“I was taught…”

Something tightens inside me when people are discussing issues and pull out the phrase, “I was taught that…”

When you say that, you are admitting to being either a robot, a tape recorder, or a zombie. Claiming that something is right because someone else told you it was right is the way Stalin and Hitler and Pol Pot bred their nations of destruction.

Please think about saying this instead: “After reading and researching, I’ve decided that…”

Too much work? Okay, my bad. You just keep on believing what someone told you to believe.


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    Fortunately, my mother taught this to me when I was very young. It was just after a church service, and I felt uncomfortable with something a visiting preacher had said (I think I was seven or eight years old). She told me, “You know how to look things up, right?” I said I did. That’s stuck with me throughout my life.

    And I really hate it when people quote as a source, “Something I read a while back, I can’t remember what…” (I’m guilty of saying that too, but…) If you can’t tell me your source, and the subject is controversial, then it’s not a valid source. Just say you’ve researched it.

    What bugs me even more (and I think you’ll agree, Richard) is when blogs and news articles *online* quote a source you’ve never heard of, but one they could have provided a link to. How much better would that be? “Scientist have discovered (here’s the link to that study) that …” But they rarely give that URL.

  2. Oh my goodness gracious. Mindlessness is one of my biggest pet peeves. Not only the “I was taught” one’s, but the ones with the blank stares who have never ventured beyond the thoughts and ideas they learned from inside their own homes while growning up drive me nutz. I think I would have been like that had my mom not thrown me to the wolves at the age of sixteen. My two brothers are like that and it’s so frustrating since they think they are so worldy and open minded. My mom and my brothers are living in there own little Pleasantville, I guess. Stereotyping is another way that people can’t think for themselves. Susan Boyle is an excellent example. Simon and the audience rolled their eyes when she came on stage based on nothing but her appearance. We live in a society of non-thinkers and closed mindedness. See, I told you it was one of my biggest pet peeves.

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