Monday, April 25, 2011

Bon mot for the week

"Never express yourself more clearly than you are able to think."

Niels Bohr  (1885-1962)


JES said...

Ha. Words to live by, but not a problem I tend to have... I tend to speak and write more clearly than I can assemble the thought behind the words! Which sounds like a good thing, in some ways, but it boils down to: I often have no confidence that what I've said is what I meant to say. :)

Froog said...

It sounds as thought that is exactly the problem of which Bohr speaks, JES!

I suppose the main danger he was concerned about was over-simplification. In the sciences especially, there must be a danger that trying to distil complex - almost inexpressible - concepts into words will necessarily dilute or distort them.

Also, comprehensibility may not always be an unqualified good. We like complexity and muddle and enigma. You don't always want other people to understand you - certainly not more fully than you understand yourself.