| Knowledge puffeth up.
|In reading a clip over at Centurion's blog I was reminded of my old university days.
Back in university (before I came to Christ) it was the common practice of everyone I knew (myself being no exception) to spend our leisure time in exalted and philosophical debate - during which time we could showcase the various tidbits of knowledge we had picked up, and extol their worth in the grandest language we were able to muster. In this way we hoped to demonstrate our intellectual superiority - or at the very least, or intellectual right to assume a place in the grand halls of our dear old university. It was quite important to each of us that we appear learned and erudite to all our colleagues. In this pursuit our vocabularies swelled, and we sought at every opportunity to demonstrate their massive girth.After university I attended a technical college - and the atmosphere was entirely different. Here successful communication didn't involve lofty language - but rather successful communication was gauged on how easily understood one was. Direct speech, without all the glitter, was preferred.
Between the two experiences I began to understand that any writer can express themselves using technical language - but only truly talented writers can express themselves in common language.
As a musician I am not impressed by the technical brilliance of a movement - I am impressed by the art of the movement - does it speak to me, does it move me? Or is it simply an articulate expression of timing, tone, and cadence? Anyone can learn to master an instrument - but few people can learn to express themselves through an instrument.
In this same way I am impressed not by large vocabularies and complex sentences - they simply tell me that the author has some base proficiency in the things he is discussing. But when a writer can explain a complex issue in a way that a child could understand - then I am in the presence of brilliance - and I am rightly impressed.
Knowledge of a subject can puff up discussion about that subject - because part of the effort in discussing the subject is being spent on making oneself look knowledgeable. In the same way that yeast puffs up bread - lofty language can puff up a dialog or treatise - adding empty words for the sake of the author's erudite posture.
What a great exercise it is to go back over our own work and remove all loftiness! How we shudder to replace 'insouciantly' with 'light heartedly' - we want people to know how brilliant we are!
Brother, brilliance cannot be hidden by simple text, nor can it be counterfeited by exalted speech.
posted by Daniel @