Confidence comes from knowing little, as knowledge increases doubt increases. But what is knowledge? There is a combination of 3 steps in order to understanding knowledge. First of all, it is what you know is true, but this is very subjective as everyone has different perspective, therefore comes the second point: you need to believe in what you know. Again, you might believe in something that is not actually true so that leads us to points three: you have something that justifies what you know. This third point is the combination of your belief and your knowledge being true. So does an increase in knowledge lead to a decrease in confidence and increase in doubt? I believe that yes and I will demonstrate this through this essay.
Lets look at Business and management. When learning this human science, we learn a lot about advertising, promotion and how to target the right market using the “Four P’s” of the marketing mix -product, place, price and promotion-. The advertiser pays public presentations of its goods and services to influence its audience into buying the concerned products. At first, this practice seems pretty straight forward. Lets look at a real life situation. Toys R Us is a multinational company that sell a wide variety of toys. Its target market are children from all ages to twelve years old and their parents. In order to sell its toys, Toys R Us advertise on TV channels for children and young teens, and advertises the most during holidays seasons to give ideas of gifts to parents. By doing so, children will want the toys after seeing the advertisements and will ask them to their parents. Toys R Us also advertise on social media due to the growth of e-commerce and on the radio, to target its market. This has the same strategy: target children so that they ask the products to their parents.
This strategy applies to many other companies. Today, children are exposed to 40,000 advertisements each year, making them an accessible market easy to influence. This is a simple problem -how to sell the goods such as toys- with an easy answer -advertise on channels targeting children-.
However, as more questions are being asked, we realise that this situation isn’t as easy as it seems. Ethical questions may arise regarding wether or not this is the right approach. Indeed in Business and management, we study the role of ethics and how it can affect a business as a whole and its stakeholders. Linking back to the example above, such advertising could be seen as toys companies using children to pressure the parents into buying their toys and therefore as an unethical practice. Additionally, by seeing the advertisements, the children are going to want the toys but what if the parents can’t afford it? The children won’t understand such deep concepts making them objects in this whole transaction and putting inevitable pressure on parents. As a result of this, stakeholders such as parents may refuse to buy Toys R Us products turning to competitors. Toys R Us would therefore need an other marketing strategy to make sure that its brand image/reputation does not decrease and that customers remain satisfied making the whole process of advertising and promotion more complex.
So, as we can see with the example illustrated above, knowledge is a very complex thing. Business and management is just an example to prove this point. At first, when we only consider a certain aspect of advertising and promotion, which is the 4 Ps of the marketing mix, a theory that we learned in class, advertising seems like a pretty straight forward process. That is because we only consider a little. As knowledge increase and we consider ethics, then advertising and targeting a market becomes more complex and doubt arises.
Knowledge decreases our confidence as it warns us of the potential “dangers” making us slow down and reflect more before drawing conclusions. Naturally, ignorance can lead to greater confidence as it makes us unaware of possible negative points that we may encounter. As knowledge increases, so do doubts because we have to consider more factors in order to take a decision making the whole process harder.
An other example would be Environmental Systems & Society. In this science, we learn about species preservation. The giant panda is a global icon that used to be very endanger but it is not anymore. This is due to the many policies that were implemented to save the specie. This was done by recreating bamboo forests in order to restore its habitat and give them access to food, and by implementing captive breeding programs. At first this seems like a very good indicative. Everyone loves pandas and they are an icon of the Chinese culture. It would sound cruel to let them vanish when we are the very reason of their extinction. Therefore saving the pandas seems like a normal conclusion when we have little knowledge of the situation.
On the other hand, when our knowledge increases, we realise that again the situation is more complex than it seems. Pandas are very sensitive to fluctuation in there ecosystem due to there very narrow diet and low rate of reproduction. So maybe panda are already destined to run out of time. We know that extinction is part of life and has always been happening, even before humans existed. Climate change is going to play a big role in species disappearance and we are not going to be able to conserve them all, meaning we are going to have to make some difficult choices. The truth is that pandas are very expensive to preserve and we spend millions of pounds into their conservation while few on others. But wouldn’t it be more useful to spend that money the the world’s biodiversity hotspot such as the rainforest? Without that kind of habitat, we have nothing, while the disappearance of pandas wouldn’t have such an impact on humans or on the environment in general. Therefore is preserving pandas really the right thing to do? Should we be spending money on preserving more “useful” species? Would it be unethical to let them disappear? Again, as our knowledge increases, doubts rises.
In other words, when we know little we are confident due to our lack of self questioning and reflection, however as we learn more and study different aspect to a a same topic, doubt arises making us less confident due to the actual complexity of the process when it is studied in depth. As Bertrand Russell said: “The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.” That quote supports the claim that confidence comes from knowing little, as knowledge increases doubt increases. Fools and fanatics are here shown as people who lack knowledge but that are confident, and wiser people are assumed to have a greater level of knowledge, however, they are the ones that doubt the most.