Dear Donovan: Why are people purposefully stupid?
Dear B. Hamlett: While that question can lead one to believe that this is inclusive of all humans, I’m almost certain the individual asking is speaking in general regarding many of whom they have come in contact. I believe much of these conclusions have to do with our perception of a person. Many times we compare others to our own knowledge and abilities. When they don’t quite measure up, we judge them as stupid. Often, we don’t know anything or much about that individual. We base what they should know or how they should act on their age, others they may know or those they are related to. I encourage people to genuinely get to know the person or more of the situation before casting a final verdict. What you learn may very well surprise you. It may give you a better understanding of that person and allow you to have a bit more patience with them. We could very well be getting upset or catching an attitude with someone because we ourselves don’t know any better…a.k.a. stupid. If their lack of knowledge is the reason of them not knowing or doing better, than make the time to be a guide, a mentor, a teacher. Make a difference. After all, we are our brother’s keeper.
Now, there are those who we are knowledgeable of their circumstances, influences and experiences. We know that they know or should know better, they just act like they are stupid. Nevertheless, they have the right to do just that. It is called, “the freedom of choice”. We have the freedom of choice not to get entangled in their stupidity. That’s the beauty of having the freedom of choice. More often than not, a person who tries to assist or reason with a person who is being purposefully stupid ends up getting pulled into the same pathetic state of being purposefully stupid. I remember reading a poster years ago that said, “Never argue with a fool, some may not know the difference”. I never forgot that. The same principle applies.
So, if a person is being purposefully stupid or is just uninformed, how we respond to it will determine whether we make a positive change or become part of the madness.