Without any exception. Meaning I am never, EVER wrong about anything. I also know everything. About everything. I am absolutely omniscient and I want this to be known to everyone – make no mistake: I know it all about all of it.
I consider all other people besides myself to be either fully stupid or at the very least intellectually inferior to myself. If they disagree with whatever I may say, they simply don’t understand. Usually it is so because they are too retarded to understand. My entire purpose in life consists of proving just that – that I am smarter than anyone I ever talk to…
At least this is so according to some of the people who know me just as well as they may know the hamster pet’s name of one of the selected at random vendors on the Beijing city market. As in, not at all. And every time yet another of such saveurs draws the same conclusion, it pisses me off. What pisses me off even more, however, is when I explain my position to someone, and they just fully ignore the explanation and resort to the above-stated conclusion about my intentions. THAT gets me infuriated (well, that and when people draw conclusions and make decisions without as much as spending 5 minutes fact-checking them…). Therefore, here once and for all, I am carving it in virtual stone for a reference to be always at hand for all those people who ever happen to cross the debate swords with me: if you think that way, you ARE very dumb. So you may want to think again and actually consider maybe understanding where I come from. Which is the following:
First of all, I have grown up being surrounded by people by far and wide more superior to me in their intelligence and understanding of just about anything you can think of – any field and dimension of the world’s knowledge and conduct. The “the more I get to know, the more I realize how little I know” phrase is a daily mode of operation in my-niverse, not just a catchy phrase. I am dumbed out of my wits on a daily basis by things other people know, by concepts far beyond my grasp and by the achievements of people, whether intellectual or physical, who are so overwhelming in scope that it’s nearly painful to observe their excellence. And I am constantly proven wrong or corrected in my minuscule scope of understanding of this world. In short, I consider myself to be by a far margin not the brightest star in the humankind constellation. Because I’m not, and any case of human genius proves so. Any little wunderkind capable of complex mental tasks is much more intelligent at the age of 5 than I can ever dream of becoming. I’m not even mentioning the amazing adults out there capable of reasoning and understanding far beyond my limited reach, and often in several complex fields at once. THOSE are highly intelligent human beings – I am not.
I am merely a collector of residual of their hard work and intellectual effort, plus I need to receive it in popular-science format to even swallow, let alone digest, any of that knowledge. That I try to feed on those residuals doesn’t make me any smarter – an encyclopedia isn’t smart by the merit of being a compilation of other people’s knowledge. I have decent memory and some curiosity about a somewhat wide range of topics, but I would never claim intelligence or deep knowledge of any of those fields.
Second, and here is where the cornerstone of misunderstanding lies (whenever it arises), by that same merit I do NOT enter into discussions and debates with other people in order to prove MY point, whichever it is. Except for a very very narrow set of topics (for instance, the existence of a personal god, but that’s just an exception proving the rule), proving a point is the last thing on my agenda in any debate. Instead, I simply throw anything I’ve so far gathered about a topic into the debate in order to push the partner (notice ‘partner’, not ‘opponent’) to that discussion to, in attempt to disprove any point of mine, give me some information that I had never come across yet. THAT is what I’m looking for – the UNKNOWN. To me. The stuff that I haven’t heard of, the stuff that shows me a dimension to the topic I never considered, or plain proves me wrong.
Why? Because I can repeat what I (think that I) know a million times over, but I am never an iota closer to a better understanding and knowledge by exercising repetition of what I already have in my database. What I want to hear and get is NEW information. And if it proves me wrong – even better! Why would I ever want to think of something inaccurately? That’s stupid! So please, PLEASE with cherry on top if you have some great arguments, points and proofs in a discussion – I want them all! However, I do have a high BS sensitivity and things that defy all logic whatsoever will be met with suspicion, but so what? Gotta stay reasonable in any discussion, right?
