Contextual Clues

“It is impossible to say just what I mean!”  But that doesn’t halt the attempt to express meaning and that doesn’t limit the expressions to a singular meaning without the capability of multiple interpretations.

So we find that some lines snipped from T.S. Eliot’s East Coker (Four Quartets) perfectly define the frustrations in the attempt to bring electronic media to the regions devoid of independent radio and television. I will admit to the trimming of some of this verse so as to detach the references that would make the reader view the lines as a description of writing poetry instead of the sorting through of the political and sociological  intricacies of bringing new media to places where there is lack.

The commonly held belief among those that bring media to give voice to local communities is that this will necessarily be something positive; that being able to articulate emotions and desires will have a beneficial outcome. This belief is certainly expressed in these lines.

It is assumed that expression through the new medium will yield social benefits. It is expected that given the technical capability of communicating there is something of cultural value that is worthy of communication.

These assumptions and expectations are merely axioms and cannot be questioned. They provide the foundation which allows us to bring electronic media to where it is lacking and feel we are doing good.

Eliot’s verse serves to examine these beliefs and assumptions.

– – – –

And so each venture
Is a new beginning, a raid on the inarticulate
With shabby equipment always deteriorating
In the general mess of imprecision of feeling,
Undisciplined squads of emotion. And what there is to conquer
By strength and submission, has already been discovered
Once or twice, or several times, by men whom one cannot hope
To emulate — but there is no competition –
There is only the fight to recover what has been lost
And found and lost again and again: and now, under conditions
That seem unpropitious. But perhaps neither gain nor loss.
For us, there is only the trying. The rest is not our business.


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