On How Truth Ought to be Written
Clarity is not only a virtue; it may in many cases be a vice. While the easy communication of ideas is certainly served by clearness, an EASY communication is not necessarily a GOOD communication. While simple facts might best be delivered this way, profounder truths ought to be respected for their profundity, and stored in a labyrinth, not a courtyard; if the mind grasps something easily, it is liable to forget it. Moreover, a mind can more efficaciously be brought to understand if it is forced to THINK, rather than encouraged to memorize.
Each case ought to be judged by its own merits. For example, in news and politics, and in many matters comparing widely diffused topics, or immensely complex questions of nature or man’s ways, it is usually appropriate to discuss them simply, for the ideas themselves are hard enough and, in order for this intensely practical discussion to be fully understood by its readers, it is only necessary that they know so much.
But the sages of old wrote with serpent tongues for a purpose. In matters relating to that essence of the universe flowing through all things and especially man- that is, many questions of morals, ethics, metaphysics, and politics to some degree- it is oftentimes best to write in riddles and rhymes. These matters- immeasurably more critical to the development of the spirit than any of those discussable by simple speech- require thought and understanding, and if the student believes himself to understand them on the first read, they truly know nothing. They must read passages again and again- they must ponder them, not only in the situation of the study-room but the situation of life- they must develop that relationship with the words of old which can only be described as the love of wisdom.
Therefore, let he would be wise master both sorts of writing- the practical, that he may live in the world, and the mystical, that he may live in the universe.