In the study of language, it has been recognized that words used to convey sensory perceptions, feelings, and emotions carry no meaning of themselves. They can trigger feelings or sensations that the listener has experienced -- not more than that. We know that the perception of color varies with light, background, and distance. What is green seen by a color-blind person? Which is the "real" color? Are we not, in asking that question, implying that color exists independent of the observer?
Similarly, when we characterize an individual or a social behavior as "good" or "bad", we are communicating the contention that this evaluation is absolute, objective, and unchanging. Yet it should be apparent that varying observers would present disparate evaluations. We may, then, attempt to win agreement by describing the behavior in question, offering criteria on which judgment was based, indicating that these criteria are personal. This communication style, the semanticist holds, will help bridge the gap between individuals and make it more likely that people will understand each other.
Students of language have experimented with the use of nonsymbolic language as a means of overcoming linguistic barriers. The language of sounds, as in the cases of infants and animals, and the language of facial expression and body pose, have been termed "phatic communion" by Bronislaw Malinowski. We all know people who have good "poker faces." We also know some whose faces communicate -- sometimes contradicting their spoken sentiments. Kyrsybski has pointed out that signal reactions, instantaneous and unmediated, if undifferentiated according to the appropriateness of the situation, reflect immature, impulsive personalities, while the development of the ability to delay response will permit modified, thoughtful symbol behavior, a characteristic of the mature person.
1. The statement that shows the best understanding of the first two sentences of the passage is
(A) color blind people are not good judges of paintings
(B) bring me a champagne-colored blouse that matches this swatch
(C) the perception of color varies with light
(D) modern music is not as good as baroque music