Sometimes I think that I am really dumb and boring and it appears that most of my acquaintances agree with that observation. I say that because they try to ignore me when I talk about almost anything that I find interesting. People want to talk about their personal problems and social relationships and not about ideas. Rarely will anyone I know listen to an idea more than a sentence of two without interrupting and drifting off into a schizophrenic dream. The instant they realize the conversation has slipped out of the general realm of personal quibble, they get antsy. I like to kid myself into thinking it isn’t because they are crazy but rather because I stimulate some thought or another in their head and they just have to get it out. The unpleasant alternative is that I really am dumb, uncreative and therefore boring. However, this constant problem does wear one down after a half century or so.
I make an effort to support my friends in what ever it is they are attempting to do but rarely do they reciprocate that favor and after talking about some idea I am interested in for more than a minute some of my “friends” will literally tell me to shut up and never talk about that idea again. This happens to me quite frequently. It happens with one of my linguist friends who has shut me down on an infinity of ideas saying such things as, “That is just not how language works! So forget it!” which is usually stated in an angry exasperated tone of voice. I have heard that exact phrase relative to all sorts of language ideas which I have explored and so very few of them ever get written down. I give out this whiny plaint because I like everyone else, I suppose, has moments of self doubt. This type of put-down is especially hurtful when it is stated relative to creative thoughts because they are the most fragile of all thoughts. Bigotry is easy to shout out because it usually has a major component of publicly accepted “truth” lurking somewhere in its rhetoric. It is a compilation of a couple of random generally accepted facts assumed to be true by other bigoted persons.
New ideas are based on a new view, or a new twist on something already known and so are not accepted because they don’t fit the old view. There are lots of old saws on this subject. “All truth passes through three stages: First, it is ridiculed; Second, it is violently opposed; and Third, it is accepted as self-evident.” When it reaches this final stage of self-evident acceptance it is entering the realm of unthinking bigotry. Here below are some ideas which I published years ago as Probaway – Numbers Contraction and Probaway – The Metric System Contracted For Easy Use which were so simple as to be self evident and obvious but which have received the usual howls of disapproval from everyone I showed them to. But now totally unknown to me the Chinese language has a similar simple system built right into their numbering system. This was just published in Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers which I hadn’t looked at because I supposed it was a derivative spin off of one of my favorite books, The Black Swan by Nassim Nicholas Taleb. In Outliers on page 227 -32 Gladwell describes the method the Chinese have used for counting and computing which uses single syllable words for the numbers and the operations. This is very similar to what I wrote up independently but I based my system on the standard English words for those numbers. I did a similar thing to the Metric System and to the written form of western style language. All of these things have now been around for at least ten years but receive nothing but howls of derision from anyone I show them to. It is time to take a bath.