This evening I will come home and give my wife some flowers.
What will she make of this? Why do I give her flowers? Is it a nice gesture? Why call it a gesture at all?
Why do we call certain actions by people in certain conditions ‘a gesture’ (a ‘nice gesture’, or ‘only a gesture’)? Actions which under different circumstances would be mere practical actions, with some goal in mind?
I read the following this morning: ”Other non-visual gestures include ideas that manifest themselves or become known. The thought of giving a gift to someone could be regarded as a ‘nice gesture’.”
From: University of Chicago: Gesture
Is the gesture the idea that becomes manifest or known? If so, then which idea is this? My idea that my wife deserves a gift? Or is rather my idea that I should make it known that I’m aware that she deserves a gift? I would prefer the latter choice of ideas. Yet, still the idea itself does not count as the gesture for me. It is only when I act, and by acting display my awareness that my wife deserves a gift, that there is the seed of a gesture. Personally, before calling it a gesture, I would first like to see my wife acknowledge the act and the idea behind it. That means she must first understand that a present is given. Then, my awareness of the deservedness should be acknowledged. If this happens, I’ll be happy to call it a gesture. I will have intentionally communicated an idea, which was even succesfully picked up.
Without the acknowledgement by the receiver the entire act is a gesture only from my point of view, and not to anyone else (unless my mind is otherwise read by a third party). Chances are that the act will be perceived as a regular practical action (“He brought some flowers because he thinks the table is so empty without”).
So, assuming the gesture is confirmed by the receiver’s acknowledgement, will it be ‘a nice gesture’ or ‘only a gesture’? This rests entirely upon the interpretation of the message within the relation I have with my wife. And that’s between her and me.