Sunday, July 19, 2009

Beware of Experts Especially Yourself

It is always interesting to me to observe people who think they know. They speak as if they are experts about matters that are oftentimes subjective or more complex than they realize. Politics and sports are two subjects that come to mind. Walk into any bar or drive in a taxi in any large city and you will get opinions cloaked as irrefutable truths about why Obama's stimulus plan is ruining the country or why A-Rod isn't really a great hitter and hurts the Yankees.

There is no shortage of so-called experts on abortion rights, what is best for Israel, how to handle terrorism, health care reform, proper nutrition, investment strategies, and how to deal with men or women in relationships. There are those who are very accomplished at appearing to have deeply considered whatever viewpoint they are expressing. There are others who express their opinion with an impressive passion and conviction that is quite captivating. Matter of fact, I have always had an attraction for fanatics, whatever their belief, as long as it does not promote violence.

Unfortunately it is rare to find someone who really does know and is worth listening to. For the most part we must settle for not being bored or if we are lucky entertained by someone pretending or maybe even sincerely believing that what they are saying is the "god's honest truth."

When we do find someone that actually does know something of value we should consider ourselves fortunate and take advantage of it. I want to emphasizie that finding a "real" teacher or someone who has a deeper insight into any subject is not the same as reading something in a book or on the internet. Direct communication from someone who really knows is a gift that should not be taken lightly. I remember wanting to learn about juggling, I practiced and practiced and read whatever information I could find. I luckily met a guy from Israel who could juggle seven objects, unf--kenbelievable, who spent a few minutes giving me some pointers. It really made a different in my progress.

I've met a few people in my life who have had an impact on me, who have taught me something that has made a difference in my life. I am always on the lookout for anyone who really knows anything. I have found that they appear in unexpected situations and that you can't be overly judgemental when you meet someone who looks or acts a little strange. Two of the most influential people I have ever met seemed like street bums when I first saw them. Also, anyone who has real knowledge of any subject usually is not conventional. They have no interest in conforming or impressing anyone with what they know. To really know something in depth requires a level of commitment and focus that doesn't allow for wasting time on appearances.

We can't always seek out those who really know. They are often hidden. What we can do is be discriminating and not accept as true what we hear in ordinary life from "so called" experts. More importantly what we can do is not pretend that we really know or be under the illusion that our opinions or beliefs are truth. This is more difficult than it seems but it prepares us to be more open to real truth when it finds us.

No comments:

Post a Comment