Thursday, September 19, 2013

Sacrificing Clarity for Precision and Achieving Neither.

A lesson I learned early on in my career as a lawyer is to sacrifice precision for clarity.  This was, of course, contrary to what I learned as an electrical engineer, when precision was everything.

In my various endeavors-- whether the Project or IP reform-- I have encountered time and again a level of erudition and over-complexity that arrests my progress, if only because I wonder at what passes for wisdom for these obviously smart people who seem compelled to speak in tongues.

A part of me assumes they use ridiculous language to make it impossible for the layman to decipher what they're saying.  Kind of like parents spelling out "D-I-V-O-R-C-E" around their kids.  But I'm a grown ass man, and all I see is a little kid trying to pull one over on the real grown-ups.

Another part of me wants to argue that these people are enamored with language and use it because they can.  In any event, as illustrated by Heidegger, the language they use prevents them from being understood or understandable to anyone, including themselves.  They're simply lost in the wonder of their words.

I'm sure there's a third part of me that has another opinion, but I'm tired of trying to understand why intellectuals immobilize themselves with language that banishes their precious ideas to nowhere other than obscurity.

The only way your ideas will have the power you think they have is to "vulgarize" them.  Aristotle and Plato understood this.