This section is from the book "Principles Of Sociology With Educational Applications", by Frederick R. Clow. Also available from Amazon: Principles of sociology with educational applications.
The only mind that one can know at first hand is his own. Each mind is in a sense a prisoner within the body, and allowed to speak to others only through the messengers of the body - the lips, the face, the form, and gesture. ... - Betts, Social Principles of Education, p. 171.
But man would not have been able to create the enormous intellectual gap between himself and the other animals if he had not also evolved the disposition of Language. By Language, I here mean our inherited inclination to express and to receive ideas by symbols, i.e., not only by speech and writing, but also by drawing and significant gestures. - Wallas, The Great Society, p. 51.
. . . Our secret thoughts are no exception: we long to utter them to some one. When we know them, they have already clothed themselves in language of some form, unuttered or expressed. ... - Scott, Social Education, p. 3.
In order to have a social situation, there must, in the first place, be the consciousness of another person or persons. . . . The other person, however, need not be bodily present. The other mind may be present in a poem, a book of science, a symphony, or a report flashed across the wires. We often become more absorbed in a book than we do in most conversations. ... - American Journal of Sociology, Vol. 19, p. 20, J. E. Boodin, "The Existence of Social Minds."
In sociology the meaning of communication needs to be broadened somewhat so as to include any process by which one person stimulates another. I see you sitting motionless: you thereby communicate to me an image of patience, or endurance, or perhaps of day-dreaming. I read a page of Homer: some poet who lived three thousand years ago communicates to me through the medium of unknown bards who transmitted his song orally from one to another for several centuries, then of unnumbered copyists likewise unknown,' then of numerous editors, then of generations of paper-makers, printers, and booksellers. The complexity of the process of interstimulation ranges from direct touch - the handshake or kiss, the slap or blow - to the elaborate mechanisms by which we receive the thought of persons who are far removed from us in space or time or both.
"Society is virtually a verbal noun," an associating. This phrase, which has been much passed about among sociologists, means that society, the phase of it at least which makes it worthy subject matter for a science, is not a thing merely - a mass of people on a piece of land - but a process of ever changing relations between person and person.