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The Dangers of Intelligence (1 Viewer)

Will-11

Member
Maybe my brain does not work on the same level of others. Maybe I fail to recognise the point that is being made. Maybe I am ignorant.

Whatever the case it seems to me that people are posting more and more intelligent posts about fascinating topics that will cause endless debate and will for many years to come. God, religon, our existence, philosophy. I sit here and read complicated essays almost weekly offering yet another viewpoint to something else and that's what has pushed me to write this.

Some writers believe that because they write something it must be the truth. Some writers are eager to share their intelligence with us, have us admire them. Some are trying to propose points or ideas to us, ideas which they deem crucial and are of such complexity they require our undivided attention to understand them. In dealing with complicated ideas on the edge of our understanding it is natural that such long words and lengthy explanations have to be used but if the writers really want to communicate their ideas it would be best not to lose themselves in the intelligent worlds these ideas exist in, bring them back to us here on earth so we can understand them and comment on them.

I can understand how it may be hard to render such difficult things as Aristotle's teachings or quantum physics (to choose two totally random examples) into understandable langauge but things like examples, space breaks, even the occasional joke to compliment your intelligent essay would make it much more readable in my opinion. If you believe you have something intelligent to share naturally you would want to share it with the maximum number of people and do that it should be understadable to people who are not as clever as you.
Remember you are condenscending to offer a pearl of wisdom to total strangers, if you're doing that you should at least make sure the strangers will be able to understand it enough to take in what you're trying to say.

Feel free to let me know if you agree with what I'm saying or whether (with the greatest respect and politeness) I should keep my opinions to myself. :blackeye:
 

Jaspers

Member
I agree with almost all of this. What good is philosophical/scientific discourse if it turns its back on 95% of humanity? This elitism only serves those who are initiated, and more often than not exploits those who are left in the dark.

Then again, some things just can't possibly be expressed without using big words and esoteric data, as you said. The point is to make sure this knowledge is available to all and to keep our egos no bigger than our heads. And I think examples and jokes would help a lot. Also, these so called elite intelligences should start directing some of their attention towards explaining why their subject matter is important to "the masses," and find out how to motivate them to learn.
 

Garden of Kadesh

Senior Member
I've never been a fan of sophism or pedantry myself, but sometimes flowery language is necesary to achieve the desired connotation.

Did I just make a fool of myself?:oops:
 
F

Fox

I completely agree. As a person who knows nothing about psychology, I find it extremely frustrating to have to look up explantions within explantions. I want to learn, perhaps the author of whatever it is I'm reading would enable me to by using understandable language along with explantions for nessecary language of the discipline.
 
K

Kid Ickirus

Oh yes. So true. All of it, really. I once posted on a philosophy forum, presenting a simple idea I came up with. I didn't look anything up or try to tie my idea into any other pre-established ideas, but a lot of the responses were riddled with allusions to other philosphers ideas and all this 'all-knowing' mentality. I guess I was stepping into their (they being the philosphy-enthusiasts) realm, but referring to my genuine thoughts and words, that were completely un-influenced by other philosophical knowledge, as 'poor versions' of such-and-such's statement is just condesending! If the self-proclaimed intellectuals wish to teach the rest of the world anything, they must first learn to talk to them first.
 
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S

stefan

I agree, I think people come across as more intelligent if they have a greater ability to explain things with simple language. My father is the most intelligent man I have met in my entire life and this intelligence is integral to the profession he is in. He has an innate ability to explain the most complex matters, which are needlessly complex by design, using simple everyday language you or I would use in the pub.
 
S

salooco

Having the ability to express ourselves in the most basic language that is possible - is not that a skill? And how do we learn the capacity to put a thought into simple wording? I think that instructions are detailed mechanisms looking to press out thoughts like widgets on assembly belt. I wish that I could subscribe to the rules of simplistic views. But there is a more complex 'character' wanting and waiting in my intellectual spirit. Because that's what he dares to do, so I invite him along! Why do I? He is good at reducing me downward and into better fields of communicating. Should I repress him for his teachings? ....but you all agreed that i should!
 
