How can it be argued that language and logic are two major tricksters in matters of understanding?

Answer by Jim Ashby:

Thanks for the A2A, Vishwas.

  • “It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood.” ~Karl Popper
  • “All the truth in the world adds up to one big lie.” ~Bob Dylan
  • “By and large, language is a tool for concealing the truth.” ~George Carlin

Humans are irreducibly subjective. We can never be perfectly objective. We perceive reality via limited senses and those perceptions are further degraded by our error-prone brains. It's virtually impossible for us to relate beyond our own experience.

The good news is that our intelligence and understanding produces a reasonable facsimile of reality. A facsimile reliable enough to accomplish amazing feats of technology and scientific discovery.

When dealing with the external world, the disciplined approach we take with science can be applied to communication as well. We can convey, with words, reasonable facsimiles of our thoughts and ideas. We can't eliminate misinterpretations but we can usually express ourselves adequately enough for most situations.

When dealing with the internal world, it can be more difficult to convey our thoughts and ideas. Anybody who has tried to explain what an acid trip is like knows what I mean. The more subjective the concepts, the more difficult it can be to express them. Our deepest insights and emotions can elude verbal description. Poetry, music and other art-forms can often communicate internal experiences better than prose can. Art just might be the most human form of expression. Some things just are . . . there's no logic to them.

How can it be argued that language and logic are two major tricksters in matters of understanding?

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