Relay #70, Panel F

don't just know technology, understand it

Monday, March 13, 2006

The Pretence of Knowledge

Preface: This post is an expansion on a discussion I had with Dr. Derrick McKoy, a lecturer at the University of the West Indies, in his previous capacity as the Contractor-General.

You'll see it all the time; in meetings, conferences, seminars, where ever like minded individuals meet. The resounding _yes_ that is uttered or gestured whenever the latest buzzword is thrown around. It doesn't matter how many people in the gathering actually know what's being discussed, acting in any manner other than one that implies your competence is hardly ever witnessed. This is a dangerous and many times unnecessary practice than far too many people subscribe to. Playing the role of someone in the know in hopes of edifying oneself later.

Whatever happened to _I don't know_? Why are we so apprehensive to simply acknowledge that we don't know everything? Are we ashamed of being seen in a lesser light by our peers? I can only imagine how much more productive a meeting would be if those who were ignorant to something just came out and said it. How many more ideas could have been shared and point of views expressed. Instead, all that is forthcoming is the obligatory nod and a few notes scribbled on a PDA.

I've witnessed this more times than I can count, and other than the slight grin that comes to my lips at the thought of how well they pull it off, I shake my head in disappointment. These men and women will leave the same way they came, simply to protect an image that they believe is fueled by how much they are perceived to know.

Protecting that which you don't have is a pointless endeavor. Ignorance has a way of showing itself and many times you'll be unaware that it's seeping. Wouldn't it be far easier to pluck information from the source? If I engage you in discussion certainly I have some insight into my topic of treatise. Be careful however, for you may one day find that even those who are decimating the information are living the very same lie. The pretence of knowledge reaches farther than any of us should be comfortable with.