I recently had a dream that visualised the way that people communicate with each other. There is a note in my phone from 3:45am that says “Language as symbols and shapes that people exchange if you could see dialogue. Families and friends create their own personal symbol language”.
Now, by trying to make a hurried visualisation of the idea, I realise that it is a good way to understand all communication. When people are in-sync – simpatico – their symbols all look the same, they are in harmony. When people are talking at cross purpose and just not getting it, their symbols are completely different and all mixed up. People who speak different languages have completely different symbols. But every now and then, if you understand a couple of French words, or the Japanese way to say Thank You, you will understand one or two symbols in a completely different symbol language.
In my picture, the red crosses could be swear words, the green splodges might be insults. Imagine what a heated argument would look like. What about a rap battle!
If you could actually visualise dialogue in this way, it would help to understand why there is so much miscommunication. In-jokes that are shared by friends are actually the common recognition of a unique symbol that no-one else can interpret.