--- Begin quote from "Oldhat"
So you are saying for me to avoid going down this path even though I am not a finger picker? What is your suggestion in how one should go about it? I am all ears.
--- End quote
I don't know; all I know is I was 'stuck' in pentatonicville for quite some time, and it was because I wasn't a good picker. Once my picking improved, I got out of the trap.
Pentatonic scales, especially pentatonic minors, just "fit" on the guitar very well. They're a crutch that allows us to play fast. So yeah, everyone should know how to use these patterns.
But the problem, as I see it, is that they're not very musical. You can play pentatonic patterns up and down, but there is no real melody. For the most part, it's just noise. I can plug my electric guitar into an amp and play real fast metal-sounding solos, but there's nothing that's really musical about it. It doesn't satisfy me very much. That's why I describe my experience as being in a trap - yes, I could play rapid notes, but the notes didn't really mean anything.
The other thing I don't particularly like about them is that pentatonic stuff doesn't transfer very well to other instruments. Guitar wasn't invented to be a lead instrumetn like the fiddle, but when people started trying to play lead guitar, they found that pentatonic scales are the easiest thing to play on the guitar in closed positions. On other instruments they sound ridiculous, in my opinion.
I'm not trying to give advice. I'm just relating my experience of starting with pentatonic stuff and finding it extremely unsatisfying. Yes, it can be used to play fast over chord changes, but it doesn't really sound good if that's all I ever do.
There are millions of casual guitar players who can play some pentatonic patterns to impress their friends. But I'm sure they'd all give their eye teeth to be able to play Ben's breaks for something really melodic.