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Complex language and owning truth

DiscoBiscuit

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If you are smart person who uses needlessly complex language to describe a simple concept, I don't trust you. For ex. availability heuristic instead of anecdotal evidence. You are either trying to a. flaunt your language to signify intellect, b. confuse the listener or both.

The complexity of language is often used to hide the abilities of the speaker, and/or render the subject matter accessible to only a learned few. This process plays itself out in legalese and finance and politics and a host of other arenas.

Take stocks for example avg people can understand buying low and selling high. And usually selling short etc etc. But Collateralized Debt Obligations and their derivative financial products? Not a chance. They can be explained simply, but usually aren't (outside of The Big Short).

This same complexity can be seen in legalese and political speech. The founding purpose of which is to gate keep the power owned by those who wield it. Lay people are much more capable than they are given credit for.

This same instinct explains why hair dressers have to go to an accredited hair dressing school. How much of our lives would be greatly improved folks who were good at cutting hair got to do it and cut out the middle man?

Am I saying that any guy with steady hands and not afraid of blood should just skip school and perform unlicensed surgery? No.

There are needed checks necessary to operate in many fields. What I am saying, is that whenever possible concepts and ideas should be broken down into their simplest components. Luckily the internet is already doing this on a global scale.

Why did it benefit medieval clergy to have an illiterate public? Merely to use their learned status to claim ownership of the truth. Something the Academy has inherited and greatly expanded. Any citizen who hopes to lead a "respected" life has to pass through their halls today.

Man has always guarded power jealously. Likely always will. But the more we fight to lower these barriers to entry the more we will all be able to find the truth ourselves without having it shaded by the lens of those who fancy themselves our betters.
 

Virtual ghost

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True, this factor exists and it is being practiced in many "very political situations".
However this isn't black and white issue since many things simply can't be simplified if you want to remain fully on point. The average people have about 0% chance to make a cell phone on their own and they will never understand all the physical and software principles of it. But that doesn't mean that the principles are wrong or that they don't work (or that they can't be beneficial). What altogether is just one random example of what is probably the biggest change that is coming from further technological growth. Which requires more and more specializations to cover all aspects of the problem and the odds that you will understand all parts of the equation are getting smaller by the day (this is exactly why you have 50 sub-types of doctors). However this is the process that is basically impossible to stop, since from one side you have market forces. While from the other hand you have human curiosity. In other words we pretty much figured all the simple things and now we are moving into more complex stuff. What creates a barrier since not everyone has the desire to follow through this since it is hard a taxing. Therefore just if you are unwilling to understand or you just don't have the time that doesn't mean that the concept is automatically a scam.
 

тень

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You must think I am mad trustworthy then.
 

highlander

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I agree somewhat but there is industry jargon that is complex for a reason. In law for example, certain words mean very specific things or have specific interpretations. Leading practice is very different than best practice as an example. If you do contract law, you know how a judge will interpret these things if something goes wrong. Indemnification is a complex topic but very important because it keeps you out of court.
 

Peter Deadpan

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I'm hyper-aware of manipulative language dynamics because of a history of being gaslit. I agree that it's a red flag when someone repeatedly communicates in a convoluted manner, and it's especially alarming when paired with circle-talking or side-stepping (basically never quite getting to the point but filling the conversation with non-essential intellectually superior language or slick subject changing). You see this in sales, you see this in psychological abusers, you see this in dishonest people. It's generally an intentional strategy to obfuscate an undesirable truth and maintain some level of higher power over others.
 

highlander

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I'm hyper-aware of manipulative language dynamics because of a history of being gaslit. I agree that it's a red flag when someone repeatedly communicates in a convoluted manner, and it's especially alarming when paired with circle-talking or side-stepping (basically never quite getting to the point but filling the conversation with non-essential intellectually superior language or slick subject changing). You see this in sales, you see this in psychological abusers, you see this in dishonest people. It's generally an intentional strategy to obfuscate an undesirable truth and maintain some level of higher power over others.
I can't think of a time where I have noticed this. I think I might just be oblivious or something. If someone talks in a convoluted way, I would likely interrupt them and ask questions because I get frustrated when people don't get to the point.
 

тень

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I can't think of a time where I have noticed this. I think I might just be oblivious or something. If someone talks in a convoluted way, I would likely interrupt them and ask questions because I get frustrated when people don't get to the point.

I think certain types of people are more resilient of this behavior, due to exacting and confident actions towards an end goal. Especially Ni-Te or Si-Te. That is just something I have observed over the years.
 

highlander

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I think certain types of people are more resilient of this behavior, due to exacting and confident actions towards an end goal. Especially Ni-Te or Si-Te. That is just something I have observed over the years.

Maybe. If it were a sales person doing something like that, I think I would just get irritated because after all, they are trying to sell me something so so they need to communicate in a way that I understand.
 

DiscoBiscuit

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I agree somewhat but there is industry jargon that is complex for a reason. In law for example, certain words mean very specific things or have specific interpretations. Leading practice is very different than best practice as an example. If you do contract law, you know how a judge will interpret these things if something goes wrong. Indemnification is a complex topic but very important because it keeps you out of court.

