Empowerment Worries Me
I am worried about the empowerment of the people, the information age has given birth to a world that knows they know, there are no Indians, and everyone is a chief. I am losing my confidence, I am not sure I am entitled to have an opinion, I am feeling surrounded.
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Thursday, June 25, 2009
A few men here in Chiang Mai were quizzing me on what I do for a living; I tried my best to avoid the conversation. However, I finally admitted I have an internet page and a Travel Blog. Unfortunately, they were too old and truly did not understand what a Blog was, it became a big hassle.
I said, I give a daily report on the internet of where I am and what I am doing. The one drunk says,
“You explain tourist locations.”
“No, I just make comments, I give opinions.”
“Like a columnist.”
Nobody was listening, they all knew already.
I wanted to give up, however in their drunken haze they continued, in one last effort for clarity I gave an example.
“I wrote yesterday that I believe corruption in Thailand is increasing.”
A man says,
“You are absolutely wrong, you know nothing about Thailand.”
“That is possible, it was just my opinion.”
“It is my hobby to study the politics of Thailand, ask me any question.”
He sat there waiting for me to ask a question. I sat for a few uncomfortable minutes, knowing in negotiations the first one to talk loses. He finally said,
“You are not going to ask a question?”
I continued to say nothing, knowing I wanted to pull away from the table and not negotiate.
There is a catch 22 of writing, it is impossible to be a listener when I am writing, I am doing the talking. However, I am 100 percent aware, I am here, and you are there. How in the world could you know about here, when you are there, it is baffling.
We all read too much, we all watch TV too much, we somehow have become empowered. People there will tell me they know about here, I am missing something, and maybe I do not understand them.
I can feel something, I am being surrounded, I think you call it.
10 years ago, I was sitting with other travelers who came to a country; they were excited, energetic and all full of curiosity. I am not sure, however somewhere along the path, these same people read too much, watch too much travel TV and everyone is giving me a lecture on what I am seeing, I am tired of talking with them.
It is an observation people, I did not see it on television, and I did not read about it, I am looking at it… why would I study something to learn about something I am looking at?
The truth is this; learning is highly over-valued, what is the point in becoming a know-it-all?
Andy, The older I grow the less I know. Why? This is a big, big world I live in and I realize that perhaps 10 of what I read in newspaper, newsweek and see on TV is barely accurate. I go up town to coffee shop and what I hear is perhaps 2 correct. It is only how the people think in their mind it is and I expect a lot of information we receive the people it comes from really believe they are correct. Does it really matter? I have decided in the big scheme of life being happy, healthy and paying my bills is the only thing of true importance to me. Of course I will always be trying to find out interesting things about our world just like you are.
0 and 1, off and on, the world is a nuance, I enjoy comments. I was writing about a real person, not this NOT-real Internet life, this Travel Journal is not my life.
I am pointing out that too many people think they are experts at many subjects, typically anything they happen to be talking about at the moment. This is not possible, and when a person writes a comment about the location where I am at, I want to have them qualify their knowledge, not active voice, try some passive voice with humility and open ends, use the word maybe.
Example: I have been to Uganda five times, and liked Fort Portal... etc.
I lived with the Pygmies between Kabale and Kisoro in Uganda.
What you read is not knowledge, it is hearsay and should NOT empower people to feel they know anything, they just read a lot, this is not knowing. Repeating what you read is the problem.
I told a man observations, and he told me what he read in the paper, who is right, neither is right or wrong, and I am only positive of one thing, neither of us is an expert. Neither of even speak Thai...