This audio file (WMA file, maybe requires Windows Media Player) captures my thoughts on Twitter! It's a podcast by satirist Brian Unger.
Where there is no exaggeration there is no love, and where there is no love there is no understanding. It is only about things that do not interest one, that one can give a really unbiased opinion; and this is no doubt the reason why an unbiased opinion is always valueless.
Once we form opinions, we tend to overvalue information that reinforces them and undervalue information that undermines them (conservatism bias). We even tend to seek out supporting information (confirmatory bias). Thus, we irrationally cling to incorrect conclusions, and, to paraphrase Simon and Garfunkel, hear what we want to hear and disregard the rest.
Eric Schmidt (CEO of Google):
You learn when people talk.... You don't learn very much when you yourself are talking.
You can get so well educated in America that your thoughts become detached from common sense. You can get so complicated in your thinking that the obvious isn't real to you anymore.
From George Orwell's 1946 essay, Politics and the English Language:
This mixture of vagueness and sheer incompetence is the most marked characteristic of modern English prose, and especially of any kind of political writing. As soon as certain topics are raised, the concrete melts into the abstract and no one seems able to think of turns of speech that are not hackneyed: prose consists less and less of words chosen for the sake of their meaning, and more and more of phrases tacked together like the sections of a prefabricated hen-house.
A scrupulous writer, in every sentence that he writes, will ask himself at least four questions, thus: What am I trying to say? What words will express it? What image or idiom will make it clearer? Is this image fresh enough to have an effect? And he will probably ask himself two more: Could I put it more shortly? Have I said anything that is avoidably ugly?
When there is a gap between one's real and one's declared aims, one turns as it were instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish spurting out ink.
... correct grammar and syntax, which are of no importance so long as one makes one's meaning clear...
What is above all needed is to let the meaning choose the word, and not the other way around.
Never use a long word where a short one will do.
If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.
Never use the passive where you can use the active.
Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.
Political language ... is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.
Milton Friedman (1975):
The maintenance of a free society is a very difficult and complicated thing. And it requires a self-denying ordinance of the most extreme kind. It requires a willingness to put up with temporary evils on the basis of the subtle and sophisticated understanding that if you step in to try to do them, you not only may make them ... worse, but you will spread your tentacles and get bad results elsewhere....
The argument for collectivism, for government doing something is simple. Anybody can understand it. If there's something wrong, pass a law. If somebody is in trouble, get Mr. X to help him out. The argument for a free - for voluntary cooperation, for a free market is not nearly so simple. It says, you know, if you allow people to cooperate voluntarily and don't interfere with them, indirectly through the operation of the market, they will improve matters more than you can improve it directly by appointing somebody. That's a subtle argument, and it's hard for people to understand,
From Nietzsche's Human, All Too Human: Not suited to be a party man
He who thinks a great deal is not suited to be a party man: he thinks his way through the party and out the other side too soon. (Volume 1, §579)
Steve Martin (with similar quotes by Elvis Costello and others - see this update):
Talking about music is like dancing about architecture.