March 27, 2009

Relying On Experts

In this world of easy communication, I have observed the increasing trend for people to rely on "experts" when they have doubt on what to believe or how to proceed in an arena where they feel unsure. Some people look at my job title and consider me an expert in my field. Lord help us. What I have to offer is experience; my "expert" opinion changes constantly with that experience.

I have some suspicion of anyone who puts forth "expertise" that is not backed with great experience. For example, there are parenting experts out there for any school of thought on how to raise a child. So many parents are so unsure that they are willing to blindly follow a self-promoting expert; some do so to great harm to their children. I believe that any parent knows more about his child than any expert and must trust his gut instincts about how to incorporate advice into the family dynamic. Clearly, there are ideas that work and we need to share them.

Ideas are wonderful toys to bat about and manipulate. I want to see concrete results before I buy the toy you package in bright colors. Today's New York Times carries a column by Nicholas D. Kristof called "Learning How to Think." I think it's worth five minutes of your day to read it.


Roxrocks said...

It's funny but the "experts" on raising children I've met magically don't even HAVE children! :)

I'm an expert smart ass.

Steven said...

The one fault of mine is that I look to doctors as experts and rarely question their decisions or seek second opinions. I need to get away from that and be more progressive.

Ur-spo said...

experts often disagree and change their minds.
there doesn't seem to be any absolutes is there.

evilganome said...

One of my ex's, who was an expert on Renaissance Literature. (Really, he got his degree at Harvard) opined to me that all experts are self styled experts.

Patrick said...

In my twenties, I found it oddly freeing when I realized most people were winging it. I particularly appreciate the story about the rat out-performing the Yale graduates because it didn't over-think or see patterns that weren't there. I can be an over-thinker.

Acting can be a funny arena for this kind of study too; hard work, extensive study and yes, talent all can help, but sometimes people succeed simply because of confidence. It's tempting to resent the people who succeed because they were too dumb or inexperienced to know that what they were attempting was impossible, but I have a funny respect for them (most of the time) and think there's something to be learned there.

Patrick said...

Oh and Roxrocks, my parents say the same thing; most of the 'advice' they've gotten over the years about child-rearing has come from people who didn't have any kids. This is one of the many reasons I try to keep my mouth shut on the subject.