I wrote that very late and it should have clarified a point more. Things should only be as complex as they NEED to be to be described accurately. Sometimes there is no way to describe a concept accurately or to accurately convey a thought than by using complex words. Riparian rights sounds good to a law student, but rights to a lands water makes it just as clear. But more frequently on topics like engineering or physics there is no more simple way to describe something. This isnt a hard rule to be applied always and forever in all situations but more of a general principle when speaking with law people should you be especially well versed on a given topic. If you are with industry people use industry language.

As a general rule I find there to be more beauty in simplicity than in complexity for its own sake.
 

Jaguar

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If you are smart person who uses needlessly complex language to describe a simple concept, who fancy themselves our betters, I don't trust you.


I cut out all of the superfluous nonsense in the post and left the meat. Now I can clearly see what the argument is: People who use complex language to describe a simple concept think they're better than others.



I might be slightly annoyed by anything at all that is needless when it comes to the English language, including prattling on while pretending the word 'brevity' isn't in the dictionary. But going so far as to say I don't trust the person because of it? That's a bit silly. I don't trust people if they're a fucking liar, not because they use complex language.
 

Coriolis

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I wrote that very late and it should have clarified a point more. Things should only be as complex as they NEED to be to be described accurately. Sometimes there is no way to describe a concept accurately or to accurately convey a thought than by using complex words. Riparian rights sounds good to a law student, but rights to a lands water makes it just as clear. But more frequently on topics like engineering or physics there is no more simple way to describe something. This isnt a hard rule to be applied always and forever in all situations but more of a general principle when speaking with law people should you be especially well versed on a given topic. If you are with industry people use industry language.
I was thinking of how these fields in particular do need their own terminology, which one learns in school and on the job. Still, even these complex topics can be described in simple terms, albeit with less depth and scope. This is necessary when appealing to sponsors who lack a technical background, or even to school kids at an educational outreach activity. The key is to know your audience, and cut to the chase with "jargon" when they will understand it, but stick with more generic layman's terms when they do not. At my workplace, we are often expected to be able to explain our ongoing research "to our grandma". (Yes, that assumes grandma doesn't have a graduate degree in physics, EE, etc.)

This same instinct explains why hair dressers have to go to an accredited hair dressing school. How much of our lives would be greatly improved folks who were good at cutting hair got to do it and cut out the middle man?

Am I saying that any guy with steady hands and not afraid of blood should just skip school and perform unlicensed surgery? No.

There are needed checks necessary to operate in many fields. What I am saying, is that whenever possible concepts and ideas should be broken down into their simplest components. Luckily the internet is already doing this on a global scale.
Good grief - don't get me started on this one. Somewhere, our society became credential-happy, prioritizing certification over qualification. It is no longer enough just to be able to do the job. In fact, if you have the right paperwork, that might not even be necessary. Of course the more these certifications are required, the more money goes into the pockets of those who provide them.

College has become just an extension of this for many. College, or more broadly, the university, used to focus on providing an academic education with breadth as well as depth in some field. Now it is too often job training. Nothing wrong with that, but it is a different beast, and one better suited to apprenticeship programs and other on the job training. But college degrees are increasingly required for jobs where they don't help much and aren't needed. Again - follow the money, not just what is paid to the colleges, but also to the standardized testing services and test prep courses, etc. Pushing everyone to go to college does a disservice to those who would do better learning a trade or working their way up in business, for example, and inflates the cost of college.
 
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Jonny

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Like using the word “patina” instead of “appearance”?

What if you use simple language and someone acts insulted?

https://www.typologycentral.com/for...ents/104799-trump-vs-biden-2.html#post3227479

Seems to me like you have a chip on your shoulder, to be honest. Like maybe life hasn’t afforded you with the external validation of the intellect and native ability you believe you possess. Welcome to your 30’s.

Also, just to inject MBTI into this, you might be describing the speaking pattern of an INTP. I’ve heard people find their descriptions of things to be needlessly complex. But I can say from personal experience that at least in some instances that complexity is commensurate with the self-perceived internal complexity of the concept.

I can say, however, that I have personally observed in myself and others a tendency to vomit out buzzwords when a concept isn’t fully understood.
 

Julius_Van_Der_Beak

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I think it's important to be able to communicate clearly to your audience. Complexity in communication for the sake of complexity isn't an inherent virtue. The ultimate goal of communication should be to be understood, if it isn't, it isn't really communication, it's just mental masturbation.
 

The Cat

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I think it's important to be able to communicate clearly to your audience. Complexity in communication for the sake of complexity isn't an inherent virtue. The ultimate goal of communication should be to be understood, if it isn't, it isn't really communication, it's just mental masturbation.

calvin-writing.gif
 

Polaris

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The more complex a thing is, the more potential it has for beauty. For that reason, I never strive to maximize the simplicity of my speech or writing.
 
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