Socrates

Once upon a time a long time ago I went to summer camp at Christendom College.  Among the interesting things that happened in that brief time were meeting my future husband, meeting several of my very dear friends, and deciding to attend that college so far from home. But I digress. Among the much less life changing events was a talent show in which we were required to participate.  I was not pleased.  One of the highly irritating things about my beloved alma mater is how many disgustingly talented people go there.  Well I can play the piano, poorly, and sing, but only in the safety of the choir, and I haven’t done dance since I was a little girl.  In the end, in a fit of genius well mixed with desperation, I delivered an inspired speech based on The Apology, wherein Socrates contends that his wisdom is in knowing how much he does not know.  Dressed in a toga and also, as I recall, a pair of stripey knee length toe socks and a leaf wreath, I explained that my greatest talent was knowing  that I had no talent. Thus proving that my second greatest talent is snark.  Socrates probably rolled over in his proverbial.  Which brings me, by a roundabout way, to my thought of the day.
I bet Socrates would be driven right round the bend by the Internet Educated.  I mean, as one example (pick an area of knowledge and there are examples for it), those people that know more about medicine than doctors because they googled their symptoms.  They followed that up with some YouTube videos on the evil industries controlling everything and an article or two on child development and now they are set.  I think  there’s a whiff of Gnosticism about the whole thing “I,  and an enlightened few, are granted the special knowledge that The Man hides from most of the sheep”  Maybe you don’t know any self-taught internet M-D.s but if not you pro ably know an internet economist or two, an internet philosopher or an internet theologian.  Now I’m not saying there’s no place for internet research, or that there’s no room to “question” experts, but to stick with my medical example, my big brother just finished Med school and I took a peek in his textbooks.  I promptly fell asleep as my body’s natural defense against big latinate words and complex equations kicked in to save my brain from short circuiting.  There’s was an awful lot of stuff in those books and he seemed to spend a fair amount of time studying it.  Could it be that that information is important to rendering good opinions?  The thing about the www is that for every article on why x is bad for you and y is good there is another that says y is sketchy at best and x a very good idea.  What I would like to know is how one can ensure that the info one is getting is the best?  Seems to me that’s where the lack of real education on the subject is going to leave you in the weeds.  I know when you’re talking about researching history, half the battle is finding the best possible sources.  The most important skill you learn in college is how to determine who and what to trust and how to track down worthwhile information.  Now I would love to know how to determine who to trust online, and maybe these self taught experts on everything have figured that out.  In fact there must be a way to do it because there are some people who really do come up with great information online.  If you are one of those people I would love suggestions on how to meaningfully browse the internet.  As it is, the barrage of infomation, much of which seems incredibly silly, leaves me convinced that I really don’t know anything.

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2 responses to “Socrates

  1. Cathy

    Haha tell me about it! I was bombarded with one of these videos just recently! If anything, they do serve as some sort of check on corporate activity by scaring people to death. The best is from people who come into the hospital and INSIST they have a certain illness after googling their symptoms. I like googled knowledge but some people tend to forget that it’s been googled.

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