One particular portion of this paper that grabbed me was the discussion of communication, specifically of its two forms. Interactive communication, a communication in which two or more individuals can actively participate, either in a physical space, such as standing next to each other, or a virtual space, such as over a telephone, and mass media, a form of communication that is a one-way street, communicating an idea to someone with no way for them to participate in the discussion, with television and movies being an example of this.

Interactive communication is very healthy; opening a dialogue with another individual can expose you to new ideas and thoughts. Non-interactive communication, while not necessarily inherently bad, is misleading, because what we interpret, consciously or subconsciously, as communication is not communication at all, but merely the illusion of communication. When we see a certain figure on our TV time and time again, and they speak to us as if we’re family, and we get to ‘know’ them, we form a bond with them, but that bond is an entirely artificial construct.

Even video games, the most ‘interactive’ of these mediums is, by and large, not truly interactive. The player is elevated to a position in which it appears they have agency over the course of the game and the world they’re inhabiting, but are only interacting with a pre-defined arrangement of systems purposefully designed as interaction simulacrums. It is only an illusion, but feels real, which, according to some, might be the more important part.

As I said, non-interactive communication isn’t inherently bad. We just have to recognize it for what it is; not a dialogue, not a conversation, not an exchange, but a one-way conference of information, oftentimes with an agenda.