On writing: Good writing is invisible

Trms.me blog post:

Writing is unique in that you are creating a world, but you are also making the window through which readers will see that world. And in non-fiction, you want readers to fully take in what you are showing them. Choppy prose is a stain on the glass; it attracts attention to itself. The purpose of a window is to let the light in. So let the light of your world shine through.

I liked this blog post about “simple writing”. We are conditioned to believe that complex write-ups are more “coherent”. What is the point of “dumbing down”? It also boils down to my fundamental question – why is academia focused on obtuse, opaque writing? Why can’t the journal articles be written in simple, straightforward prose that helps everyone?

Here’s something from the author:

Second, our formal education conditions us. High school tells us that complex is good. In academia, entire departments are based upon the premise of making the glass as opaque as possible. For example, Jonathan Bennett has been paraphrasing, modernizing, and simplifying texts by early modern philosophers so that more people can access them. Philosophy teachers’ response has been “uniformly negative and sometimes hostile.”

This is surprising. Accessibility is the key; making ivory towers for academia (and assuming that more complex write ups are a corollary for “thinkers”) is a futile attempt to reach out to the humanity.

For one simple reason – I don’t understand statistics. I have attempted to follow texts and reckon survival curves but is the fundamental flaw because my thought process simply rejects complex mathematical formulation. Consequently, I developed intuition in the thought process and expanded on ideation and execution, a more practical skill. That’s why I find duelling on Twitter a wasteful exercise, because complex issues can be broken down into more fundamental bits.

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