I used to work in sales at a lumber yard, where we sold all kinds of (mostly residential) building materials from lumber, to paint, to plumbing, electrical supplies, hardware, doors/windows, roofing, power tools, etc. Â I grew up working with quite a few of these things, as my Dad was a residential framer. Â Nonetheless, there were various things I knew very little about, having never used them.
Given a few years, however, listening to the advice given by co-workers, and listening to problems encountered (and solved) by customers, I ‘learned’ how to answer common questions. Â I had never put in a p-drain myself, but I learned how to answer most questions a customer would ask! Â Even more humorous, I had a co-worker who had almost noÂ hand-on experience with anythingÂ we sold – yet nonetheless, she too learned to answer the common questions (often word-for-word what her co-workers had said the day before!).
I think this kind of learning is fine for what it is, but in various discussions I have, I often feel that others are (and I’m guilty of) operating with ‘knowledge’ they’ve gained from eavesdropping in this or that conversation or forum. Â “Ohh, Aristotle was such and such…”, and “yeah, science has shown that…” or “Democracy was designed so that…”
This is the Wikipedia/Google-based knowledge that informs so many pool-of-ignorance building conversations. Â People that know just a weeee little bit about a whole lot of things, pretending to be experts at it all. Â “I remember seeing somewhere that…”
We… (cough) I… need to learn to just say, “I have no idea about that, to be honest. Â Let’s both read up on it and get back to one another in [not 2 minutes, but…] a few weeks.” Â Now thatÂ would just require far too much patience.