Practical Definitions: Voluntary Communication (by Darrell Becker)

These are terms used in the previous T&H presentation mentioned above, which are instrumental in building and using one's own “Lenses” which can help to focus reality.

100% Responsibility: The state wherein an individual chooses to be able to respond to all internal and external events (response – ability). This is the opposite of Denial of Responsibility (see 4D's).

4D's (of Disconnected Communication, or Life-Alienating Communication):
(see Demands, (Unrequested) Diagnoses, Deserve-Oriented Language, Denial of Responsibility).

Abundance Perspective:
The perspective of the individual wherein there is an acknowledging of a wide variety of choices which can be applied within many venues and situations, this is an “And/Also” perspective and is the opposite of the Scarcity Perspective. The Abundance Perspective is large enough to contain the knowledge, understanding and acceptance of other individual's choice to use the Scarcity Perspective. It is hoped that there is a an effective system of mutually known, understood, established and functional boundaries, to help produce greater mutual respect of all interacting individuals and their particular choices. (Also see Scarcity Perspective.)

Boundaries: Internally, these are the explicitly known and understood preferences and common choices of logical methodology and frequently-employed strategies and actions. Externally, boundaries are explicitly and mutually known and understood manifestations of “cause and effect”, which serve to provide enhanced aspects of understanding and respect between individuals, by virtue of people finding easier and more effective ways of preserving all respective individual's volition and autonomy, while helping to make the “dance” between individuals more graceful and mutually agreeable.

“Bridge of Empathy”: A metaphor for a connection of mutual knowledge and understanding of the Feelings and “Needs” (Motivating Factors) of all communicating individuals, subjectively measurable by virtue of apparent signs of caring and respect.

Contextual Circle:
The contextual events (set and setting) occurring during the process of a Rhetorical Triangle analysis of events.

Demands: Commands that are given, usually with a “carrot/stick” attached consequence. (You will do this now, or else!)

Denial of Responsibility:
Abdication of an individual in being able to respond to a given situation, usually represented as a cognitive and emotional disconnection within an individual. There are many occasions where there is an active or passive denial (by an individual) of the evidence that shows a cause/effect relationship between the choices of an individual and the effects of those choices. (You made me loose control, so it's your fault that I ______ ).

Deserve-Oriented Language
: Similar refusal or abdication (as with Denial of Responsibility) of an individual being able to respond to a given situation, usually represented as a cognitive and emotional disconnection within an individual. Punishments and rewards are often referred to while using Deserve-Oriented Language. (You/I deserve to …., You/I don't deserve …).

Diagnoses (that are Unrequested): Labels, adjectives, and comparisons which are used as attempts to place an individual within a generalized evaluation. These are often forms of the “Hasty Generalization Fallacy” (see [Informal] Fallacies). (You are a ____ kind of person, etc.)

“Eighteen-Wheeler's of Logic”:
A metaphor for all of the evidence and logic that can be delivered across the metaphorical “Bridge of Empathy”, this “truck” contains a manifest of all available grammatical and logical inventory, which is voluntarily driven from one individual to another. What is unloaded from this truck is voluntary.

Empathetic Lens: A method of focusing information and practical applications related to internal and external empathetic knowledge and understanding. Voluntary Communication (i.e. Non-Violent Communication, or NVC) is an example of an Empathetic Lens, as is Unconditional Positive Regard, as codified by Carl Rogers.

Empathy: For the purpose of crafting the following intellectual and empathetic “lenses”, this word refers to the knowledge and understanding, as well as the practical applications of the knowledge and understanding, of the relevant feelings and the motivating factors (known to cause all relevant feelings) within the individual and within all of the people communicating with a particular individual.

Emotional Equilibrium/Intellectual Equilibrium:
The feeling of intellectual and emotional harmony that seems to denote an adequate level of internal balance and harmony (as designated by the individual).

Enemy Imagery: The use of unrequested Diagnoses (see 4D's) to create an Us/Them division between individuals, or within an individual.

Fallacies: This refers to the list of the informal logical fallacies, which are used as warning flags to isolate potential inconsistencies in the processes of understanding and decision-making (see Logic).

Feelings: Emotions within an individual, which are often correlated with the observations taken in by a person, as well as being correlated with the adequate or inadequate strategies that are designed to fulfill an individual's values, desires and needs (see “Needs”).

Grammar: A substantial answering of the questions “Who, What, Where, and When”, this corresponds roughly to knowledge, data, evidence that a video camera would take in. This is analogous to the computing concept of “Input”. It corresponds to Observations and “Requests” (Actions) which are tangible and measurable.

Grammar-Scan: An internal method of “flagging” specific words, due to concerns or observations. For example, first-person plural pronouns could trigger concerns as to perspectives that might be at odds with the respect of individual preference. (For example, “We are over there in Iraq, with our troops, fighting for our freedom, fighting them to keep our way of life.” The use of “we, our, them” possibly being defined differently by each communicating individual. Abstract concepts (the State, the Common Good, “the people”) might also be flagged for gaining clarity as to the objective of using each abstraction. Etymology is used to help know and understand the history of various words, to see word usages through various temporal and spacial perspectives. See: .

Intellectual Lens: A method of focusing intellectual information, such as the use of the Trivium method of critical thinking.

