Saturday, April 21, 2018

Conventional Wisdom

People are talking about: "Last year compared to this year" weather differences.  Our fitness instructor mowed the lawn three times by yesterday's date last year.  I'd sent out pictures of orchards in bloom, having spotted the first orchard trees blooming in mid-April.  The Magnolias were in bloom in Queenston, a beautiful town on the Niagara River.  

I was thinking of what conventional wisdoms have become common practice in the 20th century. I expected to find things like the 80-20 principle.  While the term dates back to 1838,  it is associated with John Kenneth Galbraith in his 1958 book The Affluent Society in which he displayed his contrarian view of economic theories of the day.

Conventional wisdom is considered a derogatory term - it is defined as "ideas so accepted that they go unquestioned".  The example that is cited is that it was once believed that the Earth is flat, and that at the Earth is the centre of the universe.  

Wikipedia puts it more specifically:  "It is widely believed that prior to Christopher Columbus people thought the world was flat, but in actuality, scholars of that time had long accepted that the earth is a sphere.  The above sentence is true; people today often think that Columbus discovered the world to be round, when in fact the world's roundness was already widely known by Columbus' time. However, if enough people read and believe the above sentence, the above sentence will eventually supplant the old belief (the old belief in past belief in a flat earth). The above sentence would become the new conventional wisdom. (Ironically, however, this would also turn the above sentence, the new conventional wisdom, into a false claim; because the new conventional wisdom would propose that people are confused about past beliefs in a way that they actually wouldn't be.)"

So complicated a term to consider.  In seeking a list of typical conventional wisdoms, I find lead-in paragraphs to research studies and their results and financial investors and their advice.

My sense is that this expression has been hijacked by writers. If it is a serious area of investigation, perhaps it is obscure rather than popular.

And now what we experience is that it is conventional wisdom to challenge conventional wisdom.  There's something circular about this concept!

The fascinating Canada Blooms' wall sculpture is today's subject.  The second picture shows it interpreted by the Flaming Pear plug-in "India Ink".  The third one interprets it with the Topaz Labs plug-in "Glow".  Both interpretations show off its wonderful design structure.

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