Wednesday, August 05, 2009


“Beware of the young doctor and the old barber”

~Benjamin Franklin

Just looking at that picture above--man, I have a funny shaped head.

I find it to be interesting that I have a lot of distrust of people with PhDs or MDs. Funny that I decided to go get my PhD, isn't it?

I am trying to decide which is worse between two hypothetical situations:

The someone who thinks they are always right, or the someone who is always afraid to be wrong. And I think there is a difference. Something inside of me feels that the latter of the two is more dangerous. Especially with aforementioned MD after their name.

The belief that we are "right" is annoying, and certainly is not true for anyone. At least anyone that I ever knew. In side of my feeble brain, when I consider these two options, the first strikes me not as dishonest or with mal-intent, but with a sort of arrogance and piety that drives me nuts because they always have something to say. Holy crap, I think I am pretty darn close to describing ME, here...

The second option, always being afraid to be wrong, is different. I find myself feeling distrustful of this person because in their fear of being wrong they may choose inaction or silence, which often is the same as dishonesty. I don't know. I really could say a lot more about this but I haven't thought it through very well, it just sort of struck me as I thought about the last few years and my dislike of the established medical profession.

And, more pertinently, perhaps, being here in grad school-- I get to see both options... sometimes, I think, in the same person. Imagine that.


S. Moss said...

One of the amazing traits we as (or nearly as, in some cases) humans have is the ability to SOUND like we know that we are always right; in the same breath I should say that yes, the opposite is more often much closer to the truth.
I am an expert in being afraid to fail so therefore not making any effort. And, you know what? I'm not even a doctor!! Well, not true, actually. I consider myself a PHD of the swing, and of the tying of the soft hackle.... say, am I wasting space here or what!!!

mossygirl said...

The desire to avoid being wrong is powerful indeed. I have many experiences with that very concept driving dishonesty far beyond mere inaction or silence, but compounding the error, an intense need to cover it up at all cost.

Similarly, I think that could be applied also to the person who believes they are always right, but I believe the propensity tends toward the one afraid to be found out...

Rosalind said...

Maybe that's why it's healthy psychologically to have the "safety net" of allowing for that we might not be right or that what is "right" is only so until the next discovery?