I recently had a challenging civil confrontation with someone in a professional field with many years of schooling behind him and a lofty degree. The subject we were discussing was supposed to be one that he had been studying, yet one that I was much more familiar with due to experience in that area.
Several times during this discussion there were points where it became rather contentious, as he often challenged my statements and observations. It seemed that he couldn’t get it out of his mind that despite my not having a degree as high as his, or any college degree at all, that I could not only match his intellect, but that I might even know more about something than he did. It was also frustrating to him that my analysis of different parts of this subject held up to intense scrutiny, even though I didn’t have nearly as many hours taking tests as he did.
The point to all of this is that people don’t have to be experts in areas to have opinions that they then share with others. Sharing knowledge and opinions, and respecting that other people might also know something about it and have their opinions, is a good thing. Intelligent, respectful interaction like this helps us all grow and learn and be more tolerant as well. Believing you already know it all, or that someone else’s view is automatically not valid, really isn’t very smart.
By the same token, don’t go around pushing your opinions on everyone as if they have to agree with you on everything either. People are allowed to view many subjects in different ways. When you start cramming stuff down other people’s throats as if you’re the only authority on something, that doesn’t make you and expert, it just makes you and asshole!