Advice And Information

Do keep in mind the fable of the blind men and the elephant (click the link) when seeking advice and information about ANYTHING.

No one human being has all of the information, or all of the correct information, and that includes ourselves. So WE can't even know who knows the correct information and who doesn't; our own judgement is only human as well. Even if we think a person is a brilliant expert, it doesn't mean they are, they might be WAY OFF. They might just SEEM like they know what they're doing, or what they're talking about. They might indeed have a "good handle" on the subject, but they won't have ALL of the information about it; the information does not begin and end with that person, even if they are an "expert".
Another person might be much more knowledgeable or capable, but because of our own personal biases and flawed judgment, we dismiss them, ignore them, or simply don't notice them, so we don't give them a listen at all.
And even still, we might not have actually been hearing from ANYONE who knows what they're talking about, OR, we might be hearing different points of view that are ALL VALID, but different from one another.

How do we tell what's "good advice" and what's not, or who's giving it?

We can't really, but it's a conundrum only when we are looking for someone else to follow, instead of neutral information and data.

If I want to find out what the best new car within my budget is on today's market, (or find the very best recipe for Angel Food Cake, or decide on a career path, buy a house, learn about psychology, learn about carpentry, go to college, find a job, learn about the law, learn about dog and cat breeds, get parenting advice, get relationship advice, become "enlightened", learn about a religion, learn about my rights, learn about my government, learn about other cultures, fix my car), I'm going to need to gather information, not look for someone to follow and believe.
It's perfectly natural and there's nothing wrong with "following someone else's lead", or being mentored by a person, or apprenticing with a person. But that's not the same as assuming someone possesses all the information about a given topic or subject, or that they are always accurate, and that I don't need to look to other sources.  And there's no blame or judgment needed if someone's information or knowledge isn't "perfect"; if I'm not fixated on "following" a person, then I'm not going to assume that everything they say is the gospel truth, therefore I won't blame or judge them if something they said wasn't complete, or wasn't exactly accurate, or I didn't understand it because of the way they explained it. Again, there is no one alive who's not a mere human, so there's no logical reason to assume that one person is going to know everything about any subject, or to be totally accurate; no one is more of a "god" than me or you.

There ARE, of course, those who purposely give misinformation in order to misdirect or gaslight others, but again, if I'm not assuming they're some kind of super-guru, and I'm going to get information from other sources as well, then I'm already protecting myself from people who do that. Also, if I listen to the points of view of others and not just CERTAIN people, then I'm protecting myself even more. I don't need to buy into anyone else's beliefs or information, I'm simply gathering data and information from different sources that I will then go through myself, without being led this and that way by my own biases about who said what.

So, if I want to find out what the best new car within my budget is on today's market, I will need to learn more about car engines in general myself, so I understand what I'm looking at and hearing. I'm going to need to learn more about the manufacturers themselves, from several sources. I'll need to actually go and look at all different cars, makes and models, read all I can find about them, and make sure I understand what I'm reading before I make a decision.

I can ask people I know, but I'm not going to just believe certain people and dismiss others; I am going to listen to each of them, and remember that they are ALL ALSO just humans with flawed judgment; none of them have ZERO information, and none of them have ALL of the information. The mechanic I ask might not actually know much about the cars on the current market, and he or she might also be "advising" me based on THEIR preferences, and their ASSUMPTIONS about ME, not what I'm actually looking for, or what I need. They also might be giving me lots of accurate information, but I can't know that, because I'M not actually an "expert" myself.
Then the person who looks to me like they would know nothing about cars might actually have the most information, and the most accurate information, so if I don't ask her or him, or if I dismiss what they say because of my own judgment issues, then I'm just making my SELF miss out on helpful information.

It may seem like a fast, logical, and easy way to get good information and advice by judging who to believe and then getting information from them, and dismissing information from others. But that's really just trying to take a shortcut when a shortcut is the last thing you want to take when seeking advice and information.

Also, when we do that, we are more likely to only accept advice and information that we AGREE WITH, and FROM those we already LIKE, admire, or "look up" to. So if we didn't already think of it or it didn't seem "right" to us, we often just leave it behind; we don't consider that it might be information we could learn from.

