On Learning, Sharing and the Dunning Kruger Effect

If you have a problem sharing on social media, you have an ego problem.

I saw this on an infographic sometime ago and it pricked me a little. Surely I couldn’t have an ego problem; What then has been the point of all those Alan Watts lectures I’ve been binging on YouTube? With all the intentional effort I apply in my everyday life to kill the ego of self, did I really still have an ego problem?

Truth is, social media has never really been my thing. In fact in real life, I’m only sociable when amongst small groups — Once the room starts becoming a crowd, this ol’ tortoise will ‘jejely’ retreat into his shell. Could my ego really be the reason why I overthink social actions and engagements? Well, maybe. or maybe it is something else -

I’m in a bit of a pickle you see; my reality is best described by the Dunning Kruger effect. I suffer from this existential fear of believing myself to be more competent than I really am. This makes it quite challenging to share knowledge I have because, what if it turns out that I don’t know as much as I think I do?

The fact is, I do not know enough yet and this selfsame fear drives my curiosity to keep learning. So while I stay learning, the struggle to share is fueled by my understanding as a perpetual student, that there is probably always more to the subject than is apparent to me per time.

I do not fear being individually wrong. In fact, I love to be proven wrong — because then the gaps in my knowledge get identified and filled. What I fear is putting out knowledge that may turn out to be flawed, and that knowledge being consumed by someone who may not exactly be disposed to verifying that knowledge before appropriating it.

I am pretty sure there are people out there like me with this ever present struggle and every once in a while, you manage to push through, and hit that post button. To these ones I’ll leave a closing note from the venerable Socrates -

“I know that I am intelligent because I know that I know nothing”

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