The tyranny of explanations! Maybe it’s too strong a word, but have you ever read a character description in a novel and found it to be so detailed that nothing, absolutely nothing has been left to the imagination. It happened to me the other day and I couldn’t help but feel a little cheated. I have a feeling that some of the most powerful characterizations are often found in a few well chosen words with the rest being left to the mind’s eye.
That said, certain forms of detailed explanation are important and even necessary, especially in the case of concepts not easily conveyed and understood, but danger always lurks in overkill. Too much explanation, especially in areas of life where it is not called for, has something of the dictatorial about it. It tends to dry up mystery, it encapsulates and constricts flexibility of meaning, and it’s certainly no respecter of the imaginative power, space and intelligence of the other.
I think the dictum, “be sparing in your explanations” is a good one. Not easy though; something in us always wants to explain.