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mammamaia

Senior Member
i can't stand the egomaniacal penchant of so many, to indulge in jargon... most examples of which are totally incomprehensible, due to a deficit of proper grammar, in addition to the mind-numbing plethora of bombastic buzzwords...

ok... yeah, that was a tongue-in-cheek reverse 'homage' to that kind of merde... sorry, couldn't help myself!...

but, yes, i hate that kind of stuff... it's only a pitiful conceit of those who can't write well with any kind of vocabulary... someone once put it perfectly, as coming across like, 'an explosion in a word factory'...
 

jeang287

Member
What? There are people who are not thrilled by learning that some social misfit knows a bunch of big words? Let me put it this way: some of the most-honest-to-God _dumb_ people I know are members of Mensa. As the editors of Marvel comics love to say, "'Nuff said!"
-- jeang287
 

Cipher2

Senior Member
Nice cat. There is something more that I don't like which is when people over use Google to make a point, a kind of "proof-by-Google". I have nothing against people using it, but it is especially annoying when they are condescending with it. When I was at Uni if I had sourced an entire essay only using Google I would have been eaten alive.
 

jeang287

Member
Dear Cipher2; Glad you like my red-haired friend. As to sourcing by Google, ack! I am amazed that anyone would try it, and doubly astounded if they get away with it in a so-called "institution of higher learning." Or anywhere else, for example. Google is NOT cast in stone, nor is it written by gurus. It is one step above Wikipedia -- the latter is helpful, but not infallible. Sometimes one has to do one's _own_ homework...sigh.
-- jeang287
 
S

salooco

i can't stand the egomaniacal penchant of so many, to indulge in jargon... most examples of which are totally incomprehensible, due to a deficit of proper grammar, in addition to the mind-numbing plethora of bombastic buzzwords...

ok... yeah, that was a tongue-in-cheek reverse 'homage' to that kind of merde... sorry, couldn't help myself!...

but, yes, i hate that kind of stuff... it's only a pitiful conceit of those who can't write well with any kind of vocabulary... someone once put it perfectly, as coming across like, 'an explosion in a word factory'...
Whatever, You might try writing non-fiction by using coherent wording with good style.
But don't hate a fake, that's inner war.... get a job in fast food resturaunt so you know how to critique something! And behavior AINT the person at all. I attended a good women's unsiveristy....actually...they pulled better punches than I did above here (#7)!

The forum master with true emotions....great stuff! Good Bye. lol
 
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female_writer

Senior Member
Will-11 said:
Maybe my brain does not work on the same level of others. Maybe I fail to recognise the point that is being made. Maybe I am ignorant.

Whatever the case it seems to me that people are posting more and more intelligent posts about fascinating topics that will cause endless debate and will for many years to come. God, religon, our existence, philosophy. I sit here and read complicated essays almost weekly offering yet another viewpoint to something else and that's what has pushed me to write this.

Some writers believe that because they write something it must be the truth. Some writers are eager to share their intelligence with us, have us admire them. Some are trying to propose points or ideas to us, ideas which they deem crucial and are of such complexity they require our undivided attention to understand them. In dealing with complicated ideas on the edge of our understanding it is natural that such long words and lengthy explanations have to be used but if the writers really want to communicate their ideas it would be best not to lose themselves in the intelligent worlds these ideas exist in, bring them back to us here on earth so we can understand them and comment on them.

I can understand how it may be hard to render such difficult things as Aristotle's teachings or quantum physics (to choose two totally random examples) into understandable langauge but things like examples, space breaks, even the occasional joke to compliment your intelligent essay would make it much more readable in my opinion. If you believe you have something intelligent to share naturally you would want to share it with the maximum number of people and do that it should be understadable to people who are not as clever as you.
Remember you are condenscending to offer a pearl of wisdom to total strangers, if you're doing that you should at least make sure the strangers will be able to understand it enough to take in what you're trying to say.

Feel free to let me know if you agree with what I'm saying or whether (with the greatest respect and politeness) I should keep my opinions to myself. :blackeye:

I feel, that the answer to this as always, lies somewhere in the middle.
People instinctively know when someone is using language as a way to prop themselves above others. Most human interaction is non-verbal, and this kind of conduct is very transparant to most.

