One of my favorite things about this emerging cultures appetite for ‘power given to the masses’ is that it allows for the masses to control popular thought and opinion. Wikipedia is a great example of the collaborative muscle of our culture working together to create something that is far greater then itself. We love the idea of having control and access to information that has traditionally been behind closed doors, in files marked ‘confidential’, and held by higher ups who can wield and manipulate it to suit their needs and wants. It’s a great idea. The cheese-eating-cigarette-smoking and topless French peasants thought it was a great idea too…that is until they had control and decided that they, like their predecessors, did not want to share. Not too terribly surprising.
At present, our intellectual elite are progressively becoming only side notes in history as psychologically and intellectually we are becoming more and more Marxist-like in our thirst for information. Anyone with a computer and a wifi connection has access to the same information jamming us all into an information and technological middle class. But really, who cares.
Anyhow, my point is this: ‘nobody is smarter then everybody’ is a bit of an ideal way to live and teach. We are deceived by this cute little collection of words because it plays to the thing that we very much want – anti-authority, or, more precisely, our own authority. That said, there are some great times where using this statement and viewpoint in life is very helpful; i.e. in the realm of ideaing, brainstorming problems, collaborative learning, and creativity the more perspectives applied to said problem the better. However, the ‘nobody is smarter then everyone’ cliché breaks down the moment it comes to applying specific skills to specific tasks.
Do we let everyone with a seat on WestJet flight 178 from Abbotsford to Saskatoon to visit the in-laws give advice, suggest flight patterns, and take a crack at flying the jet…or, do we leave it in the hands of the pilots who, after many many hours of skill and knowledge development, fly the jet? We trust the pilot.
Do we let everyone with a seat in a church take a crack at teaching and preaching…or…do we trust the teacher who has spent many hours in study, prayer, and preparation? We very much want to trust a pilot; why not a teacher?
Collectively we can come up with some amazing ideas; collaborations and innovations that come only as a result of people getting together co-creating and co-developing something magnificent. However, collectively we can also become dumb and ignorant in our quest for anti-authority.