30 de Agosto 2021

Image borrowed from https://www.unknownmami.com/

OMNISCIENCE

If you have ever been called a Mr. or Mrs. Know-it-all, you will have felt the sting of having your expertise and brilliance challenged. After the sting however, you will likely walk away unchanged because you already knew you know everything. In a sense, I suppose we are all know-it-alls, but some of us are shy about revealing our encyclopedic mind (a know-it-all will know what a encyclopedia is or are. Trust me, I know.

The thought of a know-it-all came to mind today as I watched CNN coverage of the end of the war in Afghanistan. With rare exception, the people being interviewed are a former this or a former that. The often sound as if they know it all because of previous experience, but I am a know-it-all and know better. I’m not suggesting that these interviewees are charlatans, but a background does not make someone an expert. By its very nature, expertise is always current and up-to-date.

What is embarrassing about so-called know-it-alls is that there are too many of them! Everybody is an expert in everything. This is part of what bothers me so much about the so-called experts who get a shot at answering some questions during a television program. I know that they are not in the immediate circle, but way out in the periphery where knowledge is outdated, experience is null and void. In other words, the answers they give is largely an opinion that is many cases is irrelevant to the discussion at hand. Hence, as the expression goes, if we want the facts we go to the horse’s mouth, to no where else of the horse’s body.

You see, know-it-alls can easily get on your nerves! What bothers us about them is that they are usually arrogant and do not realize that their opinion is not needed and the facts, if they have any, are off mark, ill-informed or basically hot air shaped into syllables. Please note here that I should have said, ‘shaped into words,’ but this too is debatable with a know-it-all.

Know-it-alls will also be the first to say that they don’t know everything and then prove it by telling you all the things they do not know. It is ironic because the list is endless while knowledge, generally speaking, is finite to the individual human person. In other words no one knows everything exhaustively. There is such a thing as bounded rationality whereby one must admit that he or she can never have all the information, but still a decision has to be made. This is life, for better or for worse.

I hope that I have been preaching to the choir. You might be a ‘know-it-all’ yourself and know already the critique I have just delivered. I am a know-it-all and know that you know what I am writing is true. I am, after all, a former and current expert in everything. If you disagree with me, you are flaunting your knowledge and suggesting that it is superior to mine. You might be right, but at least I know it.

Published by Thomas

Retired from active priestly ministry in the Catholic Church; former Benedictine monk; francophile; Holocaust researcher; Delta One Million Miler; Ex-Patriated American to the Republic of Panama

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