hans groen *17 09 1959 - †11 08 2022

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incomprehensibility curve

The final answer to why it is so difficult to explain new ideas.

All illuminating knowledge starts with the spark where someone realizes what the solution for a problem is. Fill in anything: the relation between mass and energy, or establishing a just social order. This person, at point A, has a very simple, maybe trivial idea. But almost nobody understands it, because others think it too trivial, or do not see the problem in the first place, or are too lazy.
Next, this person works out this initial idea. More people now understand it, and the complexity of the solution grows — the little spark has to connect with existing knowledge, and it has to prove that it is really a helpful addition to our knowledge.
At B, it has reached the university: now a good number of people understand the idea and it has developed into accepted theory.
After that, it will gradually become common knowledge, loosing again complexity and at the same time, being understood by more and more people. Eventually, at point C, it has become trivial again.

The point to remember is, that as long as your idea is between A and B, only selected people will be able to understand it. One has to try to roll the idea uphill till B, after which one can have it ‘land’ wherever one wants: at college level, high school level, kindergarten. Even your mother-in-law might get it now, at ‘C’, just before it becomes trivial again.

Posted in Alternative Encyclopedia