Guiding Light: Communication

-- Swami Brahmavidananda Saraswati

If one looks at the human being and our closest relative among the monkeys, we find that there is only one gene difference. There are differences in bone and body structure but not too many. Where the differences are huge is in the voice box of the monkey and human being. I think the evolution of the voice box really led to the evolution of the human species so that they could rise to be the dominant species on earth in spite of limited physical abilities.

With the development of the voice – the spoken word and later the written word, ideas could be communicated, past experiences could be shared, new concepts could be developed. These ideas and experiences could be passed on from generation to generation leading to a shared history and culture. With new ideas and concepts, the brain also developed. New ways of thinking, long term memory, and racial memory developed.

All this happened because humans learned to speak. Team building developed. Communities developed. Some of these traits we share with other animals as well. Hunting predators are great at teamwork though it is restricted to a given situation. So too migratory birds show amazing teamwork in the way they handle the challenges of the flight. But, their skills are largely restricted to the situation.

When it comes to human beings because they can communicate with each other, humans have developed teamwork over a range of situations. So, all this evolution to a great extent owes its evolution to the development of the voice box and the development of speech and communications. Communication is the key practically in every situation whether it is knowledge sharing, work, relationships, parenting, romance, or in development work or political leadership.

Even resolving conflict situations, whether a spat between people or a war between nations, it is a breakdown of communication and an attempt at resetting the dialogue. Communication is too broad a topic to be covered in one article or even a few articles but we can certainly look at some fundamental principles, over the next few articles.

(The writer is the founder of Aarsha Vidya Foundation. You can write to him at

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