Impenetratable barrier

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EstLladon
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Impenetratable barrier

Postby EstLladon » Tue Aug 19, 2008 7:02 am UTC

Sometimes I have this problem when I understand something really good (or so it seems), but fail to explain it to others. My words do not make sense and leave people confused. For english language doubly so. I have lost some good ideas forever because they dissolve as I try to write them down. It is kinda like trying to remember a dream.

Am I delusional and my ideas never really make any sense, or it is a communicational failure? If it is the latter what can I do to fix it? Is everything expressible in words? Can there be a good idea that is not expressible in words and we need to come up with something else to reach it?
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Re: Impenetratable barrier

Postby CVSoul » Tue Aug 19, 2008 7:05 am UTC

You have no idea how often this happens to me. I have yet to find a way around it. I guess some people are just better at teaching things than others or something... But when I try to explain something complex or something I specialize in, I can't word it right and eventually end up talking really fast until everyone leaves.

Sympathy +1
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Re: Impenetratable barrier

Postby Iori_Yagami » Tue Aug 19, 2008 7:57 am UTC

Joining the club...
Explaining requires special knowledge, skills and effort, not just knowing the subject. Most good scientists and engineers are poor teachers and vice versa, I think. And sometimes formulas, diagrams, and graphs speak better than words - try that!
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EstLladon
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Re: Impenetratable barrier

Postby EstLladon » Tue Aug 19, 2008 12:36 pm UTC

It is not only about teaching. Also it is about arguments, when I must fight not only against my difficulties with delivering good points, but also with unwillngness of the opponent to accept them.
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Re: Impenetratable barrier

Postby SecondTalon » Tue Aug 19, 2008 12:46 pm UTC

Stop ending your spoken sentences with the word "asshole". People will pay more attention to you and be less argumentative.

Oh, you want a serious answer? Explain something as you would in speech so we can diagnose the problem.
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Re: Impenetratable barrier

Postby poleboy » Tue Aug 19, 2008 12:52 pm UTC

Arguing is hard. Push too hard and people retreat into their own circle of logic. But if you don't push hard enough, it will seem like you don't believe in your own argument.
I think the most important thing is to always analyze your own argument before someone else does and pushes you off balance.

EstLladon
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Re: Impenetratable barrier

Postby EstLladon » Tue Aug 19, 2008 1:09 pm UTC

SecondTalon wrote:Stop ending your spoken sentences with the word "asshole". People will pay more attention to you and be less argumentative.

Oh, you want a serious answer? Explain something as you would in speech so we can diagnose the problem.


It is rather hard to do because I do not really talk in English to anybody except myself (there is a related thing - when I talk to myself in english I speak much better english then I do on rare occasions I need to talk in it to someone else).

I guess you can take any of my longer posts... though I tend to write them in non-linear way - write half a sentence, start another one, then go back and continue writing the first one, stop to think, delete it all together, repeat. And still they sometimes fail to deliver the message I wanted to put in them when I started writing.
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Re: Impenetratable barrier

Postby '; DROP DATABASE;-- » Tue Aug 19, 2008 6:18 pm UTC

That probably has a lot to do with it. The brain has little stack space. Finish writing one sentence before you start another.
EstLladon wrote:Is everything expressible in words?
Hell no. Most things are, but not all.
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Re: Impenetratable barrier

Postby Raiku » Tue Aug 19, 2008 9:47 pm UTC

'; DROP DATABASE;-- wrote:That probably has a lot to do with it. The brain has little stack space. Finish writing one sentence before you start another.
EstLladon wrote:Is everything expressible in words?
Hell no. Most things are, but not all.


Actually, I would say most things aren't-and it's a pain when I say something really witty in your mind, but when you say it it can't actually be understood, even by yourself... It ruins so many moments...

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Re: Impenetratable barrier

Postby antonfire » Tue Aug 19, 2008 10:18 pm UTC

I claim that if you think you understand something, but you can't explain it to somebody else, you probably don't understand it nearly as well as you think.
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Re: Impenetratable barrier

Postby Malsies » Tue Aug 19, 2008 10:29 pm UTC

I have this problem usually when I'm trying to explain something that is funny to me. I can't explain why it was funny. I just know that, for some reason, it made me laugh. Consequently, I find myself alone in my humor most of the time.
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Re: Impenetratable barrier

Postby The_Truth » Wed Aug 20, 2008 12:40 am UTC

Have you ever played the original SIMS? (if so) do you remember how you spent time in front of the mirror in order to gain charisma points? (if not, no big deal, you get the idea)

Same basic idea. Attempt to look yourself in the mirror and explain it to yourself. Act as if though the person you see in the mirror knows near nothing about what you are talking about, going through it step by step by step. Usually if you can do this, and you can aptly reach your conclusion, you will win at life (or at least explaining things.)(usually winning at life follows shortly.) I had your problem until roughly 8th grade when my math teacher suggested I do it (for the reason that I didn't show work and stuff on tests and I couldn't explain how I got the right answer during class) and it has worked incredably thus far. It can have a side effect of a boost in confidence too!

