One cannot not communicate

Paul Watzlawick has died at the age of 85. I must say Invented Reality: How Do We Know What We Believe We Know? was one of the books that really influenced my scientific (constructivist) thinking. The book basically examines how individual, social, scientific, and ideological “realities” are constructed and suggests that reality is invented rather than discovered.

Naturally this topic is too complex to explain in one blog post…But in case you are wondering what the whole thing is about, here the 5 axioms of Watzlawick’s thinking:

  1. One Cannot Not Communicate
  2. Every communication has a content and relationship aspect such that the latter classifies the former and is therefore a metacommunication.
  3. The nature of a relationship is dependent on the punctuation of the partners communication procedures.
  4. Human communication involves both digital and analog modalities.
  5. Inter-human communication procedures are either symmetric or complementary, depending on whether the relationship of the partners is based on differences or parity.

Here is a more comprehensive overview.


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