Monday, April 04, 2011

We need Guides rather than Experts

As I am typing this... Olly and Miriam (my 9yo) are watching "America's Top Model".

I have had an allergic reaction to shows like this... and programmes like "The X-Factor"... because of the role of experts... or should I say the role given to experts.

In these shows... the experts (and please understand I do not doubt their expertise and experience in their respective areas) are elevated to the role of Judge, Jury and, in some cases, Executioner.

Their opinions can make or break a person... and their careers. They act as subjective filters... removing the chaff they wish to remove to emphasis the wheat they wish to keep.

Now... don't get me wrong... I believe there is a lot of chaff out there... in fact, every contestant on "The X-Factor" is chaff, in my humble opinion... but that's the thing: its my opinion!

Just as these Judges choose based on their own subjective views... I select what I like based on mine. I am opinionated... I have an opinion!

That's the point... if we allow others to make up our minds for us... do our thinking... filter out the chaff... then we do not develop our own tastes and therefore cannot complain when we feel unsatisfied and empty.

We need to think for ourselves... we need to develop our own preferences and be open enough to share them.

Consider the Rob Bell "Love Wins" furore... a number of people didn't and haven't read the book because they have sub-contracted out their opinions to people they "trust"... they happily follow the people they have raised to Expert level and let them do the thinking and the opinion-forming.

I have been inspired by the book and hope to share my thoughts when I finish the book... but please don't take it from me. Don't follow my opinion on the book or, for that matter, the music I love or the films I've seen... taste them for yourself and make up your own opinion.

Read the book.
Listen to the album.
Watch the film.

This is why I would consider myself a Guide... someone who shows you what they have found and lets you sample it for yourself. I don't care if you don't like what I like... because I'm not invested in being an expert... the thrill for me is finding something awesome and pointing to it. If you like it then fantastic! If you don't but have tasted it then fantastic!

We need more Guides than Experts... show me new things and let me decide rather than telling me what to think.

The only issue with this is choice... an over abundance of choice... but then we need to choose our Guides carefully... and be prepared to form our own opinions.

But don't take it from me... what do you think?


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