:: A Non-Expert Take on the Rise of the Non-Expert ::

Photo: Nathan Cowley

”If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.” – Sir Isaac Newton.

One of the most advanced things about humans is that we are able to stand on the collective “shoulders” of the greatest minds of our kind, past and present, and move forward from where they left off. From that vantage point, with all that knowledge passed onto us and our potential to retain it, we have been able to add and refine and advance. Until now?

Despite centuries of research from experts all over the planet proving otherwise, some people still believe the Earth is flat. Likewise, despite the expertise of doctors and nurses and scientists all over the world some people still believe that Covid19 is some sort of conspiracy. Are we no longer interested in benefiting from each other’s specialized expertise? What is happening?

I’m not a politician. I’m not a scientist. I don’t financially benefit from big Pharma. I’m a singer-songwriter who understands that 2 + 2 = 4 and, subsequently, I appreciate facts. I also know that facts are something that people well-versed in their respective fields, can help me with.

Through the amazing power of human language, we can learn detailed lessons and ideas from every researcher who ever lived. There’s even research dedicated to researching past research with larger databases and updated tools and methods to reach more accurate conclusions. And because of it, we’ve reached an age that our caveman ancestors would be in awe of.

We don’t have to invent electricity everytime we turn on a light or the engine when we want to drive a car. We trust that the experts did that already before we even flick the switch. For almost everything that we do in our lives we stand on the shoulders of the experts who came before us.

What device are you reading this on? Research and science and expertise made the invention and production of this device possible. From electricity to battery tech to linguistics, mathematics, physics, computer chip technology, cooling systems, data storage, lighting, satellites, to literally rocket science to get the satellites up into orbit for communication! Smart, innovative, educated people made those discoveries in the past and now you are benefiting from it in one little device.

If you didn’t have this smartphone or computer which was created by experts and scientists and someone told you or even showed you that it existed, is that person a liar? Are they trying to start a conspiracy because you had not seen such a device yourself? Your entire lifetime of experience tells you that such a thing does not exist so it MUST not! Are they a part of the “Deep State Scientific Establishment” because you heard about that in a video on YouTube (the same place you can upload videos of yourself eating laundry detergent)? That’s how you sound when you claim that the Earth is flat. That is the position you take when you post articles suggesting that the seriousness around Coronavirus is a conspiracy. And even if you caption it with “hmmmm?” or a “🤔” you’re still giving value to ignorance (or more commonly, harmful propaganda) and most unforgivably, putting lives at risk.

Why are we at this point now where we have forgone our previous trajectory of advancement through the appreciation of expertise? My assumption is that people feel so powerless in their lives that they want to get it back (that part, I can totally empathise with). Knowledge is power and sometimes the powerless want to be seen as experts themselves to gain some perceived power or control in their lives. In their insecure minds, it’s a direct attack to imply that anyone else has a more valid opinion or has done more research on any given matter even if they actually have. Yes, I believe it is that emotionally underdeveloped. In that space, a person who feels powerless is more likely to listen to propaganda that speaks to the reptilian, survival part of their mentality. I.e. the opinion that makes them feel better no matter the merit. And here in the United States at least, I believe it is embedded in the national psyche to value standing up against authority, loudly and proudly as our nation was founded upon it and we glorify the martyrs who died for it. So a person longing for power, respect or control in their life would rather see themselves as a hero in their loud rejection of “the establishment”, than live in fear as a “sheep” following expert advice even if they must defy data to get there.

But I’m not an expert. If you have a better explanation (or better yet, some sort of researched sociological/psychological article with evidence) for this most inefficient way for our species to behave, please inform me as I’d like to sleep a little better tonight. Our world is shifting quickly (politically, environmentally and spiritually) and we need a revolution of facts and data and altruism to get us on the same page toward fixing it. I believe the devaluing of expertise is one of the greatest problems of our time and I want to help. But I can’t help if I don’t know why it is happening on such a large scale across many different walks of life. Like, Sir Newton, I enjoy the view from atop of the shoulders. I hope you join us.

In the meantime, I propose that if you want to diminish the nature of science and expertise it only makes sense to do so using technology that was not created using science or expertise.

All the best. Stay safe. Much love. Listen to the experts.
-Lee

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