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Concerning the Issue of Proper Sentence Structure and Punctuation

by Gene Poole

...the united victims of the short attention-span exert an ironic tyranny in the marketplace of words, starving themselves of the very spice which is the cure for their affliction.

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Concerning the issue of proper sentence structure and punctuation, there are a few concepts which I have found central in the most practical way. One has to do with commas:

It should be understood that a comma is actually a non-intrusive means of parenthesis (unlike the usual parenthesis, seen here). And like all parenthesis, it points to a 'parent-thesis', or the central idea, of a sentence.

The problem with 'using too many commas' is not the number of commas; rather, it is instead, that the sentence has 'too may central ideas', which necessitate the use of some kind of delineator in order to emphasize the 'central idea'.

Too many delineators confound and distract the average reader, be they commas, parenthesis, semi-colons, or even subtext footnote references (1).

It can be difficult to restrict the number of ideas in a sentence, but doing so will allow each word and concept to fly unerringly to the gland of understanding, thus to pierce what the writer (assumes to be) the (readers) veil of ignorance which itself (as evidenced in ongoing conversation) is crying out for merciful destruction... so to speak.

There are many possible styles of writing, each using a preferred protocol of punctuation. Let us consider, though, only two styles, the first being the 'compact' style:

To write compactly, is to satisfy the need to say a lot in a small number of words. This need may arise for various reasons, but not often for lack of room, as was in days past, when paper was scarce and expensive.

Technical details are best conveyed in compact form; but seeing the difficulty in technical education, a more conversational form has evolved, exemplified by the style of the "... for Dummies" series of books. Once terms are understood, they may be applied in a rapid algebra of calculation; this accomplished, technical proficiency is assumed, but not guaranteed.

The (conditioned) human tendency to 'objectify' has led to the attempt to treat human concerns in a technical manner; unfortunately, this has lead to the assumption that persons are as amenable to the compact style, as are things. Our various cultures have surrendered to the (again, conditioned) 'law of expediency', which equates the 'compact style' with learned wisdom, when in fact, that form of brevity merely conveys technical proficiency.

The syndrome of the short attention-span also demands short, concise, and 'clear' statements, but is incapable of appreciating how much more deeply nourishing, is voluntarily accepted complexity, as in fast-food VS gourmet, multi-course meals. Nonetheless, the united victims of the short attention-span exert an ironic tyranny in the marketplace of words, starving themselves of the very spice which is the cure for their affliction.

There have arisen many 'systems' reputed to convey an understanding of what is a 'person', and most such systems depend heavily upon the already-conditioned habit of objectification. Certain of these systems, however, are based upon a principle of negation, leading to eventual dismissal of all 'wrong ideas and concepts', leaving only... what is beyond description.

It is the merciful slaughter of false gods, the toppling of graven images, and the eventual disappearance of anything that serves to stand in place of the direct experience of reality itself, which is the actual good service provided by such a well-founded system. And eventually and ultimately, the last victim of (such a) system, is the system itself; that this is a necessity, has (paradoxically) been unseen, because (the system) addresses the perceptual habits of the reader/listener, directly.

I hope to have imposed upon the reader, the pull and push of the fight between the 'compact' and fully unfurled styles of writing, and if so, to have also conveyed a bit of truth; that, it is a tyrannical public which would censor those to whom they appeal for succor, based simply upon the amount of time it takes to receive and digest information.

(1) No footnote; used as example

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