I’m going to introduce you to new word, Fremdscham. No, I didn’t make it up. It’s German. Essentially it’s the awful feeling that you get when you begin to see the Dunning-Kruger effect in action.
I thought of Dunning-Kruger yesterday. If you’ve ever studied Psychology you’ll know that Dunning-Kruger is the sort of study that your lecturer will introduce in a sort of comical way. This is the humorous side of the study of human behaviour. See that dumb ass you work with? Not only does he not know how bad he is at his job, but he also thinks he’s better than you at it thanks to the Dunning-Kruger effect.
It is funny, until you come across it for real. I’ll help you find some occurrences of it right now:
Step 1) Read your social media feed today. See how many fitness experts you come across.
Step 2) Isolate them into categories. Those giving fitness advice (technique, programmes etc.), and those giving health advice. (diet, nutrition, stress etc.) Let’s discard the guys who are advising you on technique for now. There may be some morons in there but we’ll find them another time.
Step 3) Of the keepers, look at how many are advocating radical diet and lifestyle changes. This will be easy because it will be all of them, but we’re specifically looking for ones that are advocating cures for diseases. Not gut related disease such as easing the symptoms of coeliac or Crohn’s disease, which are of course intrinsically linked to diet, or even fatigue or stress which can be, but the ones who say things like:
“The gluten in your bread is causing your prostrate cancer”
“The toxins in your Coca Cola have been PROVEN to cause Brain cancer”
“Flouride gave my sister Herpes!”
And so on.
This is Dunning-Kruger in action, and if you’ve just been horrified at the notion that someone thinks because they have a certificate in exercise and have read some pseudo-science blogs they can now take the place of the best Oncologists in the known Universe, you have experienced Fremdscham.
You know have a word for your horror. You’re welcome.