an unnecessary display of knowledge…we all have been around this one way or another.
i once received a christmas letter that was about 2-3 pages long, single-spaced. it was from a long-ago friend from elementary school and i was pretty excited to see her name on the return envelope. i looked forward to hearing what she was up to; we hadn’t been in touch much since “the olden days” and i was happily curious.
so i opened the envelope and settled in to read her news. it took less than a few seconds to see that this was not about fun stuff that she, her family and extended family had done through the year; instead it was a report – although she included a flowery description of their home in a california beach town, there was a wordy review of books she had read, a detailed, verbose list of accomplishments at work. there were no anecdotes about family or, for that matter, any talk about family. i’m still unclear about whether or not she has children. her language was untypical, conspicuously intellectual verbiage. it felt pointedly like a display of knowledge. ick.
we’ve all been subjected to this. in writing, in person, on tv or podcasts, on facebook or twitter. it’s definitely eye-rolling territory. my daughter – The Girl – has perfected eye-rolling and i have used her technique from time to time in an effort to deal with the after-effects of such displays of knowledge.
although i am aware of and respect that you have accumulated vast knowledge through the years, i believe i mostly want to know what you think, how something makes you feel, what your story is, how you participate in life with others. that will tell me what you know and, with gratitude for you and the unique gifts you bring, i will learn from you.
as human beings, it seems like gaining knowledge is our job. sharing knowledge is our gift. displaying knowledge is a whole ‘nother thing. and so unnecessary.