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authority figures...

Poster: many waters cannot quench love <lisa@technomancer.com>

On Thu, 5 Mar 1998, AEdric the Grene wrote:

> imagine that any who are not suck-ups who take the King's personal opinion as gold are
> just not good critical thinkers in the first place and will find someone else to be
> influenced by, if not the King.

how about coming at it from the opposite direction?  if you're fairly new
in the sca - or even if you're a reasonably experienced scadian but are
dealing with a particular aspect of the sca about which you don't know
much - then the reasonable and practical way to gather information about
the sca is to find someone who has that information and learn it from

so, how do you find those people?  you look for authority figures, and the
assumption is made - and is even usually accurate - that a king/queen,
baron/baroness, or peer has been playing in the sca for some time and is a
good source of general info about the sca as well as specific info about
their field of expertise.  (yes, there are occasional exceptions.  but on
the whole it's more accurate than not, imho.) 

once you've found your authority figure, you ask your question; they tell
you several things, most of which are facts, a few of which are
interpretations of facts, and one of which is a firmly held opinion.
unless they clearly state what's which, you have no way of knowing,
because if you were an expert in the subject, you wouldn't be asking them
in the first place...

the point being that coming from an authority figure, an opinion or
interpretation carries as much weight as, and is often indistinguishable
from, a fact.  i'm not at all saying authority figures shouldn't have or
share opinions - their opinions are valuable in their own right, being
shaped by their experience.  but i DO think authority figures generally
need to be careful - more so than your average bear - about clearly
specifying what's fact and what's opinion. 

i don't think it's unreasonable for people to consider information coming
from an authority figure as authoritative - it's only natural.  but the
flip side of that coin is that people getting information from an
authority figure have to remember they're dealing with a person, not a
talking issue of the red tape, and bear in mind that they may well be
getting a mix of fact and opinion... 

all of which boils down more succinctly to: "it's good to have a clue." ;)

					in opinionated service,


lisa lorenzin  |  lisa@technomancer.com  |  http://www.1000plus.com/lisa/
of what avail is an open eye if the heart is blind? - solomon ibn gavirol

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