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#30091 - 09/27/09 04:16 AM Writing and Speaking
Michael A.Aquino Offline

Registered: 09/28/08
Posts: 2721
Loc: San Francisco, CA, USA
[The following article originally appeared in one of my "Black Pyramid" columns in the Scroll of Set. It occurs to me that this Forum might grok it too ...]


The brightest ideas in your head are interesting and relevant to other people only to the extent you can communicate them. While we are in incarnate mode, this means writing and speaking.

It is an unfortunate by-product of the disintegration of modern primary and secondary education that neither one of these is currently taught very well. Nor, equally regrettably, are most people even objectively aware of their own inadequacies in these skills.

We have all read articles, essays, and theoretical/ magical papers in which the author appears to be very excited about something - about which we might be similarly excited if we only had some idea what on earth he’s trying to explain.

Confused, clumsy, and incoherent writing doesn’t happen only within the Temple of Set, to be sure, but it has crept through the door more than I would personally like to see.

Therefore I commend everyone to check out a slim, cheap (US$5) book from Barnes & Noble entitled How to Write: Communicating Ideas and Information by Herbert E. Meyer & Jill M. Meyer.

Not only does this little gem tell you how to construct a piece of informative writing, it also takes note of the blizzard of media in which modern society is constantly buried. In other words, your item is going to get a relatively brief shot at someone else’s attention, much less retention. You’d better make it a good one.

Book #2 is also a Barnes & Noble book, also a slim hardcover, also cheap (US$7). Buy it at the same time you buy Book #1 - Trust me! It is called Say It In Six: How to Say Exactly What You Mean in 6 Minutes or Less by Ron Hoff.

The counterpart experience to reading the unreadable is listening to the unlistenable. How often have you writhed [in a meeting, group, or personal conversation] in polite torture, while someone raved or droned on incoherently about a topic which you had naïvely supposed would be interesting?

Have you ever considered the Lovecraftian possibility that you might be guilty of the same Liveliest Awfulness?

SII6 tells you how to make what you say interesting. But not just that, because you probably don’t want to merely entertain - you want your audience to take something useful away with them. So you need to structure what you say to frame and support that.

What’s magical about “six minutes”?

(1) Attention span: People other than Yogis are disposed to concentrate on any idea for only a few minutes. After that they begin to daydream, scratch, snooze, etc.

(2) Retention [again]: If you give an inspired, hour-long presentation, and ask attendees the next day about it, they’ll usually have a few sentences of summary at most. So figure out what you’d like those sentences to contain, and sock that to them.

SII6 tells you how to make the most of your six minutes. That’s important and useful to you not just at Temple of Set activities, but in your professional and personal/secular life as well.

Consider this extract from an academic study:

Weinshall had 34 executives in an industrial organization record their daily interactions for a two-week period. He found that 75% of the reported interactions registered in the mind of one party only. Of the 25% of communications which were mutually remembered a few hours after their occurrence, 53% were not understood by the recipient in the spirit intended by the transmitter. Thus of the total interactions reported, only 12% “got through”.

That’s how bad it is. These two little books will help enormously, and together they’re only $12.

P.S. Don’t buy them and leave them on your bookshelf unread.

P.P.S. Don’t read them once, retain 12%, and slip right back into writing and speaking mush.
Michael A. Aquino

#30104 - 09/27/09 12:03 PM Re: Writing and Speaking [Re: Michael A.Aquino]
Caladrius Offline

Registered: 07/25/09
Posts: 339
Loc: SoCal
I have a quick question, or not a question, but a something and it's not an attack. I actually respect your intelligence Mr. A.

You said:

"The brightest ideas in your head are interesting and relevant to other people only to the extent you can communicate them. While we are in incarnate mode, this means writing and speaking."

I agree with this but isn't something left out in the equation though?

When I hear the word "communicate" I think of two people talking: Person A & Person B.

Now if Person A went to school, got an education, and even read those two books and majored in English and literature, and he really knew how to articulate his thoughts in the form of writing; BUT, Person B was a complete retard hillbilly: What then is Person A to do to be understood by the retard.

Is not Person B also 50% of what is "Communication?" If that other half does not apprehend Person A's thoughts, no matter how intelligent and articulate his thoughts are presented; or if Person B misunderstands or misinterprets what Person A was actually saying/writing; then Person A is still not understood, because there is no "communication."

Would it not also be up to Person B to somehow learn to accurately understand and apprehend other's thoughts?

