Nonverbal Communication

Non-communication can be a realm of ambiguity (Poyatos, 125). Words themselves have a meaning, but the boundaries that separate non-verbal syntax is more complex (Mehrabian, 102). Still, it can also be deeper and purer than language. Where does the line between language and non-language exist? Is a uniform or a symbol on a piece of paper a form of language? Is any and every movement of the body non-language? The field in some sense is wide open—in some cases to abuse of definition. In the course of my project, I would like to examine this delineation further.
One subject worthy of further examination within this category are kinetic movements. Much of our social lives depend not on the words we speak, but on the body language, we use accompany such language. The shared gaze, the pat on the back, the smile, the averted gaze—all of these modes of communication can be used to emphasize language or, indeed, to strictly contradict it. Eye contact alone can mean so many different things, for example, that it is hard to categorize it alone as one of the many sub-categories of non-verbal communication.
But the body is not the only way to communicate without using words. Is music a form of non-verbal communication. Some may claim it is a language—as it does have a kind of syntax—but it can definitely be non-verbal. So much can be said in music that cannot be said in words. Indeed, those men and women who become world-famous musicians have a special place in our hearts and in our culture. They “speak” to us in a way other artists do not. Where does music’s almost unique power to communicate deep emotions come from? Why is it present across all cultures and all times? The answers to these questions seem key to unlocking the power of non-verbal communication.
The methodology I intend to use for this project will involve primary and secondary sources. I would also like to conduct interviews with hearing and speech impaired individuals to gain their perspective. I believe that too many research projects these days focus on purely theoretical issues: I would like mine to be much more grounded in reality and practical experience. It is important to get out there and beat the pavement on the hunt for argument, evidence, and facts. The argument and theme of the thesis—nothing less than the security of the United States—demands it.