Is a Knowledge-Hungry Crowd Ready for Wisdom At Last?Is a Knowledge-Hungry Crowd Ready for Wisdom At Last? https://c-suitenetwork.com/advisors/wp-content/themes/csadvisore/images/empty/thumbnail.jpg 150 150 MIchael and Bonnie Harvey https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/dfe7dbddd973f4b41b9f0e9b47ad6323?s=96&d=mm&r=g
Is your inbox full of marketers pandering to your need for quick knowledge to “solve” an urgent problem at hand? Is your social media feed loaded with ads that promise six digits in six months, and all from your cellphone! “Just follow these easy steps,” they say, “and you too will be successful!”
With an overload of information at your fingertips, it’s easy to believe that anything you want to know is accessible—right now. “There’s an app for that,” has grown into “There’s a copy-and-paste process for that.” But is that knowledge alone enough? Just find, copy, and paste, and everything’s taken care of. Right?
By the time you see that this quick fix doesn’t get you what you want, the damage is already done. You’re out both the time you invested and fees you paid. You learn that the knowledge you gained wasn’t sufficient for the result you pictured.
Since you were unintentionally “trained” by the very cut-and-paste process itself, to copy examples, it’s easy to miss the value behind those examples. When you learned that process, were you aware of the commonness of principles that could apply to another situation? You might say, “It doesn’t matter if there’s an overriding principle. I’ll just copy and paste a new example whenever I need one. Then I’ll never have to learn the principle behind it!”
To recognize and appreciate those overriding principles, it’s important to have a solid foundation in the basics. But this may take longer than you’d anticipated. You might need to learn a few things that don’t immediately relate to the problem at hand. That takes time, too. So, you skip that, and instead apply the process without the principles. Your knowledge is without wisdom. You have the ‘how’ but not the ‘why’.
The marketer, the politician, and the preacher, however, are happy you’re impatient and want easy, quick answers. After all, it’s easier to sell a process than a philosophy. It’s easier to sell an extraordinary headline than a textbook. And it’s easier to disregard and blame minorities when you just want a simple answer. Essentially, it’s easier to manipulate you if you’re dumbed down by today’s over-simplified approach to knowledge.
Why does the “crowd” keep making so many mistakes when all this knowledge is readily available? Despite being hungry for knowledge, the crowd proves time and time again they are easily manipulated. Impatience is their weakness—they can be easily frightened.
Sourcing the crowd for directional help is one thing, but sourcing them for instant decisions that influence our societal behavior is another.
To put it simply, is the crowd knowledgeable enough to rule directly? Will they be manipulated by advertisements that play into their doubts? Will they choose one demigod after another on the search for a quick fix without ever understanding why our government uses checks and balances? Will they allow environmental degradation to happen while they are mesmerized by the latest trending story?
Without healthy skepticism, patience, and a desire for principle over process, the crowd limits themselves to reporting status. While this is very helpful, the crowd must embrace principle over example, history over headline, and strategy over tactics before they can be relied on for guidance.
We’ve never had so much information at our disposal. But, we are all still new at this. How many catastrophes will it take for the crowd to gain necessary long-term wisdom, and then use it sensibly without being corrupted by ease of access? Real wisdom takes patience. Will we give it the patience it deserves?
If you think this sounds like an advertisement for classical education, well, it is! Until the crowd appreciates the basics, the big picture, and the effects of its own sporadic stampedes, it will have to resort to telling you where the next road danger is, or the room for rent.