I should add something before I am misunderstood:

In my opinion, as I see it, we each may use the same cluster of objective words [pretending we all speak English] BUT we each give each word we use our own unique touch and quality or subjective valuation. For example:

The word: Hillbilly.

Objectively it's just a string of 9 letters, which generically denotes a person from the mountains. I don't have Webster at hand. But when I use the word I process the word subjectively and somewhere in the process, this word is given the subjective valuation of any dumb person living east of the Rocky Mountains; which includes Texas and even Canada. Cuz, lets face it, Canada's not even a country, It's like Wyoming's and Alaska's back yard.

Anyways, There is the problem with Communication: The subjective value or qualities we unconsciously or subconsciously ascribe to each word we use IS different in quality to another person's EVEN if they are the same objective words. It may infact not be dependent on how erudite one is.

Edited by Caladrius (09/27/09 12:17 PM)

#30105 - 09/27/09 12:18 PM Re: Writing and Speaking [Re: Caladrius]
Morgan Offline

Registered: 08/29/07
Posts: 2956
Loc: New York City
Person A would have to "dumb-down" his information.

This happens all the time as when trying to get simple information to masses of people. You dumb information down so anyone with a elementry school education can understand it. This is also a reason why religion spreads, you don't have to read it, you just have to listen to a preacher. It is also the reason why up until the 1970's masses were done in Latin.

Person B doesn't have to do anything. If Person A is the one trying to communicate their ideas, the responsibility for doing that falls with him.

It doesn't matter if an idea is good, if it can not be successfully explained to a wide audience by the person opening their mouth, they fail.

Side note, what is up with you?
It almost like 2 different people, previously you were clear and respectful in your posts, now recently, you post like a dick.

Courage Conquering Fear
Fuck em if they can't take a joke
Don't Like What I Say, Kiss My Ass

#30111 - 09/27/09 04:07 PM Re: Writing and Speaking [Re: Michael A.Aquino]
Asmedious Moderator Offline
senior member

Registered: 09/02/07
Posts: 1826
Loc: New York
Thank you for the suggestion regarding those two books. Just ordered both from B&B used books sellers, for under $12.00, including shipping.
"The first order of government is the protection of its citizens right to be left alone."

#30112 - 09/27/09 04:35 PM Re: Writing and Speaking [Re: Asmedious]
Ankhhape Offline

Registered: 07/28/09
Posts: 99
The brightest ideas in your head are interesting and relevant to other people only to the extent you can communicate them. While we are in incarnate mode, this means writing and speaking.
Though I find myself hard-pressed to comment on anything by Dr. Aquino (I apologize in advance for what will probably be just another form of chewing the mental cud), I must say that being a musician and composer I find there to be many other avenues of communication between ‘mortals' while presently incarnated.

This is my only comment in regard to the information presented, which is of course a lesser note in respect to a greater letter by Dr. Aquino.

#30162 - 09/29/09 01:26 PM Re: Writing and Speaking [Re: Michael A.Aquino]
Myrddin Derwydd Offline

Registered: 09/11/09
Posts: 19

The following article originally appeared in one of my "Black Pyramid" columns in the Scroll of Set. It occurs to me that this Forum might grok it too ...

Certainly some posters at the Temple of Set discussion forum could benefit from the practice of the ideas expressed in the two recommended books. Certainly some posters here could benefit from the same resource. I'll admit to curiosity and ordered them because a) they didn't cost much, b) I'm curious regarding the merit of a Michael A. Aquino recommendation, and c) I “grok” it regarding the value of communication and ongoing self improvement/awareness.

The Black Pyramid article, however, brings up good points regarding the perceived importance of communication both printed and verbal. It's difficult to read a discussion forum where some individuals treat it according to posted rules while others confuse it with a Twitter Tweet and don't bother to even self check smelling. [oops I mean spelling]

Life experience teaches us many things. Something it has taught me is that lack of self control is NOT a product of education alone. I've met plenty of educated idiots and a few people that did well to finish High School and were smart. Self control, or the ability to manage impulse, is a developed talent. Certainly there are factors that affect it but keeping a keen focus on it is certainly a Black Magical skill that will serve one in both the ritual chamber and in mundane existence regardless of formal education. It's out wits that make us who we are not our framed certificates or degrees.

#30167 - 09/29/09 02:32 PM Re: Writing and Speaking [Re: Michael A.Aquino]
Michael A.Aquino Offline

Registered: 09/28/08
Posts: 2721
Loc: San Francisco, CA, USA
In answer to the unasked question, no, I didn't have anyone here in mind when initiating this thread. It was just well-intentioned "good advice".

