Long Words: short hand for smaller ones

I used to be fond of big words like epistemology, ontology, intertextuality (never been fond of that one) and so on. I think of such words as short hand for simpler language. If I cannot explain a complex idea using simple words then I must reflect on whether I understand that idea well enough to put it into words in the first place. There are times when an unusual word is called for. Perhaps to avoid repetition or to give a phrase a better meter. But to use big words wantonly when something simpler will do is a little like quoting some well know person as a means of acquiring authority in the matter. Big words cover up confusion. Indeed I have often found myself confused with the words I use. 

Then there are situations when a big word is needed. Usually because it stands for an idea, a theme, a topic. Take the word phenomenology, is that not simply talking about building a world view through the senses rather than mental processes? Is it not the antithesis of metaphysics, solving problems of perception by abstract thinking? So unless I am talking about the subject itself, phenomenology, in which case referring to it as such makes perfect sense, I would rather talk about forming ideas, feelings. This makes a more direct appeal to understanding. It is easy to stray away from clarity if I hide behind a large word. 

The what does one mean by ontology, the ontology of a work of art. Why not say it as it is, talk about the way it was made, what it was made of, why it was made. That is so much more direct and pertinent. Meaning is lost otherwise. However, it might be valid to talk about the epistemology of a painting in relation to its ontology, as short hand. But it would be equally valid to talk about looking at how the painting was made, its context and why out of what in relation to what we think of it, how we perceive it, how we understand it, explain it. Is that not much clearer, more precise? In that way I get a much clearer idea of the relationship between two things and perhaps more importantly communicate that to myself and perhaps ultimately to the reader. 

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