ravings, rantings and ramblings
Let us begin with meaning of the word, dilettante, as defined in the website dictionary.com:
[dil-i-tahnt, dil-i-tahnt, -tahn-tey, -tan-tee]
noun, plural -tantes, -tan•ti
a person who takes up an art, activity, or subject merely for amusement, esp. in a desultory or superficial way; dabbler.
The online Oxford Dictionary describes it as, “a person who cultivates an area of interest, such as the arts, without real commitment or knowledge.” That indicates a person who shows frivolous or superficial interest in things that are discussed around.
I was quite scared of the word when I first glanced it in my fat, hard-bound dictionary. Dad gifted me a new edition of the Oxford English Dictionary on my birthday and I was inculcating the habit of learning a new word everyday. That day, I came across ‘dilettante’. My first reaction was how I could use this word and impress the socks off my friends. And I must have, knowing myself well. I must have also used it in some school-work to impress my English teacher and show-off my vocabulary. However I was beginning to be aware of the inherent dangers of this word. And the dangers presented themselves aplenty to me.
As I grew up and started out in the media industry from public relations to radio broadcasting, I realised that there were many dilettantes, but few masters. And that makes growth in any industry, an arduous task.
People make judgements and form opinions and most times, adopt quite a militant view on most things, right from politics to sports. And then, when I realised that most of the opinions come from dilettantes and not people who are masters of the game, I need to run for the nearest exit.
I am not slamming media. It is not media’s fault but ours. We want to score with half-baked knowledge or no knowledge at times. Sometimes, when I hear my fellow-industrymen speak, I itch to question their source of information or area of expertise; which I am sure is miles away from credibility. Names-dropping still dazzles the majority. Unfortunately, that does nothing for understanding.
My fear of being consumed by this demonic word makes me seek out more, constantly. And I strive to do so in my areas of interest and profession. And then there are times when my blood boils when some new blood throws in weak, half-cooked points-of-view without any commitment whatsoever. What are we turning into? A non-thinking, no-knowledge-based species.
Mispronouncing Mozart, Van Gogh or a French film director, being fashionably anti-establishment, acquiring elitist brands in the name class, nodding heads to a classical singer because all else are nodding have become the hallmark of this genus called dilettantes.
I am scared. Still.