In 1918, Max Planck went on tour across Germany. Wherever he was invited, he delivered the same lecture on new quantum mechanics. Over time, his chauffeur grew to know it by heart. Once his chauffeur said, ‘It has to be boring giving the same speech each time, Professor Planck. How about I do it for you in Munich? You can sit in the front row and wear my chauffeur’s cap. That’d give us both a bit of variety.’ Planck liked the idea, so that evening the driver held a long lecture on quantum mechanics in front of a distinguished audience. Later, a physics professor stood up with a question. The driver said: ‘Never would I have thought that someone from such an advanced city as Munich would ask such a simple question! My chauffeur will answer it.’
There are two types of knowledge.
First, we have real knowledge. We see it in people who have committed a large amount of time and effort to understanding a topic. The second type is chauffeur knowledge. It is the knowledge from people who have learned to put on a show.
It is increasingly getting difficult to separate true knowledge from chauffeur knowledge. You have to figure out where you have got an advantage. And you have to remain within your own circle of competence. How do you recognize the difference? There is a clean indicator: true experts recognize the limits of what they know and what they do not know.
NEWS ANCHORS put their knowledge on a show to drive profit for corporations. Generally chauffeur knowledge is extremely magnetic and immediately fits into the mind. That is why we DON’T TAKE THEM SERIOUSLY.
At Shalibhadra, we stay away from any temptations. We strive to remain true to our expertise to gain real knowledge on the subject. Sometime, it may sound boring but true and fact knowledge is worth more than sweet and fancy talks.
Nishit Siddharth Shah