Googling for quotes is part of my day job. One day, aimlessly browsing through ‘inspirational quotes’ to be made as social media content, I stumbled upon an article about Richard Feynman, a physicist nicknamed ‘The Great Explainer’ because he managed to explain the concept of the universe with a glass of wine. It instantly got me intrigued. I only ended up reading that article and didn’t actually dig too deep, but boy did that spoke to me on a spiritual level.
Whenever I read academic journals or articles referenced by my more well-read friends, I tend to find mind-blowing new ideas that I want to share it to the world. This usually makes me wonder in agony: Why is it so hard to make big but useful information digestible for everyone?????
But lately, I came across a concept called Twaddle Tendency which said: “Verbal expression is the mirror of the mind. Clear thoughts become clear statements, whereas ambiguous ideas transform into vacant ramblings”
And it hits me. Maybe… I can’t translate the message because I don’t have sufficient knowledge about it — no matter how much I think I do.
As told by Albert Einstein: “If you can’t put it simply, you might not understand it well enough.” He could have said “The degree of comprehension determined on whether individuals can demonstrate the related concept in its most uncomplicated nature.” to sound more intellectual. But he didn’t. He put it plain and simple because otherwise, it would be an irony.
Indeed, in a very competitive landscape we are in today, there’s a need to present ourself as an intellectual, experienced, knowledgable, balanced, enlightened, and an overall woke being. Naturally, we throw sophisticated vocabularies here and there to mask our limitations in order to be perceived that way. And truthfully, it takes tremendous humility and courage to admit that sometimes, ah let’s face it… most of the times, we just don’t know that much.
However, if we really want our knowledge to be much of a use, I guess it’s best to avoid elaborate jargons to mask the limitation of our knowledge. Because what good is it to protect our pride if it makes the knowledge we have untransferable? If you think about it, acknowledging the state of unknowing opens door to even more learnings. In fact, it can be a good starting point for our growth. So other than masking it, I guess we need to start to learn to be okay with it.
(This was originally a skill test I submitted. But since I’m not sure I’m getting accepted, and I actually really like this writing, I decided to write the extended, more personal version of it here on my blog.)