and as mass communicational sources of information, like many other ones around us.

The inter-cultural elevation concept limits the manipulative influence of instrumentalized mass media on the international public opinion, because people have the self-confidence to view themselves as independent, pluralistic, knowledgeable, free maintainers of information and as complete cognitive systems that have the will and the ability to create their own objective opinion about reality.

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This figure represents how societies live within the framework of their natural surrounding environment, and how each community interacts within the context of a cultural surrounding environment, which it creates symbolically.

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This figure represents the departure of societies from their cultural frameworks, the exchange of cognitive places and perspectives by the dynamics of interaction. It shows how societies become familiar with other cultural and inter-cultural perspectives.

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This diagram shows how societies go back to their authentic and maintained cultural frames, after going through a mutual inter-cultural interaction having developed knowledge, experiences and perspectives, which revitalize a constructive communication in cultures and between them.

Analogy

Our long conversations about the galaxy and about the black hole with our little son Rashid and his various drawings of the black hole, inspired me to analogize the process of mass media communication and its function in societies to the galactic black hole, and its influence on the objects and beings in space around it.

The mass communicational media systems appear like the galactic black hole in the eyes of this writing. They attract the audiences to the extent of seduction in many times. They emit and spread out information through their tools and channels like a shining star around the world, no matter how credible, objective, or qualitative they are. Parallel to this description, the galactic black hole may lose its shining light in space. And the loss of light leads the star to become dark, eventually turning into pitch blackness. Its gravity then becomes so strong that it absorbs everything near and around it. It even absorbs light with its strongest and fastest speed. Nearly the same thing happens when mass media systems start their interaction with the public opinion. By spreading out their information, perceiving and presenting reality on different levels of massive imaginary reflection, their objectivity starts to vary between facts and imagination, their gravity becomes stronger, and the public opinion becomes vastly attracted to the overload of information all around.

The gravity of mass communicational systems, especially social media, is so strong that it leads the audiences to sink in and to get lost in the chaotic overload of opinions, perspectives, attitudes, cultural and inter-cultural behaviours, and actions and reactions towards reality. According to this mass communicational chaos, we can relate to the disorder of communication around the world on all cultural and inter-cultural levels and in all kinds of communication. We see people killing themselves and others in the name of social honour or belief, we see governments occupying countries in the name of freeing them from their dictatorships, we see political leaders declaring their opposition against terrorism and brutality, while selling weapons and artillery to others and conflict areas to reanimate their economies, we see undefined mischievous spring revolutions here and there, we see presidents who live a solo dance on the leadership of so called democracies, and we see powerful world democracies leading war against war after war across the oceans of the globe!

To show the correspondence between the two phenomena -the galactic black hole and that of mass communication- the paper starts with demonstrating the effect of the galactic black hole, within the range of a defined visual lens, which is explained under three distinct insights clarified below:

- The First Vision: This is the tangible inability to see the things that are attracted by the black hole into its eternal abyss for an unknown fate that we know nothing about because of its close proximity to it. The closer an object approaches the event horizon of the black hole (which causes a circular fast movement of the things around it), the higher the object’s temperature rises, and the longer its material expands to a longitudinal shape and spaghetti curve, reaching the disintegration of its elements to an indefinite place and time in space.

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- The Second Vision: This is the medium distance of an object from the black hole, so it tries to attract it inside but it fails to do so. However, it succeeds in pulling some of its light (or its optical energy) by its force of gravity. Thereby it changes the image of the lighting objects position (whether it is a planet, a star, or others) from its original location, and thus the angle of vision of the naked eye changes.

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- The Third Vision: This is represented by an object that is very far from the black hole and it is not able to attract, influence or change its luminous position،so the angle of vision remains fixed and clear to the naked eye.

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To bridge between the two black holes (the tangible galactic black hole and the cognitive mass communicational one), I would like to high light the following idea: lacking an alert consciousness, missing an objective pluralistic piece of mind, and being without comprehensive cognition and behaviour, the masses would be attracted to sources of mass communication systems along with their surplus information, causing intended or unintended chaos. This would eventually result in being lost to the informational chaos of mass media and its propaganda, politicization and ideologization.

