Ultracrepidarianism

ultra1

The term ultracrepidarian was first publicly recorded in 1819 by the novelist, playwright William Hazlitt who was famous as a literary critic and a renowned for his sharp writing. He used the term in his open letter to William Gifford who was also a renowned editor and poet and was famous as a satirist and controversialist. William Hazlitt wrote to William Gifford “You have been well called an Ultracrepidarian critic”.  The term was used again four years later in 1823, in a satire by Hazlitt’s friend Leigh Hunt in a satire on William Gifford for his habit of giving opinions on all matters – some which were outside his field of knowledge. Ultracrepidarianism is the habit of giving opinions and advice on matters outside of one’s filed of knowledge. The German word Besserwisser is also used in some languages, literally meaning “better knower.”

Unfortunately, we encounter ultracrepidarians in all walks of life who act as though they have been everywhere and have experienced everything. You bump into them at a party, in travels, in a theatre, in your neighborhood, in a super market – everywhere.   What do you do? Your job is to simply acknowledge his brilliance with an occasional nod. They act as though they have solution for each problem. They have strong opinions, which they deliver in an obnoxious manner. They tend to monopolize conversations, dismiss input from others and make decisions without first considering all the facts.

Some persons can be called experts in particular subjects; but, no human knows everything about anything. It is not possible. And, the experts have their opinion on topics related to their area of knowledge. That is the natural order of things. Voicing opinion is a different story. That can be a tendency or a family trait. Opinions cannot be logical or scientific always. They can come out of cultural bias, ethical bias, racial bias but people voice their opinion for a need for validation. Any of these processes that are excessive, including saying meaningless things, eventually gets to be irritating to others. Ultracrepidarians tend to share opinions to back up or solidify their views on everything. Such people are tagged as “Show off” or “Know-it-all”.

When we read something new, or when we find a new product, we make our opinions about that product within a matter of seconds. Often our opinion is based on our first impression. While first impressions help to clarify our feelings about something, they are often stored in our memory as somewhat ‘factual’ opinions based on our experiences. Some people are so exasperating who just shoot out their opinions based on half baked knowledge on anything under the sun. Nobody likes to hang out with such people.

ultra2

Some things are beyond the mind, thus beyond understanding. People must realize that every human has limitations. All infinite and never-ending things are beyond the mind, and the essence of everything is infinite and never-ending.

It is best to ignore the ultracrepidarians; if you cannot get rid of them, ask those pointed questions and the source of information and where they found the source. Tell them they need to have facts in order before speaking out. Make them understand that half knowledge is dangerous. Confront them fearlessly; chances are they will learn to shut their mouth. Else, deflect their comments with a simple, ‘Thanks for that suggestion’ instead of engaging them in an ongoing conversation. If need arises, be rude and cut them short.

Comments

comments

SHARE
Previous articleYou Can Use Quizzes to Measure Teaching Efficacy
Next articleLive your life by accelerating your learning curve
Over the course of my life, I have done all possible jobs that one can think of – front desk assistant, telephone operator, clerical work, accounts assistant, inventory officer, sales woman, sales manager, tutor, lecturer, professor, director...etc. The range of job designations and experience of working in diverse roles has given me strength to think, help people, increase customer satisfaction, promote products, and off course build brands. When I look back at my career, in some jobs I excelled, in some I continued with odds. But the fact is that the diversity in my career has strengthened me as a person and definitely enhanced my skills. Every job taught me something or the other. I love meeting people, reading, travelling, listening to music, cooking, gardening, teaching, writing. Blogging has been a recent addition and am loving it. It has become my biggest hobby. Blogging has changed my life. My blog is wide-ranging manifestation of the way I think. I am a creative individual; I write because I have the urge to translate expressions of life. Over the years I studied and added some degrees as well. I have a PhD in Marketing Management from University of Pune, a post doctoral D.Litt (Doctor of letters) from Mumbai University in strategic management. I am a Professor of Management Studies with 16 years of teaching experience and have over 20 years industry experience. My core teaching areas are Marketing Strategy and General Management. As a teacher, I have always maintained the academic rigor in my classroom, I have always believed and practiced academic engagement while lecturing, I believe in experiential teaching-learning. I truly believe that education is interdisciplinary; therefore I have successfully guided 15 students for their PhD degree across various sectors in business management which includes a broad base of research coursework coupled with an area of specialization. I write on various management topics, research, news and higher education for students. And, the general section of articles on my blog relate to my interests in life. Happy reading to you all!

2 COMMENTS

  1. Excellent article ..the world is full of ultracrepidarianism who think that they have ultimate solution to any kind of problem at any point of time at any place ..u just bring it and they are ready with their solution . Thank you so much

LEAVE A REPLY