Is professional advice a magic picture show?

Written by Stephen Fallowell - Committee member - featured in Pensionsage

In Neil Oliver’s recent television series ‘A history of Ancient Britain’ one of the episodes concentrated on the advent of ‘Bronze’ into the existing British cultures that were still reliant on Stone and Flint. The extraction and production of Bronze, from Copper and Tin Ore, by a limited number of skilled practitioners seemed like a magical process and probably led to stories of wizards like Merlin.

Today though we may not be able to cast Bronze ourselves, we do know the general principals involved and certainly do not believe it to be magical; however the idea of people with mystical powers has not gone away but shifted to those who have accumulate or specialist knowledge; often referred to as ‘Professionals.’

The importance of receiving advice from those who have skills and knowledge in specialist areas is not to be underestimated but there is a tendency for ‘Professionals’ to wrap their words in arcane language. The purpose is not to inform but show that such knowledge is only available to a select number who have undergone the proper tests and can perform the ‘mystical rites.’ We in turn act as supplicants or acolytes in this ritual.

Bronze eventually became important due to the users not the makers; similarly it is not those who impart knowledge but those who use it wisely who are important.             


  1. Peter Neville-Reply
    August 23, 2019 at 8:13 pm

    Well said! In his time, George Bernard Shaw said all professions were conspiracies against the laity. This article fleshes it out.

  2. Peter Weiner-Reply
    August 24, 2019 at 8:29 am

    I sympathise with what you say but not general ‘principals’!!!!

  3. August 26, 2019 at 10:47 pm

    The remedy for use of “arcane language” where one is the client in the relationship is to insist that all advice, whether written or oral, is presented in plain English without use of jargon expressions and phrases. It can be made to work: and some advisers have even expressed gratitude as it has helped them too.

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