This essay is written to throw light on the concept of “Meta Communication” from the Behavioural Science and an effort is made to relate it with the symbol of Lord Buddha at ISME Campus.
A Brief Overview of the concept “Meta Communication”
Bateson (1973) developed the concept of Meta communication. According to him “Human verbal communication can operate and always does operate at many contrasting levels of abstractions. (1) Also in the words of Julius and Barbara Fast “Meta communication is nearly everything we say; it is the hidden meanings behind own words.”(2)
In simple words Meta communication is communication within communication. It is a concept which refers to the connotation and denotation aspect of communication cycle. It is the embedded inference in sentences & words/symbols. The cues, signs, symbols, object can also create Meta communication.
Every Organization has its own signs and symbols. The so called artefacts symbolize certain meaning. For example the Maharaja of AIRINDIA denotes customer service and hospitality. The illustrious example of R.K.Lakshman’s “Gattu- the boy with a paint brush” for ASIAN PAINTS, the cherubic girl with a fringe wearing a polka dotted frock in the “Utterly butterly Delicious AMUL AD; depicts some kind of messages. Every mascot created for a specific event, product or services certainly denotes and connotes different meaning.
In fact Meta communication refers to the submarined meaning of an object.
Lord Buddha as a symbolic representation of Meta Communication:
From Buddha’s eightfold path, we chose the following attributes correlating with ISME’s culture.
· Mindfulness/ awareness
· Clear comprehension
The word “Mindfulness” is synonymous with awareness, inspection, recollection and retention. In Sanskrit it is known as “Samak Smrithi” meaning the reality of things. It is considered to be the antidote to delusion. Connecting dots, at ISME we always had a process of mindfulness in terms of designing the syllabus to the industry needs. Delivering the course in the right perspective and ensuring the Faculty has a duty to introspect and update continuously.
Clear comprehension: Sanskrit term (Sampragnya) meaning a clear understanding of things. According to Buddha the understanding relates to the intricacies of unpredictable life and the eventualities associated with it. At ISME we have imbibed the concept of Sampragnya by understanding the needs of our students. The need analyses of the students are the core concern, we counsel and hand hold them in the right direction. Be it choosing a specialization or for that matter even addressing their personal issues. The grooming is oriented towards the Job-fitment or employability factor. Thus there is a clear comprehension from our side.
Vigilance/heedfulness:Sanskrit term (Apramada) the original meaning refers to paying heed to one’s action. According to Buddha if one is not vigilant to one’s action then it accumulates to the cycle of karma.
At ISME the vigilance or heedfulness is practiced in terms of paying heed to the student’s mental and physical conditions. We keep a track of individual’s behaviour and health related issues through our regular mentoring cycle.
Ardency:Sanskrit term (Atapah) in the words of Buddha ardency refers to the staunch following of dhamma or dharma. With respect to ISME the ardency factor relates to the ardent love, warmth, affection created by the student & faculty. The symbiotic relationship is amazing the students have always been ardent followers of their Teachers.
Attention/ engagement: In Sanskrit term (Manaskarah) meaning keeping the body and mind engaged in spiritual affairs and voiding materialistic pleasures of life. However the metaphor at ISME relates to the engagement of students and the Faculty. Apart from the academics, the students get an opportunity to work on their talent. The club activities have events like Marketing Premier League which helps in building creativity and innovation. The Faculty are engaged on a regular basis of writing, research and consultancy. Thus the attention is towards personal growth and productivity.
Thus Lord Buddha epitomizes meditative stabilization combined with liberating discernment. Thus Buddhism is a spiritual psychological faculty.
In nutshell Lord Buddha denotes and connotes the attributes of “Mindfulness, clear comprehension, vigilance, ardency and attention”
Hence Buddha is used as a source of Meta Communication. We feel there is a connect between- the preaching’s of Lord Buddha and the practices at ISME. Thus this write up captures the essence of Buddhism and the binding thread with the processes at the campus. Hence Lord Buddha is considered to be a source of Meta Communication in the opinion of the author.
Bateson. (1973, pg 150).
Reush & Bateson, 1951, 9.6
12 volumes, Blackwell, 2008