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Old 03-24-2016, 06:35 PM   #1
Undertoad
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On not actually knowing stuff

I have had the rare occasion where I have become learned about a subject, or to spend time doing a job or such,

And it occurs to me that, what I thought it was before goin' in, was never what it really was...

Before studying computers, my "notion" of what a computer was, was generally wrong

Before working at a pawn shop, my "notion" of what it was to be a pawn shop worker, was generally wrong

Let's say you were never a baker, and never knew a baker; if I ask you "What's it like to be a baker?", you would still have an idea in your head about what it would be like to be a baker.

That's fucked up.

And because we're not actually experts at very much -- if we are honest -- those simple and basically wrong understandings are what we use to make decisions about everything we do.

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Old 03-24-2016, 08:19 PM   #2
Griff
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We are a dumb bunch of confident bastards. Kinda like a bunch of Trumps without the hair.
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Old 03-24-2016, 08:37 PM   #3
Clodfobble
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Yeah, but our ability to predict and project is the main thing that separates humanity from the rest of the primates.

Even if we're only 10% right, that's more than 0%.
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Old 03-24-2016, 08:38 PM   #4
lumberjim
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I've muddled my way through plenty of things not knowing what I was doing before hand. What's so fucked up? How else are you going to learn? Take a course? You've seen the stuff I've done to 3 motorcycles. I didn't know how before I did that stuff.

I'm not saying you should perform surgery or disarm a bomb.... But most shit is a learning experience. Go do it. Learn.
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Old 03-24-2016, 08:48 PM   #5
xoxoxoBruce
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We have the confidence in our ability to learn, although the method we feel it will take, varies. Some have confidence in their ability to learn from books, some feel live instruction is needed too, others only feel confident with on the job training. But most say, I can do that.

The fly in the ointment is, what UT thought he knew about computers proved to be different from what he learned about them, but as soon as he felt he had learned, they changed... rapidly. We spend out professional lives catching up with ever more rapid changes. The changes in the building trades are amazing. Automobile mechanics have to understand electronics more than mechanicals. Even a burglar has had to learn about rapidly changing alarms and CCTV.

I know someone who wanted to be a nurse, healing the sick, caring for those who couldn't care for themselves, protecting the vulnerable from the bad stuff. A noble mission indeed.
Off to nursing school and discover, hey, it's science, bitch. What a shock. Not how to apply a cold compress to a fevered brow, but chemistry, biology, and things far from the delusional angel of mercy.
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Old 03-24-2016, 08:49 PM   #6
Griff
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I pretty much built a house that way.
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Old 03-24-2016, 10:06 PM   #7
sexobon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Undertoad View Post
... And it occurs to me that, what I thought it was before goin' in, was never what it really was...
Taking it to the next level, there are a number of subject areas and occupations in which it's said that you don't really know it until you've taught it. Teaching something can require intrinsic knowledge not required for simply doing it that can change one's perspective on what it's all about.
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Old 03-25-2016, 08:30 PM   #8
Beestie
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I think it's an interesting observation.

I used to struggle mightily starting new things thinking that I didn't know enough. Eventually I figured out that doing it wrong was how to learn how to do it right.

LJ used the term 'muddle.' I don't hear that word very often but it is the perfect word to describe the process of starting something when there is no road map - it's just having a confidence that figuring it out as you go will produce a good result. Griff built a house that way - he has a house now. If it were me, I'd still be reading books about it while the rain fell on my head.

Muddling is a seriously good skill to have. And, not surprisingly, you can't learn it from a book.
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Old 03-25-2016, 11:14 PM   #9
Undertoad
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The thing is, we are all experts at like 2-3 jobs and 2-3 topics. But take any topic. I ask you, Is it ok to regularly read under low light?

And immediately you have an answer or answers or a set of considerations leaping to mind. But chances are you don't really know much.

What is the best shampoo to use?

I think I heard something about something causing cancer but only if you eat it. You should buy it with conditioner. Conditioner should always be separate. The expensive stuff is always fine, the cheap stuff you have to read about. There's something about percentage of detergent. This smells horrible. The best shampoo is beer. I just buy whatever's on sale.

The debate we have with ourselves would sound moronic to experts. But we never think our own debate sounds moronic; except that it almost always certainly is, because we aren't experts. We don't know stuff.

Are police officers treating inner city blacks unfairly?

Sure, it's easy to know this... from my expertise as an inner city cop, my history as a black person, and my Master's in Civic Administration.

Is there a chance I'm going to have a heart attack?

They can give you this probability nowadays. Did they give it to Shandling? Did he have an opinion?

Can I dump this old oil into the sink?

We did it last week and it was ok. It's fine if you just put detergent down. It's fine if you just run the hot water. It's fine if you pour it bit by bit. This will contaminate an area the size of Lake Erie. Edible oils are fine, inedible are not. They have stuff that breaks this shit up and they carry it away on barges. It's safer than putting it in the trash. This is the reason humanity is going to fail. Sure, they put sunscreen in the drain.
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Old 03-26-2016, 12:38 AM   #10
xoxoxoBruce
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You have a choice, act on what you think you can sort out from memory stored reading, conversations, old wives tales,and mama said, or you can research the best answer. Yeah sure, ain't nobody got time for that.
Research is the best course of action if you give a fuck. Most people don't most of the time, unless there's a chance of being caught/shamed/fined.
Not many people would throw garbage out the car window if it had their name and address on it.
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Old 03-26-2016, 09:04 AM   #11
Griff
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And now look again, and see what will naturally follow if the prisoners are released and disabused of their error. At first, when any of them is liberated and compelled suddenly to stand up and turn his neck round and walk and look towards the light, he will suffer sharp pains; the glare will distress him, and he will be unable to see the realities of which in his former state he had seen the shadows; and then conceive some one saying to him, that what he saw before was an illusion, but that now, when he is approaching nearer to being and his eye is turned towards more real existence, he has a clearer vision, -what will be his reply? And you may further imagine that his instructor is pointing to the objects as they pass and requiring him to name them, -will he not be perplexed? Will he not fancy that the shadows which he formerly saw are truer than the objects which are now shown to him? Socrates

Received versus perceived wisdom it's a bitch especially in an election cycle.
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Old 03-28-2016, 12:38 AM   #12
Aliantha
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I've always been a fan of the 'fake it till you make it' school of thought. It's how I've progressed in my business. Every new cake teaches me something, even if it's the same design I've done before. I learn how to streamline processes, and how to improve the final product. When someone shows me a design and says, can you do this, I always say yes even if I can't, and worry about the how of it during the time between actually securing the order, and producing it. Every single wedding cake I've done so far has been worked on this principal.

Luckily for me I've managed to make it every time so far. haha
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Old 03-28-2016, 06:57 AM   #13
limey
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aliantha View Post
I've always been a fan of the 'fake it till you make it' school of thought. It's how I've progressed in my business. Every new cake teaches me something, even if it's the same design I've done before. I learn how to streamline processes, and how to improve the final product. When someone shows me a design and says, can you do this, I always say yes even if I can't, and worry about the how of it during the time between actually securing the order, and producing it. Every single wedding cake I've done so far has been worked on this principal.

Luckily for me I've managed to make it every time so far. haha
Me too, in my line of business. Don't we all?
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Old 03-28-2016, 08:29 AM   #14
DanaC
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Very much a necessary skill when teaching module to module on an undergrad course as well.

I look back on my time as an undergrad and realise just how much some of my PhD tutors were winging it. ;p
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Old 04-08-2016, 03:32 AM   #15
elims
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thank you
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