The other week, I was told I was arrogant in a social media forum. The other person then cut me off and cut all ties altogether.
I looked up arrogant and arrogance to see if it were true, that I am arrogant. One definition that I found was this – an attitude of superiority manifested in an overbearing manner or in presumptuous claims or assumptions.
Now, I am pretty sure I don’t feel superior to anybody. Quite the reverse in fact. I think I am a bloody mess of emotions, thoughts, and reactions like most of the rest of humanity and that occasionally, when I remember, I am trying to figure all of this out. On the other hand, I am increasingly concerned by what I see in the world as the death of the expert. And in the context of the conversation that got me into such trouble, I was the expert and that wasn’t at all appreciated.
The other party in this has a particular view of the world, which when challenged by the reality of the situation, reacts with accusations of arrogance. I wasn’t trying to be arrogant. I was trying to educate and inform, and in of itself, when that is unwanted I guess it is arrogant to try. Perhaps it is best to let people live in their own dreamworld?
When we get the stage that people accuse their experts of being arrogant because they have 30-years of practical experience with something, then I truly believe we are in trouble as a species. Me? Maybe I am getting old and cranky but I preferred the pre-social media era when expertise was sought out and things like flat Earth, wonderful renewables, climate change and so on, were not topics of conversation between people who didn’t actually have a basic grasp of science, how the grid works, geology, and so on, but instead called themselves Earth loving pagans. I mean, I don’t involve myself in conversations were I have nothing to offer. I don’t pretend to be an ‘expert’ on say health, diet, sex, and so on. But I would hope that qualifications and 30-years of experience as an energy and commodities analyst would count for something.
On the other hand, perhaps I do go in like a bull in a china shop sometimes…. I am sure I do upset people that way. I’m just a blunt Yorkshireman who has become exasperated with the world. A dinosaur perhaps who still believes in the principles of honesty, hard work and yes, expertise. and who doesn’t suffer fools … now if that makes me arrogant then I am arrogant and I am happy to be that way.
Deep down though, I am disturbed by this incident. It’s not that I mind being name called or told what I am by people I have never met and only know through tenuous ‘occult’ connections. It is the growing sense of fear that the world is heading down the toilet of mediocrity, conformity, and disrespect for expertise and wisdom. We have seen how the old in society are treated this last century and now everyone is suddenly an expert at everything. It doesn’t look good to me. Not at all.
Then there is the politicization of expertise. This is where we are told by groups of people what the truth is backed by ‘science’ and any disagreement is cited as contrary to the accepted viewpoint. The science is proven and such stuff and nonsense. This is a symptom of the same problem. an ‘expert’ on science would instantly know that science is never proven and thrives on open debate. Science is dying. It has been hijacked by politicians and dreamers who use it to promote an agenda – their own agenda without actually realizing in many instances that they are acting in a manner that is contrary to the pursuit of science.
But then, who would listen to this arrogant PhD holder about how to do science huh?
And for many these days, there it is – arrogance! Actually citing his PhD…. what an arrogant twat he is having the audacity to cover his obvious lack of self worth with his degree….
You know, I used to use the title ‘Dr.’. It meant something. These days people tell me its arrogant to cite the PhD or have them call me Dr. Vasey. I have even had book reviewers who’s sole comment was that I was arrogant for using the Dr. before my name and obviously had a self worth issue going on….
Twenty years plus ago, those who had earned degrees had respect. The title Professor or Doctor meant and means something to me – I respect those who hold such titles while I may still disagree with them. These days, academic titles and degrees are simply a sign of someone with a personality disorder. Expertise, education, knowing your stuff – well, its like age isn’t it – it’s to be despised and distrusted.
God help us all.