Ignorance is bliss but please don’t charge me for your services!
Posted August 25, 2009on:
It’s a good thing they don’t know
Today I had glass of warm water and a few drops of lemon juice for breakfast to allow the medics to do a fasting blood test. A fasting blood test helps them get ‘reliable’ readings for something for other. Happy in my ignorance.
We spend most of our waking hours in ignorance of what we are doing or why – happy to let someone else decide.
So, for those of us who have taken it upon ourselves to teach, we find ourselves in a daft situation. We can be annoyed when the knowledge of our profession is not taken seriously. We are seriously annoyed when the professionals in our field don’t know the basics.
And none of us really know
To talk glibly of “evidence-based practice” is really rather irritating. We boil water for our glass of warm water, in many countries in the world to kill bugs. But let’s face it. Many bugs survive boiling water. Some thrive in concentrated sulfuric acid. What we mean is that of the things we know how to do and can do in our kitchen, boiling water is pretty useful at killing some bugs that kill us. A very northern hemisphere idea, btw. It’s just as good to put your water in a clear bottle and leave it in the sun. But of course, there is not to much sun in the UK. It works fine in hotter climes. Do you get my drift?
We need to communicate in terms that can be understood
All our knowledge is based on custom and folk-lore and we are not exempt. To pass on knowledge to people who are not experts in our field in language and practice they can relate to is not a disgrace. It is a professional necessity. They don’t want to know the ins and the outs. They want to know what to do. They are leaving uswith the responsibility for the result.
It is a disgrace not to know the basics
But what a disgrace it is to not know the basics. When we start to believe that boiling water kills bugs rather than some bugs do not survive boiling water, then we perhaps should have our license take away.
Knowing the basics leads to creativity
It is knowing the basics that helps us think of new solutions.
Imagine if I were on the proverbial desert island, wouldn’t it be better to have the idea in my head that I must get rid of bugs in the water that might kill me. I am abundant in my ignorance. There are so many bugs that can kill me and fair handful that scientists don’t even know about yet. Therefore, the question is not what is the solution but what are the many ways I can ‘purify’ [another misleading idea] the water. And the right action is to do what I can and begin as General Colin Powell says, when I have a 40-60% chance of being right.
Research-based practice or more snake-oil?
So don’t talk glibly of research-based practice. You are trying to wave a spell in the air. Actually, you are trying to get me to pay you more money.
Show me your protocols. And make sure
a. They are intelligible to me
b. I don’t know more than you
Otherwise, we might just chase you out of town. We won’t call you a witch, because that is still illegal in UK, but we won’t allow you near our food. Get your own.
Show me your protocols – in language and experiences I can understand and where I can see the goal and the basic idea.