It's always ''hard to say''.

Anchor for this item  posted Monday, June 26, 2006 at 11:02 am MST

In his "Say what?" Jon Udell responds to a comment about his writing style. (He self-deprecatingly called it a "dope slap" ... Jon's the sorta fellow who knows the benefits arise from proper user of a clue stick or clue by 4.) BTW "Say what?" is an allusion to Ami Hendrickson's blog, ''Muse Ink''. Later in the piece Jon describes a system users Eureka momet ... "we bought the wrong kind of software" ... yaa, that! (Out of the mouths of illiterati?). That moved me to this reply:
With allusion ot "vague queries" and social software: the person may not have said what they meant (lacking the qualities and training to do appropriately precise failure mode identification) but they meant what they said! p.s. I was pondering how sophistry ham-strings development ... because we are fallible and our knowledge is limited we have a righteous need for explanations; excuses distract and mis-lead."
But really ... elsewhere I essayed a bit on sophistry at a political level (as a comment to "Blair's Moral Barbarism").
"I was wondering about how sophistry ("excuses") so frequently has a sour, caustic, bitter tone to it. Perhaps because the individual is a) dreading being exposed as a coward, and b) in denial concerning having actually and really made a choice. We can produce explanations. We can, otherwise, produce rationalizations. But really, don't you think it's very sad (tragic?) that most folk are geared up to make good use of excuses?"
Rhetoric is useful ... when your intention is to land a man on the moon and get him back safely you need to pick one plan from the short list. Getting all hands to haul along that line takes skilfull use of language. But sophistry ... that would endanger the entire project, along with peoples' lives. Sophistry ham-strings development; because we are fallible and our knowledge is limited we have a righteous need for explanations; excuses distract and mis-lead. It's always hard to say what we mean ... but we're morally bound to mean what we say; otherwise is corruption of one sort or another.


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