I stumbled into a conversation taking place between three of my girlfriends and one of our mutual guy friends, Marty. They were attempting to define the word "sexy" as a combination of a person's attractiveness and unattainability. Their speech acts were coherent because they were shaped by the episode of defining a word over dinner. The relationship between them, their self-identities, and their culture helped them to be talking about the same thing and understanding each other. The relationship between them is close and open, and not strained by any romantic interest. Each of the four has good self-esteem and receives assurance of their attractiveness from other friends. Thus, the conversants were less likely to be driven to "prove" anyone sexy. Finally, our Christian college culture shaped what was said. The word "sexy" was stripped of its emotional charge and defined as the more quantifiable "attractive and unattainable." This made the word safe to talk about, where it might otherwise have been too carnal for Christian discussion.
When we arranged ourselves along the objective-subjective spectrum, I was one of the most objective people in the class. I like theories with a strong scientific background. I am also wary of theories that might undercut the ideas of objective truth and metanarratives. However, despite these things, I like CMM. Why does an objectivist like me have some sympathy for this socio-cultural and phenomenological theory? CMM makes many observations about life and communication that ring true, and by focusing heavily on action it doesn't launch a wanton assault on objective truth.
Coordinated Management of Meaning states that peoples' stories lived may mesh while their stories told may not. In other words, coordination without coherence can occur, in that individuals can coordinate effectively without a mutual understanding. I have seen this in my own life, especially during my days in high school when my core group of friends consisted of a gay atheist, a non-practicing Jewish girl, and a devout Jewish girl. Colin, Stephanie, Aliza and I (a Christian) were all committed to the same moral principles of abstaining from drinking, drugs, and sex, but our reasons for holding to these principles were extremely different. Thus, after reading this theory it has become obvious to me that we were more interested in coordination and not on forcing our religious beliefs upon one another for the sake of coherence.
Escher's Bond of Union comes alive as I put in my face and the face of a friend of mine. First, our communication formed our relationship and who we were together. When together we had our own "language" that kept us from being real with one another and created at times a fake social environment. The manner in which we communicated took the form of a win/lose situation and I normally took the position of the one who lost. Our process of communicating often entailed me figuring out what would make my friend happy and then deciding to do it that way. Secondly, our nonverbal language spoke volumes when we didn't talk to one another. I could tell if she was upset with me and this created a tense environment in which we lived and operated. The environment that we made together wasn't healthy for the majority of our relationship. By having an argument and not resolving conflict, we created a reality that I didn't want to be in. We truly did create our own social reality.