This leads to the formation of public opinions based on illusions, such as the Arab Spring revolutions, the restoration of a strong United States despite its rigid electoral system and the illusion of the old European continent versus the revival of Europe. These illusions of we, they or the ego and the other create delusions of contradiction and conflict because of the differences rooted in fear, and in believing in a ‘truth’ and fighting and giving lives for it. This mass communication phenomenon is similar to the experiences of a black hole in space that attracts everything around it only to conceal its matter so that we know nothing about its fate until today.

Based on the analogy above, it would be interesting to give mass media systems the name of: the mass communicational black hole. It enhances information and publishes it in every place to attract attention towards itself by its strong magnetic gravity. Masses attracted to it are then lost in the surplus information presented through mass media channels (some of which are close to reality and some far from it). This leads the public opinions to get lost in an information chaos that is observed in an intermittent clash of cultural and inter-cultural behaviours in societies and between them around the world today.

For further insight and clarification, let’s take a lookat the following two figures:

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This figure shows how the mass communication source (at the centre) broadcasts and disseminates media messages through means of mass media channels to prompt public opinion, with the aim of attracting the masses and pulling them into the chaos of perspectives, attitudes, and cultural behaviours.

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This figure shows how mass communication channels attract public opinions, through spreading out various and infinite messages, and it shows how they circulate the information to the masses. people around the world assimilate with this information and sink into a huge amount of data and means, getting lost in chaos and ambiguity. As a result, this undermines the mass medias’ credibility, leading to chaos of perception, behaviours, self-contradictions, and cultural and inter-cultural discrepancies.

Therefore, the black hole of communication is similar to the black hole of the galaxy, in terms of its mechanism and functions. The black hole of communication -and its connection to reality- plays the same role of the galactic black hole -in terms of its relation to its surroundings in space- by attracting the public opinions, and by influencing the horizon of its informational credibility.

The informational priority filling the spaces of the different mass media channels, is to be decided by the extent of attention mass communication systems give to reality and its events. The Interest of mass communication systems usually goes to political, economic and social factors imposed on them, that direct their selectivity to information research. This means that these communicative information systems can hide information (as it happens in the first vision of the black hole in space) so that they do not share information with the world, and nothing is known about such information or its existence at all.

Mass communication systems can provide, disseminate, and share information with the masses, but in a way that carries symbolic alterations, or is manipulated away from the original version of reality. This is where a certain chaos erupts in the masses vision of reality causing a lack of clarity as explained in the second vision of the black hole in space.

Furthermore, mass communication systems can try to present a comprehensive and balanced picture of reality -although this rarely happens- and so it attempts to present an objective, pluralistic, democratic, and reliable picture of reality. This produces a clear and organized formation of public opinion, giving the masses an opportunity for constructive thinking and participation in public life, similar to the third vision of the black hole in space.

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Finally, to avoid getting lost in the chaos of the mass communicational black hole, this article calls on societies to take human nature into consideration, by realizing that all humans are similar in nature and that they have common instincts of action and reaction towards their natural environments. From here, societies may loosen up and give up on their egoism, racism, neurosis and arrogance towards each other, and they may reach the wise consciousness of considering inter-cultural differences, accepting and respecting them as they are, without disappointment!

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The Importance of Inter-Cultural Dialogue in the World

The desire to explore the universe and its interconnected existence surrounding humans is an inherent nature in us. This innate inclination towards discovering the humans surroundings is sometimes negative and sometimes, positive. Based on what is mentioned above, we take note of what has been documented for us by cultural and inter-cultural history to this day. In that, there has always been an instinctive inclination in humans for domination, control, expansion of sovereignty, and securing influence and power.