(The) Language of Choice: The use of words to describe (or make understandable, to one's self or to to others) an enhanced perspective of abundant possibilities, choices and internal/external evidence of respect and understanding. The Trivium method of critical thinking used in conjunction with NVC allows for this language to both understood and spoken. Examples of the Language of Choice: “Prefer to, (shall) choose to, decide to, individually preferable/less preferable, intrinsically generated respect of individual choices (as opposed to extrinsically generated “respect” that is created from fear of punishments or desire for rewards), external/internal “cause & effect” known and used for decision-making processes.

(The) Language of Obligation: The use of words to imply or explicitly state a message using the 4D’s of Disconnection (Demands, [unrequested] Diagnoses, Deserve-Oriented Language, Denial of Responsibility) toward one’s self or toward another individual, for the known or unknown purpose of creating extrinsic (or externally motivated) events or actions (such as threats of punishments or promises of rewards) which result in strategies often creating (perceived) “winners” and “losers”. Examples of the Language of Obligation: Should, Must/Need to, Ought to, Right (moral)/Wrong (immoral), Extrinsically created “Rights”, Either/Or (Debate), Scarcity Perspective, Win/Lose or Lose/Lose Engineering, Extrinsic Motivations, Punishments/Rewards received/given, Coercive Situations.

Logic: Answering the question of “Why?”, this is also known as “non-contradictory identification” (removal or isolation of contradictory definitions or identifications), and this is known as understanding. This is analogous to the computing concept of “Processing”. Logic includes (but is not limited to) the explicit use of the 42 – 200 separate informal logical fallacies (see Fallacies).
(see: , )

Logic-scan: An internal method of “flagging” statements that are potentially inconsistent with evidence, statements that seem to be embodiments of any of the informal logical fallacies, as well as noting any concerns or observations upon the evaluation methods of decision-making processes of each communicating individual. Using Logic-scan on one's self, motives are laid bare and methods of grammar, logic and rhetoric become explicit. Using Logic-scan to view other individuals who are communicating with us, we can see possibilities of their choice of logical decision-making process, for the purpose of communicating clearly with respect toward each individual's choice of logical process.

“Needs” (Motivating Factors): These are the values, desires and physiological needs which correlate to specific emotions being experienced by an individual.

NVC: Non-Violent Communication, a method of using OFNR and the 4D's, applied internally and externally, for the purpose of creating effective “Bridges of Empathy”. Designed by Marshall Rosenberg (who was a student of Carl Rogers) in 1972, the OFNR model was existent since at least 1992 (see Empathetic Lens).

Observations: The observable and recordable data (see Grammar) as a video camera would take in.

OFNR: Observations, Feelings, “Needs” (Motivating Factors), “Requests” (Actions).

“Requests” (Actions): These are the tangible actions, verbal requests or potential plans made by an individual used for the purpose of achieving specific goals oriented to fulfill specific motivating factors such as values, desires and needs.

Rhetoric: Answers “How?”, this is analogous to “Processing” in computer terms, and this includes the “active literacies” of writing and speaking. Rhetoric refers to the practical applications of Grammar and Logic, and this includes (but is not limited to) the use of the Rhetorical Triangle. This is also known as “Wisdom”, as long as the applications (of the rhetoric) are practical and achieve a desired (and/or predicted) result.

Rhetorical Triangle: This is an explicit use of the knowledge and understanding of all the relevant factors (including internal and external applications of the OFNR and the 4D's) impacting the Author of a Message and the Audience who receives the Message. Surrounding the Rhetorical Triangle is the circle called Context (see Contextual Circle).

Scarcity Perspective: This is the perspective an individual takes wherein a limited number of options are considered to exist, also known as an “Either/Or” perspective. This is the opposite of the Abundance Perspective, and individuals who use this method often deny the Abundance Perspective as having relevance or applicability to various circumstances. This might also correlate to the informal logical fallacy known as the “False Dichotomy”.

Spheres of Influence: A metaphorically and subjectively measured series of influences of an individual upon other individuals, measured in concentric spheres of increasing distance from a person. Often the further the Sphere of Influence is from the individual the weaker the influence appears to be. (For example, for an individual's effects within one's family, the sphere of influence are usually considerably stronger than for an individual' effects amongst a wider population.)

“Splinters of the Mind”: A metaphor for the intellectual obstacles to forming objectively and empirically predictable results by virtue of using Logical Fallacies (see Fallacies), or the empathetic obstacles to forming objectively and empirically predictable results, such as the choice to use the 4D's of Disconnected Communication.

Trivium method:
The use of Grammar, Logic and Rhetoric. These are the “Qualitative Arts”, and they compose the first 3 of the 7 Liberal (or “Liberating”) Arts. This corresponds to the computing idea of “Input, Processing, Output”.
The next 4 Arts (learned in the following sequence, and which complete the series of 7) are known as the Quadrivium, which are the “Quantitative Arts”, consisting of Mathematics (numbers in the abstract), Geometry (numbers in space or 3 dimensions), Music (numbers in time, or frequencies) and Astronomy (numbers in space and time).

“What's alive in you?”: An NVC phrase roughly translated as: “What are you feeling right now, and what are the internal motivating factors (see the Needs-inventory) that are seemingly creating those feelings?” (“Our training in Nonviolent Communication helps participates gain skill in expressing two things: (1) what’s alive in you right now, and (2) what would make life more wonderful. You learn how to say just that without any criticism or demand. Just say what’s alive in you, how you are in other words, and what would make life wonderful. And no matter what other people say, hear only what’s alive in them and what would make life wonderful.” - Excerpted from an edited interview with Dr. Marshall Rosenberg, founder and director of educational services for the Center for Nonviolent Communication. The interview was conducted by Michael Mendizza of Touch the Future Productions in April, 2000.)