The thing is -I LOVE big words. If a Man pops out a 5 syllable word Im immediately attracted to him, haha..a Woman as well.

I use big words in my writing because they pop in my head so I put them to paper, that simple. I consider it as being true to myself as a writer.

I think what you mean is people who use vocabulary and language as a tool to impess others. This is manipulation and not to be confused with a pure-hearted writer who simply loves words and uses them accordingly I think.
 

Charlie_Eleanor

Senior Member
I agree with FW. The answer is in the middle.

It is irritating when people show off so much that you are unable to even understand what they are saying. However, there need to words we don't understand, concepts we don't grasp so that we are challenged and intrigued to broaden our literary horizons. Still, sometimes it is nice to hear simple things. Sometimes the words are too beatiful, and they block what you are trying to express to the reader.

Well Done.
 

female_writer

Senior Member
Charlie_Eleanor said:
I agree with FW. The answer is in the middle.

It is irritating when people show off so much that you are unable to even understand what they are saying. However, there need to words we don't understand, concepts we don't grasp so that we are challenged and intrigued to broaden our literary horizons. Still, sometimes it is nice to hear simple things. Sometimes the words are too beatiful, and they block what you are trying to express to the reader.

Well Done.

I do believe in the saying that some things are "Beyond words".
The emotion or intensity of an experience so deep that their arent words in Human language sufficent to describe them.

Thats a scary place *eep*
 

heatherlouise

Senior Member
Some writers believe that because they write something it must be the truth. Some writers are eager to share their intelligence with us, have us admire them. Some are trying to propose points or ideas to us, ideas which they deem crucial and are of such complexity they require our undivided attention to understand them.
all of the above are me :) lol. o.j., or at least i hope im only joking. :S i try to keep things simple anyway, infact sometimes i feel my posts don't sound sophisicted enough to be posted in reply to an adult. i feel like i should try and hide my lack of knowlage of long words by pretending that i know lots of long words that i asked my dad about, lol. but i find myself blabbering on and on, trying to say something that would take a literate person only half of the writing space (or speaking) to say.
Hope you understood that, lol.
Heather
 
I totally agree with the danger of intellectualism that exludes the common people from readership. But as a writer I try to absorb different strains of creative thought through writings as much as I can. My fascination with writing which I had in my childhood was reactivated during my undergraduate years when I encountered Kafka, Joyce, Wolf, and others who provoke philosophical thoughts. Then I wandered into the forest of knowledge from anthropology, philosophy, and political science. And in the process I turned into a non-fiction writer. The challenge for me now is how to express something that is really complex in a very simple manner without jargons. (But then again I do love to use words like "deterritorialization," "ontology," "discourse," etc., because they are almost like Chinese ideograms in which the meaning is condensed. )


female_writer said:
I do believe in the saying that some things are "Beyond words".
The emotion or intensity of an experience so deep that their arent words in Human language sufficent to describe them.

Thats a scary place *eep*
I have been searching for a style of writing charged with the power of affect. Doing research on graffiti writing has been very inspirational.
 

Will-11

Member
Wandering back on here after a three month holiday I have found an intelligent debate raging about the use of langauge in expressing complicated ideas, which ironically is being carried out in terms anyone would be able to understand.
I am intrigued by those who consider the middle way, I agree with Charlie Eleanor and Female Writer that trying to impress strangers by using big words is conceited. I believe it is possible to explain most complicated things with a minimum of complicated words (because that way it can appeal to the widest audience) and it is nice to see I am largely supported in my views.

Ultimately we are who we are and if you are unable to write without using complicated words it is not for me or anyone else to condone you. The point of this Post was to examine people's opinions on whether or not to use simple or complicated terms to explain ideas.

Whatever you do it is important to take into account your reader. They may be Forest Gump or Albert Einstein, unable to understand the complex or bored by the simple. It depends on your target audience but if like me you hope to reach the widest (and therefore the most varied) audience possible things like jokes, breaks, not going crazy on long words but not holding back on the occasional simple explanation seem like safe bets.
In short a massive comprimise or The Middle Way with a little bit more.

That's just my personal conclusion, yours may be different but thanks to everyone whose posted, the feedback will sure come in handy. Feel free to keep offering your opinions.
:thumbr:
 
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