Which brings me to the third point: why people take topic-based discussions so personally evades me. We’re not sitting there discussing YOU and YOUR intelligence or ME and MY intelligence (although even if we did – an impartial discussion is possible even on that, and the basic conclusion everyone will have to inevitably agree on is that each human being is stupid in the large scheme of things, and even collectively humanity is only privy to a very limited set of knowledge and understanding of just about anything in the universe). We are sitting there pondering over a specific, limited set of information available to us both. Just the same as when two blind people touch an elephant in different places and come to fully incompatible (seemingly) conclusions about what an elephant looks like, we come each with our limited knowledge (for knowledge is ALWAYS limited, and by that virtue we are ALL ALWAYS BLIND to the absolute whole on many issues) about a given topic. What the point of any discussion is is putting the elephant together in a cooperative effort of comparing and contrasting the sets of our information on the elephant, not a competition of how great we are in insisting that OUR version of the elephant is THE elephant!
I know, of course, that for whatever reason many people feel threatened by someone they perceive as more intelligent than them. To that I say, grow up, gain some self-confidence and start exploring this world of wonder. I’ve even heard from one friend who claimed to hate hanging out with intelligent people… I don’t know about you, but I personally PAY to hang out with people much more intelligent than myself. AND to be constantly picked apart and proven wrong by them. It’s called going to school, college, professional trainings… Sounds familiar? Why is it so much easier to accept a teacher or a scientist in a documentary to have a point, while having a person around who also has a point just as valid is capable of driving you bonkers??? Is it perceived direct threat to your self-esteem? Then again, what do you prove by avoiding debate on those grounds? That you’re a spineless person?
It is impossible to know everything about everything. DUH. So whenever you enter into any discussion with anyone on something you are fully clueless about, the fact that you have no clue does NOT make you a less worthy individual, a less intelligent being or any of those bad things you mentally label yourself as being when you encounter anyone you think is smarter than you. What DOES make you a retard in a sense is running away – from the possibility to exchange information, learn, get to know something new. THAT is indeed dumb – not the fact that you happen to not know or understand something in the first place, but the fact that when you are given an opportunity to fill in that gap, or at least try and gather some perspective, you RUN from it, afraid of bruising your precious ego. It’s not the lack of knowing or understanding that constitutes for someone’s stupidity – it’s the lack of willingness to take the presented opportunities to learn.
As for myself, I know very little, even when I fiercely debate something. And it definitely hurts my little stubborn ego when I’m smashingly proven to have been totally mistaken, plain dumb or in other ways misinformed – de-constructing fairy tales in our heads that we grow tender of as a part of ‘my knowledge and thus self-worth’ is a painful process.
The difference between myself and people who think I’m exclusively after proving my point is that I seek these confrontations. I seek people by far more intelligent than myself. I seek that pain of being proven wrong, stupid, misinformed. Because I come out of those battles as a winner – I win a corrected, more lucid and richer understanding of the world around me in all its amazing glory and dimensions. In turn, by understanding a bit more, and seeing connections between things, I become more a part of this world. I see it as a full organism where all individual people and creatures are cells – we all need to work together to preserve that organism. Understanding more and more each day, or at least trying to, helps to that end. It also lifts one above petty self-pity and self-destruction patterns. It’s incredibly empowering to learn anything about anything, because a reflection of our human existence can be easily found in any realm of the universe, our planet, other species – you name it. Seeing it gives you power, responsibility – yes, but power – to do what you wish in your life, to create your own purpose and meaning for it, to enjoy your short time here as a conscious being capable of all that. It’s precious, and we waste it on petty stuff, like avoiding the little cognitive discomforts associated with adjusting to new, often conflicting information and understanding available to us…
I don’t know much, but this I know with a high degree of certainty: I’d rather hurt my ego every now and then than waste my lifetime on meaningless, sad existence in the world where magic and wonder are all around me for the taking and enjoyment – all one little step of yet another ego-beating learning experience away from me. Don’t know about you, but in that sense consider me a masochist – I opt for as many ego-beatings as I can get out of this life. And yes I do privately think people who opt out are a bit less intelligent – which doesn’t make them worse human beings, but they irrationally refuse something that can empower and embetter their lives, which I find a bit strange in the least, and a bit defeating to the purpose of being granted an opportunity of a conscious, self-aware life.