Thursday, September 08, 2005

Signifying Nothing.

Long ago I learned that there are relatively few things that are so complicated that they can't be simply stated.

Sadly, that fact is lost on many people of intelligence.

Over the years of reading shcolars, I have often lamented that while they may be great thinkers, they are not therefore also great communicators. In fact, it is most often the opposite that is true.

Why this is the case is a mystery, but I have a few thoughts. The one that I find most liekly is that these thinkers have become basically disconnected from the world they live in. It doesn't matter that they may be husbands and fathers, mothers and wives, or whatever else. Fundamentally they "live" in their area of expertise. Its where they spend most of their time, and are most at home. Its laguage has become thier first language. The people in it are more real to them. Their feelings and opinions matter more.

Now one may argue that a person cannot become a true authority in their field without making such acccomodatioons, but that is empirically false. There are scholars who are able to communicate complex ideas accurately in simple ways. They have not lost touch with the world outside their area of expertise.


Becuase they have remained balanced. They have not taken the world of the academy moe seriously than the one outside the academy. They remain essentially "down to earth."
That's why they are such good communicators fo ideas. Great scholars who are also great communicators are essentially great translators. They take ideas conceived in one world (the academy) and elucidated in that one world's laguage and translate them into laguage which is used by another world (the one outside the academy). That requires being well versed in both laguages, being connected to both worlds.

Some folks are out of balance, too connected to one world. They take themselves and their ideas too seriously. They deride those who don't. In the end all they do is isolate themselves furhter, make themselves more irrelevant.

That's too bad; the world needs people of intelligence to provide a certain leadership.

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