"Burkha & the Ability to Communicate"
Quotations for consideration:
- "... there is a kind of confusion in your looks which you modesties have not craft enough to colour" - William Shakespeare
- Humans have evolved a keen sense of perception and recognition of facial expressions which provide greater communication ability than just the words. Even an infant recognizes faces and expressions.
- Words can lie but faces can’t.
- Can one deny others the right to equitably assess the varacity of one’s words?
France and some of the other European Countries are banning the use of Burkha. This has led to strong reactions from the Fundamentalist Islamists as allegedly being against their religious tenets and a restriction of their rights to practice their religion as they deem fit. Though it is arguable whether at all the Quran intends for such coverage when it calls only for dressing modestly. Also the definition of modesty varies from time to time, place to place, culture to culture and context. What may be seen as modest on the beach or while participating in sports activities, may not be considered modest at a formal occasion.
However one major aspect, which has nothing to do with religion, of the wearing of the Burkha has escaped due consideration. This is of the effect it has on the ability of people to communicate properly with the Burkha wearer.
In Society, proper and unambiguous communication is essential for good relations and understanding.
Sociological studies have demonstrated beyond dispute that proper and unambiguous communication requires not only clarity in the spoken words, but also in an understanding of the tonal nuances and reading of facial expressions and of the body language. In fact it has been determined that the spoken word and tone conveys only about 35% of the total communication, with the facial expressions, especially around the eyes and mouths, conveying about 60% of the communication and the body language the rest. It is therefore evident that in order to properly understand a communication it is essential that one be not only able to hear the words and the tone that they are spoken in, but also clearly see the expression and body language that accompany such words.
Mr. Paul Ekman (see www.PaulEkman.com) trains people (Diplomats, Judges, Police, Business and other Negotiators, Teachers and other such Officials) to recognize micro expressions, emotional signals that flit across a face in less than a third of a second. Because these emotional signals are spontaneous and made unconsciously, they offer a clue as to how a person actually feels at that moment- despite whatever contrary impression she/he may be trying to project. Lies usually involve this sort of emotional deceptiveness demanding extra cognitive and emotional effort from neural circuitry and are reflected in involuntary micro expressions which can be recognized by the observer even if sub-consciously.
The Burkha or veil, and to an extent even goggles or sun glasses, deny the other person the opportunity to