The benefits of the implied or

The benefits of the implied or

Steve Davis on the messiness of “and”:

“Education is not a “this OR that” concept; rather it is a “this AND that” concept. “Or” is clean. “And” is messy. “Or” is obvious “And” is nuance. “Or” is destructive. “And” is human. Do you interact with your students the same way you tweet? Do you eat mashed potatoes AND gravy? Which word describes your pedagogy in the classroom and tweets on Twitter?”

Are you a morning person? A coffee person? A public transport person? A gym person? A phone person?

In each of the provocations, the silent truncation is an “or are you an X person” that the questioner may truly be curious about. Are you a morning person… or do you sleep, slovenly so, into the morning hours? Are you a coffee person… or do you deprive yourself something you know you want to have? Are you a gym person or…

I’ve always been drawn to extremes, at being one or the other, so much so that I’ve never been good at being tempered much. I’ve been expert at the messy “and.” And it’s been to my own surprise that this complex, non-neat divide where most is revealed.

Simplicity is not the goal. It is the by-product of a good idea and modest expectations,” Paul Rand once said.

To my own surprise, I’ve recently been finding I’m “and” in most categories. I’m an early-morning and a late-night person. I’m a phone and an IM person. I walk and take public transport. Being messy has its merits.