Re: Sloppy writing, sloppy thinking?

Subject: Re: Sloppy writing, sloppy thinking?
From: Chris <cud -at- telecable -dot- es>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 29 May 2003 10:28:20 +0200

I want to tell you about how style indicates that the subject about which you're writing is something about which you probably haven't really thought sifficiently before you started writing. If you start writing that way, while you're writing you might look like you're actually trying to figure out what is is you think about the subject before you know what you think about it. Is it thinking out loud, or is it just an open struggle to keep your writing a reflection of what the topic is about, and not meander into territory in which you're more comfortable?

At the same time, it's certainly possible to write what some people would call correct sentences. You might even have a paragraph that is totally correct, or even all (or most, let's say) of them could be correct. The importance of correctly written sentences and paragraphs cannot be understated. They are the hallmark of good writing, and indicate that you have a solid grasp of the written word. Wasn't it Aristotle who said that he has never thought fully on a subject until he has written on it?

Many philosophers have weighed in on the value of clear writing. I suppose that's because philosophy depends so heavily on the written word. It could be argued that before the written word there was no philosophy per se, only religion and tradition. In that sense, one can leap to the argument that without writing the overwhelming bulk of technology in our society would have never occurred, and could not possibly stand today. So while writing can be viewed as a mental prosthetic, it's clear that humanity has achieved many wonderful things as a result. In other words, Socrates was wrong.

I hope I have made myself perfectly clear.

I would now like to present a loose quote of Donald Rumsfeld - a man entrusted with shocking and awesome force. (Sorry, I don't have the source at hand, but believe me - this isn't far off the mark.)

"There are the knowns and the unknowns. Among the unknowns there are the known unknowns and the unknown unknowns. It's the unknown unknowns we know we really don't know much about."

Chris Despopoulos, maker of CudSpan Freeware...
Plugins to Enhance FrameMaker & FrameMaker+SGML
cud -at- telecable -dot- es


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