Sounds rather stupid, works quite well. Windows at nighttime work too.

EDIT: sorry, that was somewhat of a ramble on a tangent to what you're asking. No, everything can't be expressed by words, but body language can always help (unless it's math related, then that won't do much.) Anyway, I think I know what you're getting at. just think of it as your brain throwing out an idea it doesn't like :wink:
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Re: Impenetratable barrier

Postby DoomyDoom » Wed Aug 20, 2008 2:25 am UTC

I have a similar problem sometimes.

I try to explain something to someone, usually some complicated idea..and my brain tries to do it all at once. I have trouble breaking things down for people, I guess. It wouldn't be a problem if the rest of the human race would learn telepathy like I did.

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Re: Impenetratable barrier

Postby Seremite » Wed Aug 20, 2008 2:48 am UTC

That would be why I don't talk much.
And why it takes me so long to write things out.

antonfire wrote:I claim that if you think you understand something, but you can't explain it to somebody else, you probably don't understand it nearly as well as you think.

I very much disagree with this. The problem isn't necessarily in the understanding, but in the ability to communicate. In my case, it's almost as though I don't think in English, and I have difficulty translating my thoughts so everyone else can understand it.
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Re: Impenetratable barrier

Postby greeneggsnoham » Wed Aug 20, 2008 4:19 am UTC

I like to think I am good at explaining things. I can take complicated concepts, break them down, and relate them in a logical way that makes sense to the listener. The truth is that's about 90% of what consultants do.

What I envy is you people who have ideas that are worth communicating. All I seem to do is take the brilliance of others and attempt to make sense of them. I'm just a middle man.

Oh. And if there's an attractive woman listening, all of my communication skills run and hide and all that comes out is "BLAAAAAGGHADFASDA" and then my face turns red.

Would be funny if I weren't in my 30s...

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Re: Impenetratable barrier

Postby stockpot » Wed Aug 20, 2008 5:24 am UTC

It is rather hard to do because I do not really talk in English to anybody except myself (there is a related thing - when I talk to myself in english I speak much better english then I do on rare occasions I need to talk in it to someone else).

I guess you can take any of my longer posts... though I tend to write them in non-linear way - write half a sentence, start another one, then go back and continue writing the first one, stop to think, delete it all together, repeat. And still they sometimes fail to deliver the message I wanted to put in them when I started writing.


Try practicing more. Try writing stuff in English (by hand) on a regular basis. Not much, just ten minutes, half an hour every day. Edit less.

EstLladon
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Re: Impenetratable barrier

Postby EstLladon » Thu Aug 21, 2008 7:06 am UTC

The_Truth wrote:Have you ever played the original SIMS? (if so) do you remember how you spent time in front of the mirror in order to gain charisma points? (if not, no big deal, you get the idea)

Same basic idea. Attempt to look yourself in the mirror and explain it to yourself. Act as if though the person you see in the mirror knows near nothing about what you are talking about, going through it step by step by step. Usually if you can do this, and you can aptly reach your conclusion, you will win at life (or at least explaining things.)(usually winning at life follows shortly.) I had your problem until roughly 8th grade when my math teacher suggested I do it (for the reason that I didn't show work and stuff on tests and I couldn't explain how I got the right answer during class) and it has worked incredably thus far. It can have a side effect of a boost in confidence too!

Sometimes I try and eplain something to myself. Without mirror, though. I understand myself. Also I'm not good at tricking myself - I cannot really pretend that something is real when it is clearly not. And not good at the whole "putting myself in other peoples' shoes" (is it a correct idiom?) business.
No, everything can't be expressed by words, but body language can always help (unless it's math related, then that won't do much.) Anyway, I think I know what you're getting at. just think of it as your brain throwing out an idea it doesn't like :wink:

Body language is no help. I think that any human language (be it natural one, body one etc.) is not that good at describing what is really going on in the universe because it initially had different purpose - human interaction, not world describing. Unfortunately, it is the best we have.
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Re: Impenetratable barrier

Postby 3fj » Thu Aug 21, 2008 11:18 pm UTC

I have this problem when trying to argue with my flatmate. He doesn't seem to grasp what i mean when i say stuff, and end up winning the argument by putting on his serious pants and superior 'splaning logic.
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Re: Impenetratable barrier

Postby Bakemaster » Fri Aug 22, 2008 9:59 pm UTC

The idiom is correct, EstLladon.

Not everything can be explained in words. I think most things can be explained in words, but sometimes it is extremely difficult, since the work is double—you have to explain well, and the other person also has to understand correctly. When you think you are explaining well, but the person is not understanding, I would try using metaphor and analogy. You can compare two complex situations with very simple words, and greatly reduce the problems of language.
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