I’m Doing My Own Research

I’m Doing My Own Research

I’ve gotten pretty good at cutting my own hair. I’ve been getting haircuts for my entire life, and (fingers crossed) hope to for many years to come. Additionally, having watched haircuts taking place albeit through a mirror, I’ve gathered quite a bit about the process. I’ve even taken the finished product home with me in most cases, and examined it in detail. I can tell the difference between a good cut and a bad one.

They say you can’t see the forest through the trees, especially in the midst of a densely populated one. It’s not much different with a hairdo, densely populated or not. But this doesn’t mean I don’t chop down a tree or two of my own from time to time if I need to.

If I do decide to dive into the pruning process, it’s usually because of scheduling issues, sudden geographical inconveniences or in a rare occasion, cancer. I often get passable results, all things considered. That is, except for the time I made a trimmer guard related miscalculation and literally hit reboot on my entire head of hair. Those scenarios are very rare and so far only add up to one. It’s reasons like this and other less regretful reasons that I generally get someone else to cut my hair. Someone who devotes their whole professional life to the craft.

There is something about having the training, tools and the practice that tends to end in better results. Over the years, Gina, Kira and Maria have provided high quality work, excellent results and great conversation. I’ve been able to tell them what I want, and they’ve been able to help me get the best results based on their proven expertise.

Perhaps I’ve been writing myself into a corner here, because after all, I know my hair better than anyone, but it’s true that I do not have the expertise of a barber.

I’ve been on the other side of the chair as well. I’m in the branding and marketing business. I’ve spent countless hours studying the topic, I test myself constantly and I’ve worked with a vast number of clients to consult them on brand decisions or the development of marketing campaigns. I’ve been on the outside of the woods on behalf of a forest dwelling client, and it looks different from out here. It just does.

I’ve had my fair share of people pay me to give them expert advice, but respond by doing something different, if possible in direct conflict with my recommendations. I don’t know their business as well as they do, they’ve been running it for many years. I do have the training, the tools and the proven experience in regards to the profession in which I practice.

When it comes to things like politics, freedom and coronavirus which at the moment are all exactly the same thing, people have decided that their expertise and google results are far more valid than the people who devote their whole life to the very topic they are googling. As a result, the question “What is a coronavirus?” has become so politically charged it might as well be on the ballot as a referendum.

Strangely, questions like “how does a lightbulb work” aren’t receiving the same scrutiny in the public discourse but instead are still being left to electricians.

With the exception of electrical work, it seems that if someone is an expert, we officially don’t trust them. We cast doubts on their expertise because they might get paid $34,312 more than the President, motivating them to lie to the nation in order to turn us into helpless lemmings that will put intimate garment fabric over our faces as an act of submission. If someone benefits financially from their expertise, we must know they are corrupt people with nefarious motives.

It’s striking that the very people making these claims, in most cases, get paid to do something as well (source, the unemployment rate compared to the number of people saying things). Clearly, Mr. Carpenter, you cannot be trusted to give me advice on how to build things, because it benefits you, so get your hands off of my wooden shelves.

Conflicts of interest have existed as long as history, and so has making a living using one’s skills. It seems to me that making a living is itself a conflict of interest, but I suppose we accept the good with the bad in order to keep the politicians from making all the decisions on their own.

Thanks to almost every study ever done recently, it’s clear that people who identify as democrats overestimate pandemic dangers and those who align themselves with republicans tend to underestimate the risks. The line “follow the science” or “my body my choice” only pops up when it serves as a convenient jab. The rest of the time we’re doing our own research to find ways to validate our point of view, while conveniently avoiding the things that discredit it. Despite the experts that are making data, and detailed studies available, explaining what vaccines do and what they don’t do (or insert your topic here).

The claims we see being made are so incredulous, it’s clear that people jump to the conclusions their one dimensional ideology leads them to, without considering factors published in peer-reviewed journals and large numbers of statistical proofs.

This proves that whatever you currently believe, you are probably overreacting. It’s not that our contribution to the national conversation is not valid, It’s just that we’re telling teachers how to teach, marketers how to market and immunologists how to immunologize. Instead we should be treating their advice as the best foundation of knowledge we have to work with at this time, rather than shoot the messenger because we’re not getting the answer we want.

I get it. It feels threatening to have your deeply held beliefs called into question. Sometimes people don’t want to learn too much more, because it feels unsafe to shake their worldview, and possibly have to admit when they’re wrong.

The optimist that I am, I believe there is a solution for this human centered problem. Although the pessimist in me keeps reminding the other me of the above concerns, I wouldn’t be writing this blog if I didn’t believe it mattered and that change at least for a select few was possible. The solution is quite simple.

Let a professional cut your hair or get used to having a bad haircut.