Monday, November 28, 2005

What you receive may not be what you were given

I know what I have given you. I do not know what you have received.
- Antonio Porchia, writer (1886-1968)

A writer knows exactly what he wants to say, the message he wants to convey. What he has no way of knowing is what his reader will understand from his words, what message the reader will carry away from the experience.

A reader understands what he wants to understand from what he reads. He wants to read material that agrees with his concept of his world. He may disregard written material that does not conform to what he believes, despite how well proven it may be.

When he reads something that may be close to what he believes, he may seize on it as support for what he believes, or even as evidence that "others" support an opposing cause that is destructive, even if the writer had neither intention.

Whether what the writer intended is important to the reader or not is a matter of personal opinion.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' striving to make sense of a world complicated by misunderstood messages.
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