Intended for healthcare professionals

Views And Reviews Personal View

Screening for health literacy is not the answer

BMJ 2016; 354 doi: (Published 05 July 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;354:i3699

The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion it has taken place (GB Shaw)

Communication is like an asymptote. Asymptotes are geometric figures in which a curved line approaches, but never quite reaches, a straight line. Likewise, communication approaches, but never quite reaches, the straight truth, due to repressed facts, feelings, and memories. So we can never quite connect with ourselves or others, no matter how hard we try. Tantalized, we struggle with the nuances of our asymptotic identity, asymptotic communication, and asymptotic relationships, all of which is symptomatic of being human and longing for contact.

Competing interests: No competing interests

06 July 2016
Hugh Mann
New York, NY, USA