Andrew Keen's book, The Cult of the Amateur is stimulating a lot of reflective thought about the nature of valued expertise. I previously used Andrew Keen as an example of an unfortunate learner. Will Richardson, Tony Karrer, George Siemens and Wendy Wickham are all thinking about Web 2.0's impact on experts -- with their recent posts.In my view, experts are defensive because they are under siege on several, simultaneous fronts:
Observer-dependence: In quantum physics and the Santiago school in cognition theory: we see what we're looking for. Every observation has a perceptual bias that alters the findings. A self-fulfilling prophesy takes effect. There is no valid objectivity, only influential projections of our selective consciousness.In this context, "being an expert" requires telling us a pack of lies:
Post-modernism: Objectivity is a dominant narrative that subjugates and marginalizes the diversity of other valid narratives. "That's not a fact, it's your story that you use to control the situation in your favor". The way you label this gives you feedback on where you're coming from. It's not an indication of what is out there.Chaos theory: A slight change (Butterfly Effect) in one location can disturb the interconnectedness in a way that yields a massive change elsewhere. System-wide repercussions discredit explanations of consistent causal links, isolated dependent variables or empirical validity.
Recursive epistemology: Events occur in cycles that are acausal (chicken-egg questions, vicious cycles, self-reinforcing loops, closed systems). This mutual interdependence enables both sides to support the continuity of each other. Isolated, compartmentalized and labeled things are misperceptions of "what goes around comes around" processes. Linear models misrepresent non-linear dynamics.
Experts are losing credibility. It's becoming clear to our collective wisdom that they are liars or delusional. The more we generate our own content, conversations and subjective interpretations, the less use we will have for the distortions subscribed to by experts. The content of Web 2.0 seems more valuable to us because it's freeing us from these lies.
This has nothing to do with me. I'm pointing my finger at an objective problem that is unrelated to my outlook, assumptions or unresolved issues. My other three fingers do not point back at me.This is the truth. This is the one right answer that proves that other versions are wrong or inadequate explanations. The nature of this truth does not allow for idle conjectures, spin doctoring, deviant explanations or metaphorical allusions to other interpretations.
This has a known cause. This happened for an identifiable reason. This will happen again for the same reasons. This can be solved, fixed or prevented by knowing what caused it and eliminating that variable.This can be stopped. This is not the effect of wanting to stop it. This is not persisting because of resisting it. This cannot come back to haunt us. We are not perpetually interconnected. There are no significant, unintended consequences.