Our discussion has led us to conclude that, biologically, there is no “transmitted information” in communication. Communication takes place each time there is behaivioral coupling in a realm of structural coupling.
This conclusion is surprising only if we insist on not questioning the latest metaphor for communication which has become popular with the so-called communication media. According to this metaphor of the tube, communication is something generated at a certain point. It is carried by a conduit (or tube) and is delivered to the receiver at the other end. hence, there is a something that is communicated, and what is communicated is an integral part of that which travels in the tube. Thus, we usually speak of the “information” contained in a picture, an object or, more evidently, the printed word.
According to our analysis, this metaphor is basically false. It presupposes a unity that is not determined structurally, where interactions are instructive, as though what happens to a system in an interaction is not determined by the perturbing agent and not by its structural dynamics. It is evident, however, in daily life, that such is not the case with communication: each person says what he says or hears what he hears according to his own structural determination;** saying does not ensure listening. From the perspective of an observer, there is always ambiguity in a communicative interaction. The phenomenon of communication depends on not what is transmitted, but on what happens to the person who receives it.** And this is a very different matter from “transmitting information.”
So that’s all a bit of a mouthful, but its an important aspect of communication—it’s not the creation or production of something_, it’s the making of an _affect or_ inducing an action_ upon someone.
[Bakhtin explores] the idea that language is indeed ambiguous, but whereas deconstruction would highlight this ambiguity as the inability of words to convey precise meaning, Bakhtin welcomes this vagueness of language as a means by which to create meaning dialogically.
This is a very positive and optimistic statement of embracing dialogue as the means to overcoming the biological and structural limits of our individualism. And which, you can probably assume, I strongly agree with.