Friday, August 18, 2017


Overbearing Ignorance

By Donovan Baldwin

In 72 years, I have made my way through college, and read my way through many books; technical, informational, philosophical, and fictional.

I have acquired, and forgotten, various job skills.

I have learned all kinds of terms for "stuff" from abstruse and confusing, to absolutely senseless.

One thing in common about ALL these terms is: If you say them to somebody who doesn't know what THAT term means, you might as well be speaking a foreign language.

THAT also means that, if you use one of those terms to someone who does not understand it, someone who may be ten times smarter than you OR ME, and they don't react properly...they are not necessarily dumb. If we understand their confusion and take the time to explain what we actually meant, THEN, neither are we.

“If you wish to converse with me,” said Voltaire, “define your terms.”

Two people cannot begin to understand each other, or even honestly agree or disagree, if they do NOT understand what the other is saying. Yet, so many times I have seen someone training, or arguing with, someone, gloat over their supposed superiority because they used terms the other did not understand, or was not familiar with.

Someone who intentionally uses unknown, specialized, or esoteric terms to make another seem ignorant, is an ideal example of ignorance.

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Since I have supreme confidence in my own intellect, insight, prowess, and ability to communicate in terms that everyone and anyone can understand, I have no qualms whatsoever calling out someone to their face who tries the old "esoteric-jargon- superiority" trick when communicating to me or a group.

I have rehearsed this frequently and used this in actual situations more than once. I have stopped perpetrators mid-sentence and asked quite boldly:

"Excuse me, are you communicating to be understood or are you trying to impress everyone, because if you are doing the latter it is neither impressive nor intelligent. Are you capable of communicating in terms that empowers your listeners to understand your message?"

Of course, if it was a superior, I have waited until after the meeting and the tone was far less confronting and more entreating.

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