Wednesday, April 6, 2011

What's in a name

Carrots in the water by feneur
Carrots in the water, a photo by feneur on Flickr.
I've just started working in a Garden Center for the summer (or rather the season, summer it's definitely not yet in Sweden), and having customers asking me questions about this and that, some of which I can answer and some not, has got me thinking. It's not strange that they ask questions, after all it's part of my job to try my best and help them, but it's strange how just a title can provoke questions. I remember when I was studying gardening in high school and people I know started to ask me all kinds of questions, when to prune this or that or what-not. As if I suddenly just because I was studying gardening would know everything there's to know about the subject. It's even stranger when people who have been gardening for many years and ought to be experts in what they grow etc ask me. My education, and an interest both before and after high school, has of course given me some knowledge, but it doesn't automatically give me all precise knowledge needed to reply to the most detailed questions. To some extent it does of course make sense that people want to find out more and do so by asking someone who ought to know. And how to know whether someone knows something unless that person has got an education or title that's related to the subject. But when it comes to more serious subjects than gardening (not that I'm saying that gardening isn't important, just that few people have been hurt because an apple tree isn't perfectly pruned or a rose not properly fertilized), I feel it can be dangerous. Sometimes we might too readily give up our own judgement and common sense just because someone has got a couple of letters before their name or a fancy title. Of course we should listen to people who know more than ourselves, I just don't think we should abandon all our reason because of something they say. (Especially if they're quoted in media ;-) )

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