Experts are authority figures. While helpful, it also makes them dangerous. For instance, research shows they can talk people out of things they know are true. The most defensive truth about experts helps to explain why they might do this.
Experts’ Values Rise And Fall With Their Realms
Take for instance an expert on steam engines. For most of the 1800’s, steam powered trains, vehicles and engines. How would he look at the internal combustion engine? Forms of petroleum power it such as gasoline and diesel.
The combustion engine came to dominate the 1900’s and today. With its rise came the need for experts on it. As steam declined, the value of steam experts declined. Again, what did these steam experts say early on about gasoline? After all, in those days it was just the waste product of kerosene.
Application To The Soft Sciences
In this instance, a tangible test showed the internal combustion engine superior to steam. How would this apply to vaguer realms though? Social sciences, psychology, economics, business and more would fall in here.
Each has its own sub-discipline. Each sub-discipline divides further, and so on. Experts live and thrive in each of these sub-sub-realms. Their values rise and fall with the demand for their realms.
How Experts Excel In Their Realms
Experts not only excel by becoming a dominate force in their expertise. They also excel by creating demand for their realms, “a rising tide raises all ships.” They also excel by fighting back those who seek to devalue it or seek to shift demand to their own realms.
This is no different than athletes in fringe sports, such as table tennis, who seek to expand the audience and popularity of their sports. Doing so brings more recognition and money. The same economics work for experts.
The Most Defensive Truth About Experts
Thus, the most defensive truth about experts is that they must promote and guard their realms. As leaders in their realms, no one immunizes them to hubris. No one sedates their latent obsessions for power. Simply, experts remain human.
Still, their ideas can help. They are worth a listen. The point is that it’s very dangerous to swallow them without thought, without questions. It’s how they can talk us out of truth.
After all, it is our minds where they exert their power. Rather than help our thinking, they might seek to dominate it. Therefore, if an expert likes neither your thinking nor questions . . . run!