But it also has more sinister implications. It fosters cults of personality, whereby the guru recruits those willing to learn the lingo into his own little army of followers. Education becomes an exercise in cloning, rather than thinking.
Finally, and most sinister of all, by constructing a wall of gnostic nonsense, jargon precludes any criticism from those outside the guild of True Believers ....
... Years ago, while I was on faculty at the University of Nottingham, a colleague and I used to play a game with the students. We would give them a quiz consisting of paragraphs drawn from great theologians and philosophers, which they had to attribute. In every quiz we included one paragraph of complete gibberish, which we had made up ourselves over a pint of beer in the faculty club. Words such as “alterity,” “the Other,” and “subjectification” abounded, along with nouns used as verbs and a plethora of hyphenated neologisms and random capitalizations. The students never failed to attempt some kind of attribution (Paul Tillich, I think, was usually the most popular) and to profess admiration for the depth of thought and insight contained in the paragraph.
There is a lesson there. Perhaps the dumbest man in the room is not the man who cannot understand gibberish, but the man who cannot see gibberish for what it is. And perhaps the most dangerous people on campus are those who understand this human weakness and take full, cynical advantage of it. (emphasis is mine)
It's easy to bamboozle people with obscure meaningless jargon, seeking to impress them with your knowledge and elite status. The video at the top is a great example.
On the other hand, it's far more challenging to communicate simply and concisely on a level the recipient can easily grasp. The teaching of Jesus is masterful in both simplicity and concise content. It's somewhat astonishing that the omnipotent God - who could have easily fried our comprehension - instead elucidates His teaching to a level that the common person can comprehend. In so doing, He infuriated the learned religious scholars of the day who prided themselves on being the gatekeepers of religious knowledge.
As our culture spins out of control, the politicians, media pundits, educators, business leaders and self-proclaimed "experts" mask their incompetence, ignorance and sometimes deceit behind a bulwark of verbal and written nonsense. Like the hucksters of yesteryear, they scam the culture with the 21st century version of snake-oil. But we can take refuge in the practical wisdom freely offered to all by a mercful and gracious God. In so doing, we effectively shield ourselves from the deceitful nonsense of the age.
- the dumbest person is the one who cannot see gibberish for what it is,
- the dangerous person is the one who understands this weakness and uses it to control others,
- the wise person is the one who recognizes and ignores the nonsense.
To know wisdom and instruction,
to understand words of insight,
to receive instruction in wise dealing,
in righteousness, justice, and equity;
to give prudence to the simple,
knowledge and discretion to the youth—
Let the wise hear and increase in learning,
and the one who understands obtain guidance,
to understand a proverb and a saying,
the words of the wise and their riddles.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge;
fools despise wisdom and instruction.
(Prov 1:1-7, ESV))