Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Knowledge vs. Expertise

There is a real deficit of thought today. Where are the real thinkers? Before the argument is made against this statement, it should be clarified a bit. There are indeed probably more people in the world today that consider themselves thinkers than ever before. The problem is that there aren’t many people who actually discipline themselves to real thinking.

What passes for thinking in today’s world falls mainly into two camps: the vacuous navel-gazers and the puffed up experts.

In the first group are the ones that use the organ between the ears to spout endless information and noise into the world. While it is the product of a brain, it can hardly be considered thought. The difference between these people today and 20 years ago it that today they think they have an audience. Blogs, Twitter, Facebook etc. An endless stream of people largely speaking things they consider to be important or deep into the universe and imagining that someone is benefiting from or inspired by their “thoughts.” This may be the camp that this Blog belongs to.

The Experts are a more dangerous breed. They are the ones who pick an infinitesimally small portion of the knowledge in the universe and become completely versant in it. They indeed can be called experts in their area of…well, expertise. The problem is, after achieving the level of expertise in one area, they think they have developed their thought process enough to weigh in on any and all subjects. Sort of like the successful Hollywood actor waxing eloquent about the global climate or a vote getting politician believing that their canvassing ability also qualifies them to solve the world economic problems.

True thinkers, like the ones in history that are an inspiration to many, had a discipline of thought that followed very precise rules. They did not allow their feelings or desires to rule the way they thought, but rather made sure their mental processes conformed to reality and logic.

1 comment:

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