We are most likely to find the best advice and information for ourselves by listening to as many points of view as we can find, and finding the most information about the subject that we can find. We can also learn about the subject HANDS ON, and in observational point of view, instead of just believing what other people say about it.
As we learn more and more information, we can put ourselves to the action of putting all of that information together, seeing what makes objective sense to the best of our ability at the time, and observing for ourselves what seems to work and what doesn't. We can also leave room and flexibility for changes and additional information that we haven't learned yet.

When we FOLLOW PEOPLE, we are limited by THEIR limits.
When we LISTEN to people without following them, or dismissing them; when we know that information is neutral, no one "owns" it; and when we find out information on our own as well, with our own hands and our own eyes and ears, we can make many more informed decisions and plans for ourselves.    



There is some kind of hilarious habit in the Northeast where if a person disagrees with another person, they seem to think that they now have some kind of "moral high-ground". So then, whomever's Point of View gets proven "correct" (not necessarily with actual evidence)~ they are the "WINNER", and therefore Morally and/or Intellectually Superior to the other person.

And then everyone (I guess) is supposed to then respect the "winner" more than the other person.... even if the only reason they "won" was because the other person got tired of dealing with a bully and walked away.
Which of course leads to people using this kind of thing to bully others, gain false respect (which translates to real money and control), and ALSO leads to people being afraid to speak, question things,  express themselves, or disagree.
Everything is about "proving superiority", "displaying superior expertise", "deserving more respect than another", or "gaining moral high-ground" instead of neutral information exchange or just getting things done.
Everything seems to have emotion, projection, and ego attached to it. 

Some kind of throw-back to when Puritans settled here?
Or is it from another culture? Or a result of something else?
I wonder how many other cultures are steeped in this habit.

I don't think it's only in the USA, or the Northeast, but it's definitely a "thing" here. It must be prevalent in other areas because a lot of politicians use this successfully to gain a following. Pretty funny to watch.  I saw less of it in the South where I used to live, although it did show itself.

Life Lessons We Should All Already Know

Remember these life lessons:

~Only certain people are capable, knowledgeable, wise, and deserve respect.
~We learn how to recognize them by sight, sound, and feeling when we are very young, through the example of those around us.
~Anyone who does not seem like one of those people is not worthy of automatic respect. They have to prove it to us by the standards we set.
~Some people can't ever prove that they deserve real respect, because they just can't, they're just not good enough, period.
~People who we know don't deserve automatic respect also don't deserve civil behavior or polite manners. We don't have to listen to anything they say, and it's okay to feel superior to them. We don't need to treat them with good manners or courtesy, whether they're a stranger, a friend, a family member, or a coworker.
~If we're not sure if someone deserves respect or not, and we're not sure if we like them or not, we should find out what their job is, their college degrees are, and listen to what other people say about them. If they don't have an important title or degree, or if someone tells us bad things about them, then it's okay to treat them with disrespect, especially if everyone else does.
~Integrity, civility, politeness, honesty, respect, and good manners are only for people who we think deserve it, and who our friends tell us deserve it.
~Only people who are jealous of us don't like us.
~Only people we like deserve our sympathy, and only people we agree with deserve our respect.
~We can tell everything about what a person is like by the way they look and the way they make us feel.
~The only people who are wise are already famous or have important jobs.
~Almost all people with important jobs and degrees earned them completely on their own with no real help from anyone else, and anyone who does not have an important job or degree is just lazy, crazy, or not as intelligent.
~The way we feel about someone else always represents the way that person really is.
~All people we respect and like are trustworthy, honest, and righteous.
~Rumors and stereotypes are based in fact and reality, unless they're about ourselves or someone we like.

~Learn how to detect b.s. and manipulation from farther away, and learn how to see the bigger picture from farther away as well. Learn the difference between "the forest" and "the trees", and what a "bird's eye view" really looks like, from higher up.

~Learn what sarcasm and irony looks and sounds like. 

~Don't be so hard on yourself or on others or take yourself or another so seriously; there are no humans who are more powerful than most of the other creatures on this Earth. Without a weapon, some kind of shield and shelter, and without any clothing, even the largest human is not much more powerful than a baby lamb against most other creatures, and no human can survive without the same basics that any other human must have. There has never been a human who did not need to be cared for by another, for quite some time, in order to survive. There has never been a human who survived infancy who was not influenced by other humans.

~When we take ourselves more seriously than we take others, we're in ego, not reality. When we make lords and gods out of other humans, and try to make still other humans into peasants and morons, we're still in ego. If we're in ego, we're not in reality.