In my last video, I used the phrase “I’m no expert, but” when starting to talk about the current situation, as it seems a prudent preface to any statement about this, that well, I can give my judgment of the situation, but I’m not an expert.
It led me to think about what does it really mean to be an expert? It seems like this word “experts” is really a very divisive word that can- it’s so charged.
You have experts, who are said, you know, overall, of course there’s many of them individually, but they can be said overall to have a certain opinion, a certain judgment, based on their expert knowledge, that the overall experts determine that a certain thing is correct, and then the broader mass of folks are told that “Well, experts are saying this, and you would be prudent to follow what the experts say.” And in fact, if you do not do what the experts say, you might be described as an idiot.
So it’s a very powerful term to say, you know, these are people who have this authority to state what is the correct thing to do.
This is the correct appraisal of the situation, this is the correct instruction, and the wisest thing you can do is to follow the instruction.
Now, of course, when putting it that way, there’s immediately kind of a reaction of independence, to be like “Well, no, I don’t want to follow experts.
I don’t want to just listen to what other people say.
I want to make my own decisions.” So of course, understandable reaction, but often leads to foolish decisions, because if the experts really are experts, if they really know a lot about, you know, what is the correct thing to do, and you decide “Well, I don’t need- nobody tells me what to do.
I’m gonna do the opposite.” That seems like it could very easily lead into some very foolish behaviour.
Because somebody that does not have expert knowledge deciding to do the opposite of what the people with expert knowledge say: clearly that is not likely to go well.
So the simplest thing to do is simply do what the experts say.
But then it leads to really the question of who are these experts, and what are they experts about? And it seems like the whole idea of an expert means that you have very advanced, specific knowledge that’s gained over years of work, that you have gained specific knowledge.
But being an expert is always being an expert within a very specific area.
so the expert knowledge is expert knowledge within its own domain.
It’s not general expert knowledge.
I don’t believe there’s- there’s no such thing as an expert overall, an expert on human life.
Now, if any of you are aware of an expert on human life, please let me know.
I would love to learn from this expert of how to live human life.
But so far what I’m aware of is only experts on specific areas.
So what we have in this current situation, we have health experts who are saying “These are the best ways to reduce the contagion, to control the pandemic, so that we will not have unnecessary disease and death.” So within the field of health, within the field of medical care, disease spread these are experts, epidemiologists, experts on disease spread.
And so they decree, based on their judgment, what is the best thing to do.
And now the governments, who are in charge of making public policies, they are clearly concerned about the contagion, so they say “Health experts, tell us, how do we control this situation? How do we minimize the effects?” And the health experts use their expert knowledge within the domain of health to say “These are the best ways to reduce the pandemic.” But I think the missing piece, the missing leap that is made, is that we assume that the health experts are the experts on how to handle the situation overall.
But the health experts are specific to what is best for health care, avoiding disease, medical treatment, and the overall health situation.
They are now determined to be the ultimate experts who should be followed.
And yet that is only one piece of the full picture.
Medical experts, health experts, only know, only have their specific advanced knowledge, when it comes to medical and disease issues.
They’re not experts on living life, overall life.
Now, the governments, who make policy about how to, you know, govern the lives of the people overall, they’re the ones that are supposed to make decisions about overall life, maybe you could say for the overall well-being of the people.
However you want to imagine the role of government but clearly government is a domain larger than simply health.
Obviously health is a core part of the people’s well-being, but medical health is not everything.
So we have this bigger picture of overall well-being.
We don’t have experts in overall well-being.
We don’t have a well-being expert, a human living expert. […]
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