Thursday, July 25, 2013

Cutting the Gordian Knot

Alexander Cuts the Gordian Knot
Jean-Simon Berthélemy (1743 - 1811)
École nationale supérieur des Beaux-Arts


Originating in the middle of the 16th century from the legend that Gordius, king of Gordium, tied an intricate knot and prophesied that whoever untied it would become the ruler of Asia. It was cut through with a sword by Alexander the Great. 


Many people, including scholars, agree that scholarship is written in a way so as to exclude those not skilled in a particular discourse from contemplating the theories formulated in a specific field of study. 


We wouldn't want a layperson figuring out that of which we cannot conceive by making it too easy on them to consider. Therefore, we must write in a preise way that excludes the general public from considering the challenges we face. 

By further designing a highly obtuse, rigid path, which we will most assuredly deliver students to the same point in the labyrinth of thinking so as to put us all on equal footing, namely one where discovery an anomaly rather than a natural occurrence in the exploration of concepts. 


Traditional scholarship could be described as an artform known as GORDIASM, a sequence of extremely difficult and involved hoops through which one must jump in order to even think about engaging in a discussion regarding a particular concept or idea. In fact, the more difficult to interpret and follow, the more challenging from which to infer new thought, the better! 


  1. Who thinks there is room for a new technological language? The author? The audience? Any competent speaker of any given language system that enjoys considering new or divergent varieties of challenges associated with knowing more about the natural world in which we all live? 
  2. What are the elements of communication from which all languages arise? Thoughts? Propositions? Stuff we make up to exclude others so that we can relive our clickish adolescent preconceptions of who sits at which table in the cafeteria. 
  3. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, what does 'communication' mean?

Scholars find the answers to these questions unappealing out of concern that laypersons might beat them to the punch in drawing conclusions. After all, the language of scholarship is meant to exclude outsiders not attract more minds upon which to ruminate or "solve" a problem. 

Obviously, the goal is not to solve the worlds problems, but to busy ourselves with mastering obtuse languages so that we can formulate ideas under the additional constraint of complexity. We wouldn't want to make natural conceptual advances too easy, would we? 

When someone figures something out we only take pleasure in their discoveries if we know they worked really, really, really hard, didn't watch television, didn't go to parties, and never ever had free time to play. 

If a person sacrificed all their free time to learn a new language and were still able to come up with a new idea, that's how we know they actually deserved the accolade or award. Solving the problem is independent of the amount of work we deem necessary to be deserving of the credit for discovery or creation.


For reasons that are clear to young persons across the globe just entering the world of exacting (excluding) language, redesigning the elements of clear communication is one of the greatest challenges to global progress. 

Until we learn to communicate concepts clearly, until we include more thinkers in solving the world's problems, we will forever make progress just that much more difficult on ourselves. 

It's simple really... 
You can solve this equation:

Or this one:

Clear Communication  Clear Understanding

No comments: