The Band Plays Music
For the generation that grew up without the internet, people had to learn by memory and recall. A polymath would study and master knowledge from disciplines by way of person to person learning and practice.
When someone became a master or became knowledgable in many things, this was celebrated and in many cases rare. The voice of the person was heard with a whole body of practice behind it. If we consider musicians as an example, these people seemed to have magical powers. The better they were and the more they could play or compose it was something special.
Today, it is different. Not to say that we don’t have the rare genius among us but it is much more common and easier for the greater population to achieve what used to be much more difficult in practice. Additionally, it is much easier to augment our ability with technology. I can today compose and produce a body of music right from my living room. I can do this on my mobile device. It’s amazing. The problem from my perspective is the body of knowledge required to understand what we are doing is effectively lost to most of us. Now, if I apply the same logic to work, we have a similar issue. We do a lot of things but we don’t always understand why we do them. We seek to achieve a result or outcome and to that end, we may achieve it but it is difficult to sustain or explain.
My thinking here is sort of simplistic. If we have no need to become a master of something and to the end that we wish to achieve has no real downside, we should leverage the technology. For example, if I make some beats with my kids and rap over them without the intention of being Q-Tip, that’s cool. If I want to practice medicine, I shouldn’t rely on the “what’s wrong wit you now mista” Iphone app.
This applies at scale. I believe some can fake it till they make it in many cases. This doesn’t mean that making it results in sustaining it. It means you made it. When I think about the long term implications of leveraging what I call “quick knowledge” which is generally explicit and prescriptive, it calls for caution. Deep knowledge learned over time with experience, is what we should seek to achieve if we want to sustain something.
It’s something to talk with the kids about I suppose. It is something that we should also be mindful of as we seek to execute our work. In some cases, the band may run out of music because they don’t know how to make up their own songs. In other cases, Jimmy Nurse Practitioner may mark the wrong leg for amputation. Just sayin..