Something I’m finding to be an especially egregious problem in the world today is the lack of clarity in communications. For a good while now, I’ve noticed that people tend to word their conversations in such a way as to avoid actually making a clear, decisive statement one way or the other. This way, if the point that they are waving and gesticulating towards is somehow proven wrong at a later point, they can then go back and say, “Well, no, see, you missed what I was getting at, what I really meant was…”
This infuriates me. It’s not even so much the fact that I don’t do it– I certainly could, if the thought of doing so didn’t make me want to vomit out my lower intestines and strangle myself with them– it’s that people have been doing it so long that they seem to not even realize that they’re doing it. There’s no clear answers anymore, no straight up definition of facts. Anyone trying to tell you that their discourse is the truth is automatically lying, and while that may be harshly cynical, more often than not, it’s borne out as being a pretty reliable barometer.
The worst part is that when the inevitable confusion does arise, the fault is somehow turned on the person who did misunderstand. After all, listening skills are important, and if someone isn’t able to follow “simple, clear directions” then it reflects fantastically poorly on them. The speaker is never in the wrong, because the speaker can always weasel out of it. The burden of communications is put on the listener, and if that listener has the foresight to ask for clarification, they’re either brushed off entirely or the situation is muddied even further.
Apparently nobody actually learned anything from the fable of the Tower of Babel. Which, of course, doesn’t surprise me.