Misunderstanding is inevitable

Karl Popper once quoted, ‘It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood.’

This statement is both obvious and elusive – we know this to be true, but we act as if it isn’t. Several conflicts, tensions, disagreements and even wars, break out because we said something that meant something else to the other person.

Most natural truths are independent of belief. Phenomenon such as gravity, evolution and probability, will function independently of our belief in them. Words are different – they depend on our beliefs. A word only works when everybody using it believes it to mean the same thing.

As we communicate, it helps to remind ourselves of Popper’s advise – that it is impossible for us to be 100% clear.

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