Do experts really have universal wisdom/knowledge?

Your English teacher always told you to study your vocabulary words because it was important.  Why?  Because the bigger our vocabulary, the stronger the likelihood that we will choose the correct word for the situation.  Mark Twain once said, “The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.”   The more words we have at our command, the more precise our description and the more effective our communication. To that end, today's Word of the Week is: pansophy  \PAN-suh-fee\, noun: Universal wisdom or knowledge. From the Greek, pansophy is comprised of the root words pan meaning “all” and sophy meaning “wisdom.” As I looked at this word, it reminded me of the number of times we find someone in our society claiming universal wisdom or knowledge-at least of one subject or another.  They host TV shows, do commercials, ask us to hire them and sell products.  They call themselves experts.  The ones who sell marketing products are called gurus.  I am often introduced as a Communication Expert and I'm always uncomfortable with this term. An expert implies universal wisdom or knowledge of a subject and, while I have a degree in Speech Communication and over 25 years of experience, I still consider myself a student of communication.  As a human being, I'm always a work in progress.  I may know more about the topic than many, but an expert?  If anyone could have been called a Communication Expert, it was Ronald Reagan.  However, even Reagan was consistently honing his skills. No, as I see it, the only one with pansophy is the Lord who possesses all the wisdom and knowledge of the universe.  Does it bother you when someone calls themselves an expert?  A guru?  What say you? If you liked this article, please subscribe to our RSS feed and share the link...


  • JoJo

    That’s a good point, Carla. The term has been overused and has lost its meaning.

  • Carla

    I agree with you. None of us are true experts at anything. We are all works in progress. The term expert has become meaningless, in my opinion, because it is simply thrown around too much, diluting its meaning and allowing anyone who can jump in front of a camera to wax poetic. . . when they should be waxing floors maybe? The situation that comes to mind is when something military happens, particularly on CNN. All of a sudden, they are digging retired military personnel out of moth balls and putting them up on the screen with EXPERT after their names. Yeah, right. Maybe some of them are. . . but I’m betting most of them are just flapping their gums for a price.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published