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applicationpaper#2 - COMM 3210 Watzlawicks 5 Axioms of...

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COMM 3210 Watzlawick’s 5 Axioms of Communication: The Breakup Relationships are a vital part of our everyday lives that affect and shape who we are. In this paper, I will explain, apply, and critique the interactional cybernetic theory of relationships. Watzlawick et al presented five axioms of communication in order to understand the importance of communication and its effects on interpersonal relationships. Scenes from the movie The Breakup will be applied in order to illustrate the axioms. This analysis of the interactional cybernetic theory of relationships and the five axioms of communication will elucidate why patterns in relationships form, making it nearly impossible to change relationships. Cybernetics, as presented by Norbert Wiener, described human communication as machine like. In addition to the concept of feedback, Wiener’s cybernetic theory focused heavily on the problems that occur within relationships, framing communication problems as “control and system malfunctions” [class notes, 10/16/2007]. Watzlawick et al also viewed relationships as cybernetic systems. “Our main point is that interpersonal systems…may be viewed as feedback loops, since the behavior of each person affects and is affected by the behavior of each other person” [Watzlawick et al., 1967]. This idea is furthered developed by the following five axioms of communication. Watzlawick et al’s first axiom introduces the impossibility of not communicating by addressing the concept of behavior. Behavior is innate in all human beings; it does not hold an opposite, therefore the possibility of one not behaving is unfeasible. As a result, behavior can always be viewed as a form of communication during any interpersonal situation [Watzlawick et al.]. Whether it is verbally or nonverbally expressed, intentional or unintentional, ones behavior will always convey a message in
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any interpersonal situation. The Breakup follows Gary and Brooke, a couple who breakup and face the problem of selling the apartment that they both live in. The impossibility of not communicating can be observed in a scene that contains absolutely no verbal communication. With a smirk on her face, Brooke walks out of the shower unclothed and through the living room where Gary is watching TV. Although she does not say anything to him, Brooke is able to get her message across to Gary by evoking jealousy from him. Gary knows that she is going on a date with another guy and her
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