Remember the time Alia Bhat got the name of the President wrong and the world went bonkers over how stupid she was and decided to crap all over her? Of course, it’s hard not to thank her because if not for her, over half of us may have never known who the actual President was.
There’s this famed idea in the world of public speaking about how people fear public speaking more than death. But it’s not really the fear of public speaking as much as the fear of looking like a dumb piece of shit.
Looking stupid is easily one of our worst nightmares. Therefore, we do everything to avoid looking stupid. And yet, we seem to run into stupid people all the time.
There’s only one plausible explanation for this phenomenon: You are stupid.
I, for one, thought Gujarat was a city, Rajasthan – the name of a desert, and – brace yourselves – I didn’t remember the name of the current President until I looked it up, like now.
One reason it’s hard for us to admit to our stupidity is because we are busy laughing at everyone else’s stupidity. We are sure we can never be that stupid. At least I knew Elon Musk wasn’t a perfume!
We derive a perverse sense of pride in knowing how stupid someone is.
It’s one of the few ways through which we feel uniquely gifted about ourselves. Lately though, it’s become scary. Because the “stupid” people seem to be in really powerful positions. That could include everyone from your boss to that other President guy. Stay gold, Ponyboy.
Honestly, no one knows how it came down to this. People have tried to explain, but the explanations have been so stupid that it’s about time to seriously consider, somehow, the person solely responsible for all the stupid shit could be You!
Let’s fly with that thought and say it was you. What can you do to not make it worse?
For one, admit that you are full of shit. This is not the moral all I know is I know nothing dictum. This is the moral of every story you tell yourself. This is leading by example. The real problem with stupidity is not knowledge, intelligence or lack thereof.
When you see the magical combination of stupidity and confidence play out in front of you, you can’t help but scream – bite your knuckles – and throw up, all at the same time. And you want to do something to help this person. But, nothing you say or do will help unless one of the person’s fundamental beliefs is that he/she is full of shit.
What I mean by that is unless a person is willing to admit he/she can be both stupid and intelligent at the same time – can both teach and learn – can both doubt and move forward – and that he/she will remain on this eternal journey to becoming less and less stupid, because that is precisely what helps us all evolve, grow and change – unless a person is willing to admit that – he/she will just keep doing dumb shit that could, you know, end up killing all of us.
That’s why it’s important for you to pave the way: Recognize and admit to your stupidity at regular intervals. The last thing we need is for you to confidently run with your stupidity – and go great lengths defending it so much so that you fall into a stupidity spiral where everything you say gets progressively more stupid – that everyone now begins to think what you said first actually made some sense.
You know that feeling you have when you reminisce your childhood and wonder how unbelievably stupid you were? As you grow up, you shouldn’t feel the need to go all the way to your childhood. Yesterday or last week should show you how stupid and/or wrong you were.
Because that’s what ‘growing up’ means: going from week to week, a little less stupid than the previous. [That’s the theme of this blog.]
Admitting to your stupidity is hard. It hurts. It will get you ridiculed. This is not an exercise in vulnerability. It’s an exercise in empathy, forgiveness, and hope. And we could do with some of that.
Imagine someday you logged onto the socials and instead of the proliferation of I am such an amazeballs and I know it news-feed greeting you, it’s:
I am dumb as a circus peanut #fullofclownshit.
If some of your rad friends believed that, it may help you to start questioning your own incessant intellectual prowess.
Intelligence can make us confident, but this confidence can occasionally turn us into delusional narcissistic douchebags.
Intelligence is and should remain a virtue. It’s meant for us to help each other out – to help us change, remain curious, become self-aware and more importantly, regularly doubt our own intelligence. Hopefully, that’s what this rant contributed to.
And for those of us that thrashed Alia: hopefully, you can sit down today evening – watch a movie called Udta Punjab – prostrate in front of Alia Bhat – and carefully examine how full of shit you are.
In other excellent news, Happy April Fool’s month.