Quote Originally Posted by c6h6o3 View Post
I work for a consulting firm and was recently on a conference with a client and one of my colleagues. The client asked me a question and I said that I wasn't sure and that I'd find out for him. After we rang off the colleague said that I should never admit that I don't know something. I'm supposed to be the expert.

It has, however, been my experience (I'm 25 years older than this guy) that the customer will respect you far more in the end if you admit you don't know something than if you BS your way through an answer.
Exactly. If someone tells me that he or she doesn't know but will find out — I trust the answer he or she eventually brings to me and think no less of him/her. This can apply to anything. This can apply to "do you have any lemonade?" as well as "do you think it's benign?"

If someone tells me an answer and it turns out to be wrong — and that wrong information was used to influence my decisions — the person has permanently lost credibility with me. I make the assumption that everyone I deal with feels the same way. Consequently, if I don't know something, I just say so.

A theme that seems to keep cropping up is that people from this "second lost generation" which is really just behind my own generation, seem to be the greatest offenders. They carve their way forward on the bullshi*er's ethic. I assume it's related to technology, the ability to edit video from the crib, etcetera.

So, anyway, the people (from any generation, perhaps the very same) who choose to cultivate genuine talent and experience — who choose not to misrepresent themselves, not to market themselves falsely — who choose to say I don't know and do not portend experience they don't have, etcetera — those people will be overlooked in a society that values pretension. The pretenders will steal opportunities and they will be allowed to because the opportunity-givers are pretenders, too.

The worst effect is that the value of the artwork, of bonafide expression, will inevitably erode. The canon will be diluted by a bunch of people who spent their time faking it, instead of ACTUALLY making it.

And if the trend continues, it seems that eventually nobody will even know the difference between a liar and the real thing. Bullsh***ers will become the real thing; the bullsh***er's ethic will prevail.

And anyway, this story just plays out into something like Brave New World, perhaps. Something austere and unnatural.

Sorry I couldn't be more cheerful!

EDIT: kind of reminds me of the Howard Rourke versus Peter Keating dynamic in The Fountainhead, come to think of it.