i was thinking last night about Niklas Luhmann’s “Social Systems,” which I just slogged through. An incredible book, but very very dense. He defines communication in part by the fact that any communication can be accepted or rejected. Which of course is consistent with communication theories and makes sense. But last night I was thinking about the fact that it’s easier to say no than to say yes. A no cuts off interaction. A yes, on the other hand, indicates agreement on what’s said; to some degree, acceptance of (agreement with) what’s said; and agreement to continue (interacting).

When you think about the number of conflicts on the planet today, and you think about the fact that it’s so much easier to say “no” than to engage in the long and untidy struggle that would be required to work things out cooperatively, it’s no wonder that we’re not getting along.

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