Examples include:

- The European invasion of America and Canada, and their ethnic cleansing of Native Americans.
- European invasion of Australia and its ethnic cleansing of the Aborigines.
- South Africas Apartheid phenomenon.
- Different forms of imperialism and colonialism between ‘East’ and ‘West’ and beyond.
- ‘Western’ and ‘Eastern’ marginalization (political bullying) of vulnerable peoples and minorities around the world.

Thus, it can be said that there is a dual nature to humankind, evil and benevolent, represented by the ability to use the mind to direct instinct and feelings and to create the aesthetics of life, through culture and the application of natural aesthetics inherent in it.Given that most societies suffer from violence and racism, human beings are still able to direct their behaviours and responses, accordingly, thereby distinguishing themselves from animals and inanimate objects. In other words, human societies can develop morally by applying reason and logic, in addition to the innate benevolent nature of humankind when interacting with reality. This helps to develop a society through a constructive form and content, and this realization can then be shared with other societies. Consequently, mass media communication systems can share this constructive realization with their public opinions as a mirror of their societies. And building on that, it is possible to create positive dialogue in cultures and between them.

When observing reality, the current intercultural situation between ‘East’ and ‘West’ can be seen from two perspectives:

First: the perspective of the worlds controlling parties, who have global political, international, military and economic powers. For them, the current global situation is not considered surprising or shocking. It is from this perspective that the global plan is considered continuous, as it has been planned since the beginning of colonialism in the ‘East’. This is the perspective of the colonizer in the modern and post-modern Arab world since the fall of the Ottoman Empire.

Second: the perspective of people and societies who are busy working and securing their lives, sustaining themselves through, each in light of what the surrounding conditions offer them. The present Arab public opinion does not have a structure that is cognitively prepared and organized to be culturally qualified (educationally, morally, politically, economically, etc.). It lacks the ability to build a coherent strong-willed community with a clear identity that is capable of self-sustaining, developing and maintaining an authentic identity at the same time.

Happenings in the modern Arab world today are planned since the beginning of colonialism and its projects in the Arab world. What happens on the margins of this master plan reflects the reactions of Arab societies and their public opinion. The public opinion of these societies is chaotic and weak and does not have the elements of modern society with its solid cultural foundations. This is because Arab societies have not preserved a well-established cultural identity, and were not given an opportunity (with the deliberate colonial circumstances which were enforced by specialized accurate strategies), to maintain and develop cultural identity and keep pace with the global developments in their pluralistic and constructive perspectives. Nevertheless, we should take the importance of the human minority (at the level of individuals, groups and institutions) in societies around the world into consideration, because it stems from authentic dialogue between cultures. I believe that this intercultural minority is the foundation from which the world can seek to transform conflict into a dialogue between cultures.

Within the framework of these two perspectives, the world moves and interacts between the vision of the controller and the vision of the controlled. Such interaction takes place within the context of binary oppositions, conflicting sometimes and engaging in dialogue in other times, hoping that the human crises will be challenged by cultural and inter-cultural approaches, leading to the coexistence and the revival of the great aspects of human beings that transfer struggle, violence and injustice into dialogue, peace and equality. This can be achieved by neutralizing cultures through the language of reason and logic that humankind possesses by its nature, and knows well how significant it is, and how to revive it and create its input. We achieve this through wisdom that has been proven by human philosophy and documented by all cultures of the world throughout history .

One aspect of the intercultural status quo between the Arab ‘East’ and the ‘West’ is that the post-modern Arab world has been experiencing a colonial phenomenon since the late collapse of the Ottoman Empire. Todays Arab societies live in manifestations of civilization, development and artificial revival under the supervision of the old colonial policies. And the modern and post-modern ones, are evident. Complementing this impression, Fahmi Jadaan believes that Arab societies should give up the artificial and overstated reality of modern and post-modern (technological eras). In his book, Futuhat Sharidah Li Anwar Arabiyyah Mustadamah, F. Jadaan concludes that the Arab world must build a self-made reality, longed for by generations eager to reach an authentic urbanization. Old and new revolutions -recalled by the Arab spring revolutions- modern Jihadism, peace conferences, agreements, and reform projects, etc., reflect false cultural awakenings that have been prepared, created, and supported by colonialism to achieve the illusion of a globalized Arab recovery in the framework of the modern imperialistic plan and beyond.

