Thursday, May 22, 2008

Fashionable Non Sense

“Les cadavers exquis boiront le vin nouveau” – The exquisite cadavers shall drink the new wine
Pause for a moment and meditate upon the poetic beauty of this statement. Even if you are objectivity personified, it must still strike you as something out of the ordinary. This however is an example of words randomly strung together following the rudimentary rules of grammar. The point I’m trying to make is that randomly strung nonsensical words can sometimes make sense. But is the converse true? That intelligent sounding words logically strung together can sometimes turn out to be utter nonsense?

These are the words of Richard Dawkins:

Suppose you are an intellectual impostor with nothing to say, but with strong ambitions to succeed in academic life, collect a coterie of reverent disciples and have students around the world anoint your pages with respectful yellow highlighter. What kind of literary style would you cultivate? Not a lucid one, surely, for clarity would expose your lack of content. The chances are that you would produce something like the following:

We can clearly see that there is no bi-univocal correspondence between linear signifying links or archi-writing, depending on the author, and this multireferential, multi-dimensional machinic catalysis. The symmetry of scale, the transversality, the pathic non-discursive character of their expansion: all these dimensions remove us from the logic of the excluded middle and reinforce us in our dismissal of the ontological binarism we criticised previously.

No doubt there exist thoughts so profound that most of us will not understand the language in which they are expressed. And no doubt there is also language designed to be unintelligible in order to conceal an absence of honest thought. But how are we to tell the difference? What if it really takes an expert eye to detect whether the emperor has clothes? In particular, how shall we know whether the modish French 'philosophy', whose disciples and exponents have all but taken over large sections of American academic life, is genuinely profound or the vacuous rhetoric of mountebanks and charlatans? “

So watch out the next time you spot the CEO of a company indulging in MBA type gobbledygook such as “ We look after out customer’s interests / the road ahead / our assets are our people / our vision / strategic plan / work ethics / we will be rewarded in the long run / etc…… “ . He might just be a quack.

Finally, some food for thought for all MBA aspirants.

Disclaimer : This is almost the same article that i wrote for pragyan times

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