Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Failures to Communicate

Deference is to obedience as reference is to understanding. To defer, that is, is not exactly to obey, but it may nonetheless display an "understanding" of the power implicit in a situation. Likewise, a mere reference to something does not demonstrate any depth of understanding, but it may display a rudimentary grasp of what is known.

What is interesting here, in fact, is how an incorrect reference may demonstrate a lack of understanding quite unequivocally. Likewise, failing to defer to power (or deferring to the wrong the person) can constitute an unequivocal act of disobedience.

That famous line from Cool Hand Luke, "What we have here is a failure to communicate," nicely captures the homology of misunderstanding and disobedience.

1 comment:

Doug said...

I'm thinking of a less famous line when a joker tells a german cop to 'think about the future'