albeit slightly clearer

ENGLISHIAN

Member
Korean
This is part of Maria Konnikova’s book Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes.

Two tasks cannot possibly be in the attentional foreground at the same time. One will inevitably end up being the focus, and the other — or others — more akin to irrelevant noise, something to be filtered out. Or worse still, none will have the focus and all will be, albeit slightly clearer, noise, but degrees of noise all the same.

Could you explain about the bold part above in an easier way?

I understand "all will be noise," but the other parts are mysteries to me.
I don't get what "albeit slightly clearer" means. What is slightly clearer?
I also wonder the meaning of "but degrees of noise".
The phrase "all the same" may be "notwithstanding".

Help me, plz!
 
  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    The phrase "all the same" may be "notwithstanding".
    Yes. "Notwithstanding" is a reasonable substitute for "all the same" in this language.

    I don't get what "albeit slightly clearer" means. What is slightly clearer?
    If you are trying to do several tasks at the same time, you can only pay attention to one of those tasks. The other tasks you are thinking of won't be any better than background noise, which is something your brain must ignore as you focus on one task. Those other thoughts may be a little clearer to you than some other type of background noise that you ignore, but they are still no better than noise.

    I also wonder the meaning of "but degrees of noise".
    This is just figurative language that describes various types of "noise" that you must ignore as you focus on some task. You may think of "degrees of noise" as meaning something like "very distracting noise", "somewhat distracting noise", and "slightly distracting noise." All these "degrees of noise" distract you and require you to block them out as you focus on the task.
     

    ENGLISHIAN

    Member
    Korean
    Thanks one million! With your help, I try rewriting that part.

    Or worse still, none of the tasks will have the focus and all the tasks will be, albeit all the tasks is slightly clearer than noise, noise, but the noise is various levels of noise notwithstanding.

    I hope I understood it correctly.
     

    wandle

    Senior Member
    English - British
    I hope I understood it correctly.
    Not quite.
    all will be, albeit slightly clearer, noise
    This means that all the tasks will be noise (though admittedly slightly clearer noise than the average).

    I believe the author means that 'noise' represents matters in the perceptual field which are indistinct or undifferentiated, rather than distracting,
     
    Last edited:

    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    You may not, wandle, but I find background noise and intrusive thoughts distracting when I'm trying to focus on a task.

    I believe the author means that 'noise' represents matters in the perceptual field which are indistinct or undifferentiated, rather than distracting,
    If the noise wasn't distracting, why would we need to waste energy on filtering it or blocking it as we try to concentrate on some task?
     

    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    You're welcome, Englishian.

    Or worse still, none of the tasks will have the focus and all the tasks will be, albeit all the tasks is slightly clearer than noise, noise, but the noise is various levels of noise notwithstanding.
    I'm sorry, but this sentence doesn't really make sense. I get a vague idea of what you are trying to say, but the sentence, the words, and the grammar you used don't work.
     

    wandle

    Senior Member
    English - British
    You may not, wandle, but I find background noise and intrusive thoughts distracting when I'm trying to focus on a task.
    If the noise wasn't distracting, why would we need to waste energy on filtering it or blocking it as we try to concentrate on some task?
    I do not suggest for a moment (a) that the 'noise' is not distracting, nor (b) that the author thinks it is not distracting.

    My point is that, for the author, in the phrase 'slightly clearer noise', the key feature of the 'noise' is that it is indistinct or undifferentiated.
    We can see that this is a feature the author is focusing on in that phrase, because she contrasts it with what is 'clear'.

    However, the fact that she focuses on that feature does not mean that she does not see the 'noise' also as distracting.
    She also says it needs to be filtered out and this suggests that she sees it as potentially distracting.

    Thus the idea of distraction is suggested by that of 'filtering out'; the idea of indistinctness is suggested by the contrast with 'clear'.

    For the purpose of understanding the expression 'slightly clearer noise', the idea which is relevant is that of indistinctness, not distraction.
     

    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    It was certainly a lengthy reply, wandle, but I don't find it helpful or enlightening. Maybe Englishian will.

    We can see that this is a feature the author is focusing on in that phrase, because she contrasts it with what is 'clear'.
    We can? I don't think so. You can.
     

    wandle

    Senior Member
    English - British
    To put it another way, in the phrase 'slightly clearer noise', the author is assessing 'noise' on the spectrum from distinct to indistinct, not on the spectrum from distracting to not distracting.

    The point of that phrase is that some noise is clearer (less indistinct) than other noise.
     

    ENGLISHIAN

    Member
    Korean
    Thank you, owlman5 and wandle.
    Please, forgive my poor English expression.

    Or worse still, -> Or What is still worse,
    none will have the focus -> none of the tasks or thoughts will be focused on (In this case, I think we do not focus on any tasks or thoughts.)
    and all will be noise -> and all the tasks or thoughts will be no better than noise that is ignored or filtered out
    albeit slightly clearer -> although all the tasks or thoughts are slightly clearer or more distinctive than the background noise that is ignored.
    -> although the noise(figuratively meaning the tasks that are not focused) are slightly clearer or a little more distinctive than the average noise.
    ,albeit slightly clearer, noise, but degrees of noise all the same. -> (albeit slightly clearer) noise, just several degrees of noise, though.
     

    TenBear

    New Member
    Korean
    Thanks for your nice comment, owlman5.
    In my opinion, you seem to have enormous creativity,
    but the accurate meaning of ‘all the same’ in this sentence seems different from ‘notwithstanding’ all the same.
     
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