Difficult Explanations

From: Lee Corbin (lcorbin@ricochet.net)
Date: Sun May 13 2001 - 23:31:54 MDT

At 08:58 PM 5/13/01 -0700, Adrian wrote:
>"Eliezer S. Yudkowsky" wrote:
>> Incidentally - this occurred to me afterwards - this is not me saying,
>> "I'm a better explainer than you, nyah nyah." This is me saying "I get
>> strongly annoyed when people say that things like this are hard to
>> explain." It symbolizes a psychological disconnect. Our instinctive
>> reactions, our automatic intuitions, carry all the necessary information.
>> Trust your intuitions enough to verbalize them.
>Well said. I would add that it can be good to verbalize them not just
>to others, but also to oneself. That way, one can know why one's
>instincts lean a certain way, and know better when to trust them - and
>when not to.

But some things really are hard to explain! Isn't it true,
for example, that some things are a lot harder to explain
over the phone? Well, some things are hard to explain, period.
For example, I don't enjoy explaining why the earliest sunset
occurs weeks before the shortest day, and the latest sunrise
occurs weeks after the shortest day, simply because it's very
difficult to explain. Has to do, I think, with the unobvious
amount of background material that is needed for some
apparently simple phenomena.

I don't quite understand the downside here. The upside is that
for certain explanations, I can be forewarned that the going is
going to be rough... (and so I can take a quick glance at my
watch and make a hasty exit :-)


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