A Better Solution; A Matter of Opinionated Expertise

It’s an absolute truth that as an individual spends more and more time on Earth, they learn to do more and more things and, most importantly, they learn different ways to accomplish different tasks. Most of which, I might add, are utterly and absolutely inconsequential; small things, like breathing, eating, sleeping; these are all things that (hopefully) most of us learn to do and we all get by rather well with the steps and methods we set up for ourselves. We don’t need to learn a different way to breathe that will increase the amount of air we intake or another way to sleep that makes use of this method, just like we don’t need to learn about a note that is significantly more secure than the one we’ve all been taught (though, that being said, we don’t have to, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to keep an open mind and a closed mouth; ironic, yes, but I digress). Luckily, we do have a habit to learn how to do other things; cooking, reading, writing, analyzing (though this is the one skill that not many make great use of), speaking and so on and so forth. Suffice it to say, even the other stuff we learn is easy to do if you just apply yourself and it’s exactly thanks to that fact that all it really takes to ruin a good time is someone who thinks they have a better solution to things. Take, for example, the simple act of sitting down and leaning on your hand. Yes, it would be a lot easier to do this without jumping up and down while running around in a circle (not to mention it’s rather strange to look at and take in) but if it’s the way you learned to do that, it’s alright and I might even join you if it didn’t look like I would break a sweat (which, all things considered I almost definitely would).

You see, depending on the discussed topic, there are, quite literally, an infinite number of ways to accomplish the task. For example, a few days ago I saw a chef using chop sticks to cook a fried egg and this intrigued me because when I cook a fried egg sunny side up, I use my spatula to sift through the yolk (to make sure that every part of the egg is cooked evenly). The problem with this method is the fact that when I do this, it disfigures the final product leaving me with a well cooked (but very ugly) breakfast, though, not that this makes any difference because fried eggs are absolutely delicious (opinion, again; a vegan wouldn’t agree. Though a vegan probably wouldn’t agree with half of my meal choices anyway. I digress, once again). Suffice it to say, after watching this diversion from my normal culinary route, I learned a new and (debatably) better way to cook my breakfast. I use the word “Debatably” because whether or not using chop sticks to cook fried eggs is a better method than merely using a spatula is up for speculation. It takes a little bit longer to carry out this method because you need to have chop sticks on hand and, if you don’t you won’t even be able to apply this procedure. Furthermore, it takes an extra bit of time to clean the chop sticks off and, most importantly if you like disfigured eggs then you wouldn’t even bother with this route anyway. These are the small things that people constantly forget when they provide their “Better solutions” to people; it’s all a matter of opinion anyway and this, partly, is the reason for today’s article: people’s opinions and how we constantly forget that opinion is opinion and that people will not necessarily agree with you just because you think you’re right and you know best.

Honestly, I wish this article was being written because of religion, or politics, or even Zac Efron’s all-over-the-map career, but it’s not. It’s really not; it’s about steak tenderness, and the right way to cook fried eggs, or the best pen to use, or the best notebook to use; it’s about the small things that people blow up to extraordinary proportions (like what I’m doing right now) for no adequate reason other than they think they’re right or they think they’re “Experts” on the matter. That, however, is the main problem with opinion: at any given time, someone will show up with a bullet-proof, water-proof, fire-proof, volcano-proof argument. They’ll present it and expect the opposite person to accept them as the superior mind. This is all well and good when your omnipotent argument actually matters (more on that in a second), but when it’s about the pen I should use or the proper tenderness of a steak, it doesn’t. At all, for the matter, because these are all subjects of pure and utter opinion; whatever reason exists for a person to do something one way, the logical train of thought is not to offer them your way of doing things and then become upset because they refuse to listen to you or accept your point of view. The logical train of thought is to enter that conversation with the state of mind where you know that for all your hassle and harangue they might just completely ignore and avoid you and your opinion because they don’t need it or (more often than naught) they don’t want it. They like doing things their way, not only because it’s how they’ve been doing things for the longest of time but because, most importantly, it works rather well. Luckily for them, you’ll try your best to convey your point of view in a steady manner without acting like an infant because they don’t agree with you and when they do completely ignore you, you walk out saying “I tried my best, oh well, that’s that, maybe I’ll try again later.” Then again, if you’re like most people, you won’t; you’ll keep on arguing your point into infinity because they like using a ball point pen when you think a fountain pen is better (word to the wise, unless you’re a top business executive or a politician, the pen doesn’t matter; the ink and what it says matters far more, however).

I digress, because it’s perfectly acceptable for you to give up trying to “Show them the light” especially if the tunnel they were in was a short one anyway; your opinion wasn’t about string theory, in fact, it wasn’t even about a good summer look, it was literally about nothing more than, oh but that’s right, the topic doesn’t matter anyway. This, incidentally, is the problem with so called “Experts:” they think they know best about a topic when they really don’t and they never will (know best), because that’s the magical thing about knowing a lot of stuff (at some point, your knowledge will be outdated and useless; like the people who thought disco would last forever; or the one programmer at Microsoft who didn’t understand the basics of business and who thought that marketing and creating an operating system that has more bugs in it than the Bolivian rainforest to be a good, and perfectly sane, idea); true knowledge exists in knowing that you know nothing, not yet anyway because you can and never will be an expert in anything. You can certainly try your hardest to; you can write articles, publish books, commission works of art, and even spend an entire summer trapped in the North Pole with 3 other geniuses who think they know everything and yet you’ll still never get any closer to the truth: that you don’t know what the truth is to begin with.

Not because you can’t handle it, but because the truth is that it’s impossible to truly become an expert in any given field, because new facts and so called “Truths” are being unveiled on a near daily basis. The most any “Expert” can hope to do is understand that they need to stop calling themselves experts, not only because it’s even more patronizing and condescending than announcing that people will never be experts, but because it’s also untrue and utterly impossible. In fact, no one should ever aim to be an expert in the first place, it’s a pointless title; if you’re an expert, there’s really no need for you to move forward and learn anymore because you already know so much about the field you’re claiming expertise in. It’s like being perfect, you’ve got nowhere else to go, literally, you’ve achieved 100% of what you’re capable of.

Finally, though, we come back to the beginning, regarding opinions and so forth. Allow me to tie everything together: if you think you have a “Better” way of doing something, stop right there and rearrange your words immediately because as soon as you deluded yourself into thinking that your way is “Better” than the method or design that’s being used, you placed yourself on the same faulty pedestal as the people who think they’re intelligent enough to ever be experts. That being said, I will listen to you, and I might even try out your way to see what happens (because while I might disapprove of what you say, I will defend your right to say it; on a side note, I’ve been reading that quote by Evelyn Beatrice Hall in so many different places that it’s becoming quite terrifying, though I do digress once again), but I’ll do it begrudgingly and only because I must to make sure you stop hounding me (and also because I want to prove you wrong). In summation: stop thinking that the division is between your way and the highway, because it really isn’t. You, and I, are not experts (and we never will be) and, most importantly, the way I cook my eggs is most likely not the same way you cook your eggs, but the fact of the matter is that, in the end, we are both eating a delicious part of a healthy (and nutritious) breakfast so please don’t ruin it because you think you know; because even that much is debatable and all a matter of opinion.

As always, this has been your Admin; comment, criticize, and subscribe, and DO remember! Always look on the BYTE side of life!

-EK

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