Here is some terrible advice: “If you can't explain it to a 6-year-old, you don't understand it yourself.” Typically attributed to Einstein, the phrase only became popular long after his death, around the new millennium. It is somewhat unsurprising that an age of shorter attention spans would give currency to such a quote. Present day we find ourselves at peak explain it to a six year old:
Many concepts can be explained concisely, in simple language, and we should all strive for clarity. But the aphorism is a mistake, for a number of thoughts approximate the carpenter’s craft, and to meaningfully reveal them requires time and attention. Sometimes these cannot simply be told to another at all, they must be grown. For a topical example, we know that maturity itself cannot be imparted to a six year old, no matter how good a summary we might give. Despite our understanding, we know it is something that can only come to each of us in time. This pattern is more common than we think. True things are disclosed slowly.
Articulating ideas as simply as possible is attractive, not least because getting people to agree with us is attractive. But we have a tendency to overrate ideas that can be shared easily, with the most apparent advantages. By constant simplifying, we may be lulled into abridging our own ideas a little too much, and sooner or later our audience—or ourselves—might come to expect only these truncated thoughts. What is easy to explain is not necessarily what is best. What is easy to understand is not necessarily what is true.