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Centerpointe Research

Whose Business Is It Anyway?


EXPERT (Photo credit: Pete Prodoehl)

Most of us have trouble controlling our own lives so why do we think we can do a good job of controlling someone else’s life, especially that of someone we really don’t know.   It seems that our media encourages this and hour upon hour of television news is spent speculating about people who are in the public spotlight and garnering opinions about them, who they are, what to do about them, and why they did what they did.  They survey dozens of “experts” and whether these experts know what they are talking about is often not very clear.

Usually this speculating starts before the facts about the situation (if we ever really get them) are all in and often the initial information from which people are drawing conclusions is sketchy, at least a little inaccurate, and sometimes just plain wrong.  This jumping to conclusions can lead to actions and  reactions that are not just inappropriate, but downright harmful.  Mob violence, for example, can be such a thing.  There is something to be said for delays in reporting some of the news until all the facts are in and for taking the time necessary to put together a full and unbiased report.  Even then should people, consumers and “experts”, be called prematurely to offer ideas as to how they would describe the motives of possible “suspects” and as to what should be done in terms of punishment and in terms of changes in the law that should be made.

How can some of us who may have similar problems of our own that we can’t or won’t solve and/or who have little knowledge of the problem in general tell others with that problem what to do?  In college, the sophomore who was taking introductory psychology always knew the most about the subject and was inclined to offer other college students who had not yet taken the class, friends, and family unsolicited advice and opinions about others’ behavior and psychological problems.  “Don’t look at me; look at them,” the person seems to be saying and often following this with unsolicited and unsound advice.  Control yourself, not others, unless you are officially responsible for them as a teacher, law enforcement officer, judge, or parent.

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