Saturday, January 23, 2010

Knowledge vs. Communication? - is POWER.

Question Of The Day: 'Knowledge is Power' - or is Communication more powerful? How close is the relationship between acts of communication and power?

It is one thing to be knowledgeable and well versed in a specific field, but another level to be able to communicate such knowledge effectively. The power to influence and persuade comes through being able to speak, write and express oneself through some sort of medium eloquently. To be able to articulate ones ideas clearly, in its simplest way possible for all to understand. The key to persuasion is in the details, the simple ones.

Generally, people are more receptive to things that are significant to them that they can relate to - no one likes to be bombarded with incomprehensible jargon or the complexities of things alien to them. Adding a bit of color to the black and white makes things just that much more interesting to capture people's attention - in their hearts and minds. This is when charisma comes into play.

Charisma is something that can be nurtured but most of the time, comes naturally to a select few. Rooted from the Greek word 'kharisma', which literally means 'gift or favored by the divine/Gods'. Charisma is the magnet that draws people in. It is the 'spark' that ignites passion and fervent devotion or loyalty of others. Simply put, it is Prince Charming's kiss that wakes sleeping beauty up from her slumber to bring her back to life.

Many great leaders all have one thing in common - they are all 'blessed' with this ability. Leading not only through example but also through 'charming' the public with their words and being. They have the ability to be detached and attached on a personal level to almost anyone, at the same time. Somewhat of an oxymoron if you may or walking contradictions of detailed-simplicities.

Arguably, one of the most influential writers of all time that embodies such talent is Paulo Coelho (see photo on top). The world renowned Brazilian author of 'The Alchemist'. A book that has sold over 65 million copies worldwide making it one of the most best-selling books in history. Translated into more than 67 languages, the book found its place in the Guiness Book of Records for being the most translated book by a living author. In 2007, Coelho was named a 'messenger of peace' to the United Nations.

His chosen medium - prose. Sometimes philosphical, other times just mere common sense. Paulo Coelho's magic lies in a mystical world of story-telling.

His writing heavily influenced by his background, culture and life experience. He writes about the harsh realities of life, the beautiful mess we all live in. Of the pain, suffering, joy, happiness, chaos and peace we all experience, only to vary in degree and circumstance. But the emotions are all the same in essence. This is how he connects with readers and 'charms' them in with his words. Relating with readers on such a level gives them a sense of affiliation to his stories. Helping them understand themselves better on a deeper level and rationalize their thoughts, fears and emotions. Through his powerful prose, he reaches out and touches many lives, both young and old.

Answer: Without effective communication - the magic of Prince Charming's kiss and some color sprinkled onto the black and white, Knowledge IS Power-less.


Friday, January 15, 2010

| TIME | Haiti's Earthquake Destruction. [Note: Contains Graphic Images]

Haiti's Earthquake Destruction: TIME Exclusive Photographs

'To see IS to believe' and another way to communicate, visually. As an aspiring photojournalist, i believe in the power of photography. A frozen still moment in time has the ability to capture imagination and convey and evoke an array of emotions through the simple use of composition, color and light. Through pure rhetoric and imagination, one is contained within the limits of their minds and comprehension of language. However a photo is a universal language that transcends all boundaries of culture and language.

One might suggest that a photo can also tell a lie through skillful manipulation. However, it can also reveal the raw and harsh realities in its coldest and bloodiest form. Cliches are cliches because they speak the truth and as the cliche goes, 'Pictures speak a thousand words'. As the framed shot stands frozen on its own, it, like all forms of communication, stand the test of one's prejudice and perception as we try to comprehend the context and put meaning to the visual message presented.

In TIME's exclusive photographs of Haiti's Earthquake Destruction, one need not know facts or statistics to understand the extent of damage caused by Mother Nature's wrath. Through this short photo essay which combines gut wrenching and bone chilling photographs with brief sentences on its context, a complete picture and more is given to the audience, all around the world. It is not only a powerful tool but highly effective as well. When tragedy hits our neighbors, one can only imagine the grim reality that comes with it and we can only sympathize so much. To hear on the radio and read in the newspapers of the grief and sadness in a surviving Haitian's eyes versus seeing those eyes through our own affects us very differently. Recognizing pain and suffering versus reading and hearing of it brings a different sense of consciousness to one's being.

The emotions then become more palpable and poignant in our imagination and hearts. When news initially broke of this disaster, the world's attention was still scattered and engaged by the many focused distractions around. However, the world stopped in its tracks when this hair raising photo of a Haitian woman stuck in the rubble reaching out for help was shown.

The shock and disbelief in her eyes in seeing the destruction and death around her, numbs her from her own physical pain and suffering. Within a matter of minutes of the earthquake, just as fast as it came and gone, her life crumbled onto her, losing the little she had to hold on to in a country plagued with suffering and hardship. These photos give us a taste of hell on earth.