Shorts: Brevity Vs Verbosity

Brevity, alone, does not make you intelligent.

It is fine to speak a statement, and mean it exactly as it is said. To speak succinctly, and to the point. But the “problem” in language, is its open interpretation of it. Without clarification, you would be better off saying nothing at all. And yet it seems as though often, people regard it as profundity. As though to say, “With strength, you are delicate.” is insightful. When in fact, it provides no information at all. No evidence, and merely contradicts itself. And yet people can apply it to the self; “Well yes, I am strong, and yet I have feelings… so this is true!” … But actually that wasn’t what was said… in fact, that was just what you wanted to hear. In the context of when they wrote it, they could be a bodybuilder and have meant as your strength training increases, so too does your likelihood to injury yourself, and remain fragile. So actually, nothing of note was said, because we still don’t know what they said. So we may as well have thought to ourselves what we wanted to hear.

Obviously, the intended point of some forms of literature, such as poetry, is brevity. And it is to evoke personal feelings, discussions, and emotes, in as few a word as possible – so of course for the sake of this argument, poetry and certain forms of artistic prose are excluded.

Equally verbosity is not intrinsically the solution. With the addition of words that can be taken in multiplicity, you increase the chances of contradiction, or fulfilling a point that you did not make. Which obviously increases your appeal to a wider market, but your intended point might have never been heard. Remarkably enough, this can also allow someone to come across as intelligent or insightful, as long as someone persists long enough to find what they want. If someone were to write for twenty paragraphs, briefly touching different topics, the chances you cannot agree on a single thing they say, is insatiably low. Someone could say something horrific, bigoted, and downright rude, but if they justify it with, “We all want to move towards a brighter future for the children of tomorrow.” you would be inclined to agree with that end statement. And so you might consider something you otherwise would not have, simply because you feel like you agree on some points.

You must not hammer home the point, when it has already been made, for risk of bending the nail. But equally, it does not make you intelligent to say something to confidently, yet so vague, that it can be taken not so literally in so many different ways.

It is then important to understand, that extremes of either, do not fulfil a need, alone. We have all read poetry that makes no sense, because of its determination to succinctness, and yet we have all read books, that ramble on for hundreds more pages than they should have, to the point even the author becomes a little lost. Instead, a careful balance of the two may be the solution. To keep it brief as to say exactly what you want, without allowing for a thousand iterations of what you might have meant. Equally, try not to keep it so brief, that you almost cut it off in the middle of your –

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