ISSUE-005

In any field of inquiry, the beginner is more likely than the expert to make important contributions.

Write a response in which you discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the statement and explain your reasoning for the position you take. In developing and supporting your position, you should consider ways in which the statement might or might not hold true and explain how these considerations shape your position.


Who can create a greater contribution in any field, the expert or the novice? Many would argue that a novice is more likely to contribute than an expert. However, one cannot make generalizations. It would be extreme to assume that in all fields it is the novice who makes the greater contribution.



First, we acknowledge that in certain circumstances, newcomers can have a positive impact on an industry. This is because every industry has some deep-rooted traditions, and when it is some positive tradition, it can contribute to the longevity of that industry. However, when the industry is full of some negative traditions, the growth of the industry will stop. And novices, because they are not constrained by the customary assumptions of the industry, are more likely to make some bold attempts that will lead to breakthroughs. Particularly in fields that emphasize innovation, many practices that have been customary in the past are just a habit, not the right thing to do, and newcomers do often bring new ideas to the table. For example, the birth of new genres in the art world, such as Impressionism, Expressionism, and Cubism, were all revolutionary breakthroughs for young artists; in the business world, Steve Jobs ignored the habit of "catering to audience needs" and created a new business concept of "creating user needs". Secondly, novice often implies youth and physical strength, which is a factor that cannot be ignored in a field that emphasizes physical strength. Thus, in the field of sports, talented newcomers can often really push the envelope. The examples of young athletes are endless: Messi, Crosby, Kobe Bryant, Federer.


However, novice also often means inexperienced and under-accumulated knowledge and abilities, so it is relatively difficult for a novice to break through in a field that is well established and where there is a strong emphasis on accumulation. For example: in science, creativity can lead to new theories, but it is the validation of theories that is the key to true theory building, and it is impossible for practitioners to devise good ways of validating them without well-developed scientific training. As another example, in the field of politics, every policy needs to be considered for its potential multifaceted impact, and it takes years of interpersonal experience to gain this. Secondly, it is also difficult for novices to make short-term breakthroughs in areas where social resources are important. Within the political sphere, there is no reason to ignore reality and idealize our politicians, who are not a bunch of mere idealists; all for the betterment of society, who are able to influence the country with their words and actions from high positions, are survivors of various interpersonal struggles and power deals. In short, this is not a field in which a novice can easily survive.


Besides, freedom from conventional constraints is not a trait necessarily possessed by the young, but by one's own characteristics. An expert in an industry can always remain skeptical and critical. For example: the late Picasso, the late Wittgenstein, the late Jobs, and the late Einstein all challenged their previous models and made further breakthroughs.


At the same time, in discussing the topic of this paper, we should also be wary of the tendency to exaggerate the degree of "newness" of new people. Even though there are examples of newcomers making breakthroughs in the arts, sports, and business, this "newness" is not new at all. Matisse, Picasso, and Van Gogh were all artists who received rigorous training in realism; Messi, Crosby, and Kobe Bryant were skilled players right out of the gate; and half of Apple's success is attributed to Wozniak's outstanding technical ability.


In short, the question of who brings more to the table, the novice or the expert, can take the form of a situation-by-situation discussion: in the arts, where the emphasis is on creative thinking, newcomers are more likely to succeed; in sports, where the emphasis is on physical fitness, newcomers are more likely to succeed. However, in the sciences, where the emphasis is on knowledge accumulation, experts are more likely to succeed, and in politics, where the emphasis is on networking, experts are more likely to succeed.



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