Friday, October 21, 2011

Is there a Cure for Stupidity?

If there is no cure, then there must be a good side to it. Otherwise why would it exist?

Take drunkeness for example. Its disgusting! (to me). A drunk lolls around and everyone avoids him. But drunk does also have good points: It makes for a glad heart. A jolly state of being. Merry making. Forgetting one's problems. And so on and so forth down that line.

Also, when someone consumes alcohol, if you really think about it, its more like the alcohol has consumed the person. So, someone who is capable of getting "consumed" like that, is very easily "consumable?"

There is a saying that the Land of Israel "consumes its Inhabitants." I wonder if someone who is prone to 'consumption' will more easily be consumed by the land. Being consumed by the land means: The land is very holy. People who come here and dwell here tend to acquire some of the holiness of the land because they are consumed. (it either consumes a person or spits them out).

On the topic of stupidity...

I think its a line. when doing something without sufficient knowledge-like bypassing the brain and going straight from the heart it makes for a certain level of confidence. But if that action proves foolhardy then its called stupid. "Stupid" is like the judgement call on the action. If, they do the same things but it proves good and beneficial, then the person is judged differently. If the action goes against logic or common sense, but its still proving to be good and beneficial for the doer, then he's called "stubborn" if his actions prove beneficial and then sometimes detrimental and back and forth, then he's labeled "foolhardy" or "risky". so, I guess what I"m asking is based on this (assuming its correct) how to re-direct someone labelled "stupid" on account of their actions, to a different set of actions that prove beneficial?

In a Torah perspective, according to the Vilna Gaon, he breaks it down into three categories: the simpleton (Peti in Hebrew) the scoffer (letz) and the fool (k'sil).

The Peti/simpleton have been enticed by the evil impulse to abandon Torah in favor of worldly pleasures. They believe that this will always be the true good. (I guess in the secular perspective that would mean someone who just wants to have fun and not be bothered with the serious parts of life). The letz/scoffer neglect Torah because of their love for idle talk, jokes, stories, gossip, etc the whole gamut of useless and harmful talk that comes under the heading of scoffing and mockery. Even though this affords them no physical pleasure, it is sweet to them and they covet it. (secular persp. they could lose jobs, friendships or other important relationships simply because they couldn't keep their mouths shut about things). The k'sil/fool resist the diligence needed to study Torah properly; they want Torah knowledge to be bestowed upon them spontaneously, without any effort on their part.

According to this I would think that what drives a stupid person is lust, inconsideration and laziness. In other words, this has nothing to do with IQ. Anyone can lapse into a strong lust, everyone gets inconsiderate momentarily, and everyone has had bouts of laziness -the need to skip a step that proves folly.

I remember long long ago, I read a very impressive book called "Spiritual Midwifery" by Ina Mae Gaskin. What was impressive about it was that it was giving tips mainly for American and European woman on how to have the best and natural childbirth possible. And they were gleening their information from what they learned from Africans in rural areas, Native American Indians, Asians in rural countryside, etc. What was also impressive was the slander and insult that was hurled at these people even as information was being learned from them. They were described as "savage" and as "primitive" and with no prologue from the author decrying such descriptions. It was as if these people were declared stupid and backwards, and yet from the backdoor, America and Europe was learning from them. Not only that, but a particularly really great move that can prevent ceseareans even got called the "Gaskin manoever" --wow!

As much as that book made me fume, I had to admit, life in a tribal setting doesn't make for much intellectual refinement. There is a head and/or elders and everyone else must pretty much do as they are told to keep society functioning. And a lack of intellectual refinement can make someone prone to stupid moves more likely -since they don't know enough to make a better judgement.

Again, I suspect "stupidity" is when the person by-passes the brain and shoots straight from the heart -where lust, inconsideration, laziness can all be found--if not taken care of.

And effectively, many of these tribal living people are very scantily dressed. As if they didn't eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. As if they didn't even know they were naked. (In the Biblical recounting, Adam and Eve ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. This put both good and evil into their very beings. Then they could no longer distinguish what was good and what was evil -everything they did, they had doubts about it. Doubt was thus introduced inside them.)

So what to do? No amount of academic training will "cure" stupidity. It's not the IQ that makes someone stupid. Its character traits. Understanding the downside of lustfulness; understanding the ruinous trait of unconsiderations; and understanding the folly of laziness.

However, there is a good side to "stupidity". It gives a person confidence. They boldly go and do what they "know" they ought to do. There is no doubt. As if -again- that they did not eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. If person does what they know they must do and it comes out wrong -they are again labelled stupid. If it comes out okay, they are labelled "stubborn" and "stiff necked" -especially if they don't want to comply with people who feel they are more 'civilized' than they are.

With the proper character traits combined with the information that they already have, I think this can propel a  person to develop more and more intellect, and gain more knowledge. The character traits are like vessels that can contain knowledge. The more refined the character trait, the more knowledge that can be contained; the more knowledge that can be contained, the more intelligent a person will behave.

1 comment:

Toya said...

Great cartoon!