Another feature of the present inter-cultural situation is the emergence of two types of terrorism:

- ‘Eastern’ extremist terrorism represented in the politicization of religion, the exploitation of belief, and the use of violence in Gods name. Religious extremism has spread in Arab societies and it is often mixed with and impacted by social norms, political systems, and rulers.

We see the phenomena of instrumentalizing religion, through the emergence of unknown extremist movements around the world that distort Islam and its principles towards promoting terrorism

- Right-Wing ‘Western’ political terrorism which is represented in racial discrimination, racial cleansing, ethnic superiority, stereotypes and prejudices, the use of violence and oppression in the name of ‘western’ tendencies, and sometimes even in the name of democracy.

Another feature is the transformation of the ‘West’ (led by the right wing of the United States and Europe) -against intercultural opportunities- its opponent -in the equilibrium of dualistic antagonism- into the Arab and Muslim world after the fall of the Communist regime in the Soviet Union. The ‘western’ rivalry against the Arab world and Islam has evolved and the ‘western’ efforts have revealed the political ‘western’ approach to the Arab and Islamic world. Such an approach is consistent with the global policies of the ‘West’ in expanding its geographical and cultural influence around the world, without the presence of those who disagree with it, differ from it, distinguish themselves from or compete with it, because the ‘western’ mind set suggests that this method is the best way to secure and maintain existence and domination.

On the side lines of the policies of the ‘West’, which controls its societies and the Arab world and others, and on the side lines of its competition with other great powers surrounding it, we witness many cultural and intercultural experiences, agreements, deals, events, actions and reactions from governments, people and media. All this happens in the context of the Hegelian antigenic equation and the interpretation of this equation by theorists, rulers and directors of the ‘East’ and the ‘West’. Based on what was previously mentioned, the ‘western’ public attention is caught (without necessarily being of its concern) and the Arab public opinions mind is occupied with issues such as:

- The phenomenon of revitalizing the Asian-Chinese silk roads and its environs.
- The policies of the United States in the Arab region and the world, especially after Donald Trump received the presidency of this great country.
- The American-Israeli-and (hesitant)-European deal of the century.
- The progress of enforced normalization relations between the Arab world and Israel, at all cultural levels (particularly geopolitical and economic).
- The Yellow vest movement in France followed by several similar colour movements (green in Argentina, yellow in Hong Kong, red in Thailand, orange in Myanmar, etc.) which spread to some European, Asian and Arab countries, and turned from protests for human rights into chaotic demonstrations, often in which morals were used to achieve violence and terrorism.
- The BREXIT crisis between the UK and Europe.
- The geo-political and social changes taking place in the Arab Gulf region.
- The old and current Palestinian question.
- Sectarian conflicts, civil wars and post-modern colonies taking place from the ocean to the Gulf.
- We also have the Arab, regional and border wars, which originated in the ‘West’ under the supervision of the globalized world.
- Furthermore, the tribal Arab culture caused an overwhelming response in Arab political, economic and social events which in turn affected Arab societies in different ways and was eventually considered the cause of destruction and construction, war and peace, disruption and reformation, stagnation and development and enforcing law and chaos.
- Finally, yet importantly, the crisis of the (COVID-19) Coronavirus that has caused global economic chaos, international confusion between countries and within humanity and its existential wellness (at the physical, social and psychological levels) putting an end to the revival of the economic recession.
- Then comes the death of George Floyd, which sparked protests and opened the wounds of the past and present oppression in societies around the world.