I taught undergraduate/upper-division Political Science 1980-86 at Golden Gate University in San Francisco. My courses were essay/report intensive; I am a foe of mutiple-choice/blankfill memorization games. I was abruptly dismayed by the quality of student writing, for which I generally blamed inadequate primary & secondary education. Hence the first couple of hours of each of my courses consisted of a crashcram of grammar & composition.

I also looked around for a cheap, to-the-point book to recommend to students, and that led me to this B&N thing. There are certainly others around, to your taste & pocketbook.

Say It In Six was sitting on the B&N cheapie shelf next to it. This also got my attention, not just because of the communication/retention issues cited in my initial post above, but because in my undergraduate studies I [like, I'm sure, many of you] often suffered the yackyack circle of Hell listening to brilliant but tonguetied lecturers gabble on.

One prof whose lectures were not only coherent but a real delight was Raghavan Iyer. I once asked him about this, and he responded that one of the elements of his education at Oxford was Rhetoric, which in American universities is not a usual requirement, and frequently not even offered.

Iyer, incidentally, was a great friend. He was a supercheese in the Theosophical Society - you can read some of his stuff here - and he also knew of my background. This resulted in some very esoteric verbal exchanges between us in his grad seminars, while the other students wondered WTF. He was a health food fiend, but mystifyingly also chainsmoked thin black Indian cigarettes that were arguably marinated in nitric acid.

The bastard always gave me "A-" grades. When I griped about this once, he said that any other student would have received an "A" for the same work, but because of my initiatory potential he wanted to keep me "challenged". Thanks, Rags.
Michael A. Aquino

#30181 - 09/30/09 01:23 PM Re: Writing and Speaking [Re: Michael A.Aquino]
mattie Offline

Registered: 08/27/09
Posts: 94
Loc: Lat: 36.081, Lon: -96.179
Thank you for the post Mr. Aquino.

One day I intend to teach illustration rather than continue working as an illustrator. These may come in handy, as I am admittedly not the best public speaker.

#30941 - 10/29/09 03:01 PM Re: Writing and Speaking [Re: Michael A.Aquino]
Born Offline

Registered: 10/17/09
Posts: 22
Loc: Ontario, Canada
As you've done here, key point structure is an obvious trait in effective written communication. As is the case with presentation or public speaking. Some are rarely able to put forth their ideas simply because they are of limited capacity. Of course this rings true for the 'audience' as well...or both.

In public speaking...presentation, aesthetics, confidence, tone of voice etc. are some key factors. When in Community College, my Psychology Professor was often animated, stuck to key points, and was a master in getting students to hang on his words through ranges in vocal tone and so forth. I obviously can not vouch that my colleagues all shared the same opinion however.

When a person prepares their own work, often the mistake is the assumption that their audience is on the same level of mental capacity (as pointed out in the A&B scenario). Society as it is; knowledge is more 'spoon-fed' and subjective to the author's ideals rather than the 'core value' of the information presented. In instances like this, I see something that I can only equate to 'voluntary retardation'. Once a mind submits to the comfort of having others think for it...

I'm not always completely effective in putting forth my ideas in written word. Public speaking in my life consists of 'sizing up' my customers (I'm a business owner), suppliers, agents, etc. Many times it can be beneficial (especially in sales) to 'mimic the mark' so to speak. Often there's a need to downgrade my vocabulary or reduce to 'slang' for the truly inept.

My skills within the social arena are not yet within full 'refinement', but I am successful (if only monetary) in the social / literary skills I currently possess. I appreciate the book recommendations. I plan to add them to my library and utilize the content therein for further progress.

Kudo's Mr. Aquino.
Without innate intelligence civilization would never have been created. When intelligence declines..

#44146 - 11/17/10 08:50 AM Re: Writing and Speaking [Re: Born]
John Dark Offline

Registered: 09/20/10
Posts: 6
I need to do a lot of work on effective communication. I'll order these titles right away. Thank you Dr. Aquino!

Best regards,

- John Dark

#44776 - 12/09/10 07:07 AM Re: Writing and Speaking [Re: John Dark]
John Dark Offline

Registered: 09/20/10
Posts: 6
Dear Dr. Aquino,

The books have arrived and I'm starting them next week. Thank you for your advice!

Best regards,

John Dark

Edited by John Dark (12/09/10 07:09 AM)

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