Are you ever reading something and, even though you recognize all of the words and they are in your native language, despite re-reading and really paying attention, you are unable to make heads or tails of what the person is trying to convey?
I consider myself to be a pretty smart and literate woman. I, actually, have a really large vocabulary (I am a voracious reader). I can understand some pretty complex concepts and break them down and explain them to other people. (To quote a line from Hamilton, which I have pretty much watched incessantly since last Friday, "I am not stupid.")
Occasionally, I try to read something and it is obvious that I am just way out of my league - I don't have the requisite background (like the Feynman lectures or the writings of Stephen Hawking). Other times I have to immerse myself in the cadences of a different style of writing. For instance I find it hard to read Charles Dickens if I am reading other things at the same time - but once I am in "Dickens Mode" it goes a lot smoother. To some degree I also notice this with some hard steampunk writings.
Sometimes, I will be reading ideas that are just brand new to me. With words and concepts that I am unfamiliar with. These are often related to philosophies or cultures other than my own. They may seem confusing at first, but with some research and careful parsing I am able to go back and glean more upon repeated exposure. (Such as with my initial forays in reading about Zen and Secular Buddhism.)
Other times, though, I will be reading something that just makes absolutely no sense to me - like people are using common Words to imply Truths and Concepts that are so foreign to my experiences and way of thinking that I want to ask for a translation. And I will see other (regular, normal, people) engaging in the dialogue, seemingly understanding exactly what is being discussed while I am sitting there, scratching my head, and thinking "Wait..what does that even MEAN?!?"
(To be fair, this also happens when I am trying to listen to the demented ramblings of the Bad Orange Man who is our POTUS - but I hear plenty of corroborating opinions from sane people that I am not the only person who finds the "word salad" spewed forth by this misogynistic racist lying sociopath to be nonsensical.
The rhetorical question that I am asking myself: Is it really worth delving down the rabbit hole to try to further my understanding of where the writer is coming from? Or can I just decide (like I did with L. Ron Hubbard's Dianetics
- after trying no less than SEVEN times to get past the second chapter!) to put it on the not-worth-my-time shelf of nonsense?