Thursday, September 20, 2018

Insight From A Thriller Writer

     “University politics is very odd. You get a lot of people gathered together who, if they couldn’t do this, really couldn’t do anything. They are given to think that they are both intelligent and important because they have Ph.D.s and most people don’t. Often, though not always, the Ph.D. does indicate mastery over a given subject. But that’s all it indicates, and, unfortunately, many people with Ph.D.s think it covers a wider area than it does. They think it empowers their superior insight into government and foreign policy and race relations and such. In addition, these people are put into an environment where daily, they judge themselves against a standard set by eighteen or twenty-year-old kids who know little if anything about the subject matter on which their professors are expert.”
     “Makes it hard not to take yourself very seriously,” I said.
     “Hard, not impossible,” he said. “More of them ought to be able to do it.”
     “But they can’t?”
     “But they don’t.”

     [Robert B. Parker, Hush Money, 1999]


Pascal said...

Many so described, though often quite clever, will feign not to get the point.

Hubris, love of power and willful ignorance frequently reside at the same address.

Mr. Parker encapsulates all that in 6 words.

Linda Fox said...

Hmm. I hadn't thought about the skewing of their self-regard that is likely to result from their being surrounded by people so much less knowledgeable than they are about their subject. It must make it hard to be humble.

Francis W. Porretto said...

Humility is one of the toughest of the virtues to acquire even when you're not surrounded by the ignorant and immature.