Adding to all this, is the rapid and radical development of technological communication within and between societies across the World Wide Web. The content of communication has been changed with its meanings, expressions, methods, forms, goals, pathways, effects, and consequences on individual and collective levels of awareness within and between cultures. Since years, we have entered the era of post-modern communicative technology and the means of technological communication has exceeded time, place, and even the information itself; so that the information between societies around the world has reached the phase when information is transmitted without being bound by a specific time, a certain place, distance or perspective. In the post-modern era of media and social media, systems operate regardless of the contents and their meaning they circulate at the individual, collective and public levels.

The positive side here lies in opening horizons of media around the world wide communication, with freedom and flexibility, so that the global public opinion has the opportunity to get to know itself and the other, and to introduce itself from the different perspectives of cultural and inter-cultural views in the world. This in turn leads to creating awareness, broadening the horizons of dialogue and understanding on one hand, and it creates and intensifies differences of opinion and conflict on the other hand. The doors of communication are open; yet restrictions are raised -by the greater world powers- in one form or another.

Another positive side of post-modern technology is that individuals (and consequently public opinions) can become independent sources of mass media -themselves-, in gathering and disseminating all kinds of information. In this age of surplus information, where news and opinions are spread through various means of mass communication and technology, individuals can choose information from all available sources via the world wide web and its means on all levels of communication and through all its kinds -taking the extent of freedom available in different countries into consideration-. In addition to the freedom of opinion, the individuals have the freedom to share the information they want with the world without limitations. Consequently, societies and public opinions are active, informative, and effective around the world, and all have weight and impact on communication, and in building cultural awareness and perceptions of reality and the world.

Global societies’ interaction with the evolution of human communication and social-technological communication aroused controversybetween an opposing minority and a supporting majority that has gone to a degree of deviation behind its current means, sometimes becoming an addiction. Its services are useful and harmful according to the consciousness and manner of interaction of technology users. Here, the importance of cultural awareness in societies has to be emphasised, to raise a conscious usage of sources of social and technological media, consequently to embrace contents, meanings, and signs of information in a balanced way and to interact with them wisely. This is what current societies lack when communicating within their own cultures and with other cultures in the march of civilization.

Hope continues to be an ambition of the optimists, for the Arab and ‘western’ cultures to rise and reach a state of civilization in their coexistence. The ‘western’ world, according to Fahmi Jadaan (in Futuhat Sharidah Li Anwar Arabiyyah Mustadamah), is evolving towards a continuous material and scientific direction, but it lacks a moral, humanistic and ethical cultural urbanization. As for the Arab culture, it lives in an overwhelming situation that lacks the elements of civilizational and cultural development, both material and moral, on most levels. Its current lack of developmental variables relieves the cultural crisis that prevents it from flourishing and reaching a state of civilization (1). This does not mean that the path of humanitarianism between the Arab world and the ‘West’ is blocked. Building on the perception that humanity lives in continuous movement through evolution, Its only way to reach a peaceful coexistence in the present time is to aim to cultivation through philosophy and wisdom by raising and educating generations in societies towards enlightenment around the world. With enlightenment and knowledge, societies can broaden the horizons of cognitive abilities to realize that reality is based on the naturalness and diversity of cultural structures and perspectives from around the world. In addition, it becomes possible for societies to elevate upon their cultural frameworks, embracing them while preserving self-identity, and through knowing other cultures in authenticity, and ultimately by freeing themselves from the stereotyped, prejudiced and ideologized forms presented through global media.

It is important here, to address the significance of paying attention to three variables of communication that takes place in every spoken, written an illustrated impression and expression in the sphere of cultures and between them. The content (or subject), the meaning, and the sign appear combined in every reference (of letters, words, sentences, images or language of the body, etc.). Every physical and cognitive expression (sign) carries within it a content (proposition), and every content carries meanings that are given to it by individuals (senders and recipients) referring to their cultural symbolisms.

The tangible and cognitive elements interact within each person (and thus within society) to form the expressions of cultures and what they include of axioms, convictions, and perspectives towards themselves and other cultures.

