" … either overwhelmed by Too Much Information or underwhelmed by far too little."

Cluelessness carries a paradox. Too little information cannot always be resolved by simply providing more, like water resolves thirst or food, hunger. Too Much Information can induce cluelessness every bit as vacuous as too little. The detailed specification might leave the fabricator overwhelmed. On the other hand, mere rumor probably won't suffice as meaningful instruction, either. The more anal systems analyst might insist upon producing essentially executable pseudo-code while the more cavalier coder prefers to iteratively refactor, no sweet spot seems to exist in the middle of this eternal muddle.

The Bible opts for analogy and metaphor, seeking to induce rather than instruct, but then many insist upon interpreting as if they were not interpreting at all, sticking to the literal meanings as if those weren't interpretations, then blaming the resulting tangles on heresy and worse.
Proof doesn't always (or even often) emerge from anybody's pudding and the more we spec, the more we seem to mystify somebody. Some prefer pictorial representations while others seem picture-blind. Narratives might be crafted for any of an array of cognitive levels, satisfying some while confusing or boring others. I prefer spoken instructions. Almost nobody provides these.

Stories sometimes work, subject to usual cautions. Prose styles vary wildly. I cannot unwrap some best-selling writers' prose. Attention swerves all over the place. The best-loved classics seem indecipherable to most, producing an elite cadre of readers and a rabble of those unwashed and unmoved, mystified over the apparent allure. Brief sketches satisfy some. Only tomes satisfy others. When The Muse and I took delivery of The Schooner, it came with a voluminous user manual, complete with associated web site. I knew by simply seeing the size of the instruction set that I would henceforth remain clueless about much of the operation of the vehicle. I might (and notice that I said MIGHT) be able to reference necessary information when a specific need arose, given the semi-unlikely event that I could imagine the name the manufacturer assigned to that particular function. I've forever felt stymied by my lack of shared language with those who engineer. Who, I wonder, would have ever though that would have been called THAT?

I seem destined to mumble and stumble through, clueless whatever I try. My friend Lynn is forever suggesting that I simply Google for an answer. I'm one of those for whom Google provides no clear support. It seems capable of providing either too much or too little information, and I often find that I can uncover no information at all about a specific topic. Of course, The Muse produces a million hits when she searches the exact same query. It's an enduring mystery to me how some seem to land smack dab in the middle of milk and honey every time while the rest of us (or is it just me?) belly-flop cluelessly into an enduring information desert, either overwhelmed by Too Much Information or underwhelmed by far too little.

©2018 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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