One of my personal failings which I am (hopefully) OK at avoiding is a tendency to become really dogmatic and know it all. To be an expert. Now recently various experts have informed me either personally or via the media I am wrong or delusional. That’s nice of them and I am sure they mean well and truly believe what they say. Like homeopathy does not work or that O+ males need meat to live.
But you see, I have a delusion that when my son was teething (too young for the placebo effect) he would wake crying and literally less than a minute after the homeopathic remedy he would be back asleep. My personal delusion even goes so far as remembering giving him the wrong remedy on a few occasions and nothing happening, hence no placebo affecting me and me somehow affecting him.
I also have this delusion that for 20 years I ate no meat and was alive. And very, very healthy.
I remember clearly when I first began to doubt experts. It was an art class in early primary school. Our regular teacher was away and the stand-in was Mr Griffiths, the school’s Religious Education teacher and devout Christian. He took the opportunity (as he often did, no matter what the subject) for a little lecture. This time it was monotheism and really, since we were six years old a little over our heads. But he patiently explained how the dumb ancients once believed in lots of gods of thunder, the sun, rain etc.
Over time though the dumb ancients became less dumb and realized there couldn’t be lots of gods, otherwise it would be rainy and sunny and thundery etc all at once, all the time. So there must be just one God making the decisions. My naïve six year old mind thought he was an idiot as the gods could easily take it in turns. After all that what was we, as kids were being taught to do, and if we could do it, surely so could the gods. Pop! went my pristine trust in experts.
Sorry, Mr Griffiths, if you’re still out there somewhere you let the side down a little on this occasion, but you did start me thinking (and reading) about the gods. Thanks 🙂