It is rather important to consider that: communication in and between cultures, carries messages that can correspond in their contents and issues but differ in the meanings their expressions bear. Our lack of attention to this relationship between expression and meaning, between the tangible and the cognition, and between the obvious and the hidden leads to a cultural and inter-cultural misunderstanding around the world, resulting in inter-cultural conflicts.

Realizing the intertwined links between the content, sign, and meaning of a message helps us to understand the relationship between reality, images, and perceptions that societies adopt, forming their cultural intellectual maxims that represent the axioms or ‘truths’ in their visions. Here, we can say that the issue of ‘truth’ (in this sense) is perplexing, and we cannot define it in one term or through a single point of view. Axiom can be seen, firstly, from the perspective of its society according to its geographical and climatic location on the globe, and secondly in reference to its surrounding cultural environment. The society’s surrounding cognitive system is the basis of its intellectual and behavioural actions and reactions creating and building its symbolisms in the different aspects of culture. On this basis, we can conclude that the awareness of ‘truth’ and axiom varies and differs from one person to another, and thus between one society and another.

By going through this experience, inter-cultural attentions become awakened to interact with their cognitive structures and to perceive others with objective awareness, clarity, and wisdom. Global public opinions and societies can exceed the interpretations of the dualistic oppositional dialectic between the Hegelian thesis and anti-thesis (that leads to a synthesis), reaching a new standpoint of the dialectic described as an anti-anti-thesis. This perspective evolves to transcend the antagonistic duality, by realizing the naturality of difference between axioms -according to their enforced natural environments and to the created symbolic ones- consequently embracing all different cultural and inter-cultural appearances of the world.

Understanding the naturality of the difference between axioms would create flexibility in thinking, which helps in motioning of absolutes and in widening the horizons of closed cultural frameworks reaching authentic dialogue. Consequently, this could be considered as an enrichment for societies and is a flourishing way to preserve their existence and sustain their co-existential continuity.

Footnotes:

(1) Fahmi Jadaan, Futuhat Sharidah Li Anwar Arabiyyah Mustadamah,Amman- Al Ahliyyah for publishing and distribution, 2019, p 43.

References:

-جدعان، رزان: التواصل بين-الثقافي/الواقع. الحقيقة. الصورة.، عمان. المؤسسة العربية للدراسات والنشر.٢٠٢٠.

- Jadaan, Razan: Al Tawasul Bain-Al Thaqafi/.AL Waqi. Al Haqiqa. Al Surah. Amman. Al Mu’assasah Al Arabiyyah lil Dirasat Wa Al Nasher. 2020 .

-جدعان، فهمي: فتوحات شاردة لأنوار عربية مستدامة، عمان، دار الأهلية للنشر والتوزيع، ٢٠١٩.

- Fahmi Jadaan, Futuhat Sharidah Li Anwar Arabiyyah Mustadamah ,Amman- Al Ahliyyah for publishing and distribution, 2019

Translation of the Arabic References:

- Jadaan, Razan: Inter-Cultural Communication, Reality. Axiom. Image. /Amman. Arab institute for research and publishing. 2020.
- Jadaan, Fahmi: Stray Conquests Towards Viable Arab Glories. Amman. Al Ahliyyah for publishing and distribution. 2019.

[...]

31 of 31 pages

Details

Title
Inter-Cultural Communication: Reality, Axiom, Image
Subtitle
Public Opinion, Mass Media and Dialogue between Orientalism, Occidentalism and Globalization
Course
Inter-Cultural Communication and Mass Media
Author
Year
2020
Pages
31
Catalog Number
V917468
Language
English
Tags
-, Intercultural Communication, culture, communication, Reality, Image, Axiom, dialogue, mass media, public opinion, orientalism, occidentalism, globalization, black hole, galactic black hole, mass communicational black hole, elevation upon cultural frames concept, truisms, anti-thesis, anti-anti-thesis, dialectic
Quote paper
PhD/ Dr. Razan Jadaan (Author), 2020, Inter-Cultural Communication: Reality, Axiom, Image, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/917468

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