Archive for October 27th, 2010

Age is no Defense

A commenter made an excellent point about another illusion that handicaps Mantra Thinking: the illusion that people have as they grow old is that they are therefore Wise.

This is, in fact, twin with the problem of people who have been dealing with a problem unsuccessfully for decades at public expense automatically being declare Experts on solving it. But this one makes life especially difficult for me.

I am handicapped by the general image of a Leader and the general image of an old man who is writing. BUGsers are very kind to me, so they do not want to be disrespectful and they actually apologize for disagreeing with me.

That is good behavior if it doesn’t get in the way of what BUGS is all about. One new commenter was obviously uncomfortable contradicting me and one of our old hands told him that my reaction would be “So what?” I really appreciated that.

I tell you my view of the world. One reason you read BUGS is because you think I’m right often enough to be worth while. But I have a personal reason for writing here too.

As usual things in BUGS interrelate. Years ago I wrote a piece about a method of getting real information out of famous experts, real ones.

The problem is that someone who knows a subject has developed a standard set of answers. So if you take out time to go to a lecture or, worse, are seeing someone your boss has PAID you to go to, you get standard fare from him. The result is that you go back with something you could have just looked up.

My solution was simple. I found out what this guy really hated.

I would state a position in his field of expertise that he loathed.

Then I kept prodding that way and the standard stuff stopped. He began to give me examples and his actual opinions in the heat of getting me off that position that he hated so much.

When a person is Giving Advice, he is very guarded and he will have technique for handling all questions and he will be a lot like a lawyer who will not let you probe into certain areas. Make him mad enough and all bets are off.

Which is the reason you wanted to see him in the first place.

I want to dump out my thinking here so you can comment on it and look things up for me. I am not a Leader, I am not depending on my age.

Considering the world older people have left younger ones, it seems outrageous to me that they would have the cajones to say that young people should look to them for dealing with reality. While respect and courtesy is welcome, too much of that attitude would be fatal to the whole purpose of BUGS.

Think of BUGS as saying the only thing the older generation has any right to say to say to the people we have dumped all this on:

Where did we go WRONG?