“One should use common words to say uncommon things”
― Arthur Schopenhauer
I find myself of late having little patience with jargon. Don’t get me wrong, when speaking of technical things with others in your area of expertise then use what words you have available. However if you wish to communicate then use language that everyone present understands. Far too often I hear people using terms that only those ‘in the know’ can understand. What they communicate is not so much information about whatever subject they are discussing as information abou the way they see themselves. Which may be fascinating if that is the topic at hand but rarely is.
It is possible to convey the deepest of thoughts with the simplest of words. “Who is the Master who makes the grass green?”, “Light acts like a particle and a wave at the same time”,”Shared joy is increased, shared pain lessened.” Albert Einstein said famously “If you can’t explain it to a six year old, then you don’t understand it yourself” Yet, still in every field of endeavour you find people using the vocabulary of their field in order to hid rather than illuminate. Of these bricks, babel is made.
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The Shaper by G A Rosenberg
Propagation in a Strange Medium by G A Rosenberg
“It’s up to the artist to use language that can be understood, not hide it in some private code. Most of these jokers don’t even want to use language you and I know or can learn . . . they would rather sneer at us and be smug, because we ‘fail’ to see what they are driving at. If indeed they are driving at anything–obscurity is usually the refuge of incompetence.”
― Robert A. Heinlein
Is the purpose of language communication? I believe most of us would agree that it is. I wonder at times what it is that we seek to communicate. Do we mean exactly what our words say or do we carry another message? Do we use simple language that conveys simple meaning no matter how complex the idea. I mean “I love you” is a simple phrase yet it is one that can mean anything from “I’m glad you’re here” to “Do as I say” to “I need you to love me” and about 150 others. How often when two people speak does it seem as if despite the fact they use the same words, they are speaking two totally different languages. What’s worse is that they realize that communication isn’t taking place and are so busy blaming the other one that they don’t even realize this fact.
I have come to the conclusion that what we say always communicates something even if that something is “I have no intention of communicating with you. I will hold tight to the language I am using even tho you seem to have a problem understanding it. Then I will blame you for not understanding me. If I am not understanding what you say I will tell you that the problem lies with you.” Wouldn’t it be easier at times to drop the pretense and not claim communication in the first place? It would be more honest anyway.
Quite often experts in a given field will talk to laymen in the jargon of their field and claim they are communicating clearly. Tho this happens most often with doctors and lawyers and academics, I have also seen it done by philosophers and subscribers to spirituality. Jargon is their membership badge and rather than compare maps with others to the benefit of both, they use language to exclude,. “If you were one of us, you would get what I’m saying but oh so sorry you’re not”
Thus we go on building our towers of words and wonder when they crash to the ground under the weight of their own verbiage.
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Fitness of Mind and Spirit by G A Rosenberg
Communion by G A Rosenberg
The Universe Lies Within