|Joseph Addison on the pedant: |
"one that does not know how to
think out of his Profession and
way of Life."
I'm exploring pedantry in the public sphere: why it's problematic, and how to overcome it. A sample:
There is no one-size-fits-all solution for pedantry. Partly because it is overcome with practice, not with rules. And partly because there are interests at stake: some folks need their pedantry to distract and console them. But the most obvious remedy is a combination of humility and courage.
Humility is necessary to remember that one’s hard-won expertise is not always relevant. It also helps to recognise that others, too, have their technical knowledge: only they have learned how and when to deploy it diplomatically. Our rambling is only possible because of their restraint.
Courage is required to confront one’s own imperfection: to heed opposing arguments, and consider the possibility of their truth. We have to be brave enough to confront our own ignorance or insufficient reason; to see that improvement is nothing to be ashamed of.
Try it, dear pedants, before you write to say I have ended that last sentence on a preposition.