Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Stupid People

A friend of mine sent me this recently...
It did make me laugh. Although honesty compels me to admit that I may well be the first victim. However it reminded me of a line of thought I've had for a while and I thought why not blog about it. As I haven't written anything in ages... well not since earlier today. And twice.

You will never hear me complain about stupid people – well almost. It’s a little more complicated. Come with me and see if you agree by the end of this. People who know me well, generally think I’m quite smart. I obviously can’t give an unbiased opinion on this but I do tend to agree. Now, there are clearly many people in the world who aren’t as clever as they think they are (I may well be one of them) but I think most people actually have a fairly realistic idea of how clever they are. Of course, by definition quite a lot of people will be of below average intelligence – somewhere around half in fact.

I have no issue with this – people are what they are. We don’t get to choose which talents we are given and I am certainly not qualified to judge anyone. I have in my life seen plenty of prejudice against ‘stupid people’ but I am far more concerned with whether you are kind or not. As Martin Luther King said a child should be judged not on their colour of skin but on the content of your character.

In the same way as skin colour, we don’t get to choose which talents we have but character is very much a choice.  So I am very tolerant of stupidity (whatever that is) and not impressed by how often quite clever people are the ones I really wouldn’t want to know.


And this is important. However as I said, it’s the choices that people make that most shape how I feel about them and for many being stupid is very different from acting stupid. We are all capable of lapses and a little kindness goes a long way but how often are people stupid because they can’t be bothered to think about it. Or if they just listened for a second would learn that a certain thing is a bad idea. Ignorance is acceptable to me. Wilful ignorance I don’t think is.

It is often said that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. I don’t like this expression – not because it’s lacking truth but because it is, I think, an unhelpful focus. Of course in some situations this is true but how much better would the world be if people always had good intentions? So often problems stem from bad or selfish intentions. So good intentions should be the priority and then we can worry about the effects of said intentions. However and it’s the same however. It is easy to hide behind good intentions. Good intentions may not be enough and earnestness means going further and understanding the effects of ones actions and not just meaning well but doing all we can to ensure well. Of course we will never be perfect but a little bit of effort and engageness can go a very long way.

We are all endowed with whatever gifts we have or not, but all of us have choices about how we interact with the world and how we treat people. It’s much more important to be kind than it is to be clever but kindness sometimes means being as clever as we are capable of.


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