Wednesday, November 14, 2007


There is something to be said for saying something, and it is another matter altogether that the audience knows what you are talking about.

For example, I could write volumes and volumes and volumes about the relevance of the Letter Z to the planet Neptune, and you'd read and take it all in, and say "Great.... so what?" I might think it's the most vital subject at the moment, and yet you will brush it aside with the morning dew.

For me, that isn't the most pressing of concerns. Frankly, half of the time I have no idea why I wrote when I wrote it. And I am not covering pressing or relevant topics. If at the end of the day, you take something home from this, then I suppose I am glad. And if you don't, then it's really no harm no foul to both parties.

The problem occurs when we discuss fields that require comprehension. Subjects that perhaps shouldn't be glossed over. Like this paper discussing Quantum Gravity. Go ahead, give it a read. I'll wait.

Back? Wasn't it fascinating? I know the first read through I was a little dazed. Here is the kicker though: This paper got published, it got through a few communities, and people really began adjusting their fields and praised it for its forward thinking. Cool, huh?

There is a slight and small problem. Depending on your point of view, it could actually be more of a big problem. Here is the slight problem: The article is full of shit. The author wrote it on a lark, and flavored it with lots of fancy language and small puns and satires, and he was testing to see whether an article would make it into mainstream if it just sounded good.

Unfortunately, it was the sad sad truth. Really, who didn't see this coming? Don't we all tend to agree with things we like the sound of, or already agree with? The thing is, that you would think that someone somewhere would have examined it, and raised a small objection.

I wonder if I can pull the same thing off. If I wrote utter nonsense (I can hear the snide remarks: "Wait, this isn't supposed to be nonsense??" :) ), would you take me at face value, nod your head, and carry that with you?

I have a feeling it really depends on the method of delivery. Running around screaming the sky is purple is obviously not going to work. No, rather, you have to be subtle, and start with individuals. Then you scatter them, and start with a new group. Over time, your 'idea' becomes commonly accepted fact, with no one questioning it. In fact, it'd spread twice as fast if you stood around in glasses and a white lab coat with a clipboard.

Appeal to authority? Surely, you jest!

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