I find that God can teach you from any source. As such I read rather widely. One of my favorite novels is “The Lord of the Rings.” In this book, we are offered some rather important advice.
“He is wise enough on his own ground.” Gandalf to Frodo in Elrond’s house.
The above sentence is the rebuke Gandalf offered Frodo shortly after Frodo criticized the innkeeper’s intelligence. Yes, the innkeeper had a hard time remembering to do things, but he wasn’t stupid. If you have ever read “The Lord of the Rings,” then you’ll remember that Old Butterbur recognized the threat that the Black Riders represented. Frodo didn’t get this. He seemed to think that Butterbur was just too stupid to realize how important certain things were.
The same thing happens today. People are judged as intelligent or not based on: their beliefs, what they’ve read, what they like to do in their free time, the movies they watch, their political inclinations, their religious beliefs–or lack thereof–, or simply because they have an impairment. It seems like this is just a way to make us feel better about ourselves. That feeling is fleeting at best. Comparing the intelligence of two different people is a lesson in futility. The basic intelligence tests only test the ‘book smarts’ to put it mildly. Many who rate on the average side of the IQ, are more intelligent in the skills called ‘street smarts’ or even the more mathematical skills. So comparing people only works when you are comparing people in the same field of experience.
Let’s face it, we all have our fields that we’ve specialized in. Just because someone hasn’t specialized in the same field, that doesn’t make him or her stupid, they’ve just specialized in another field. It’s more blatant in those we call savants. I mean, they have their one area of genius, but they aren’t capable of living on their own. These people aren’t stupid, they’re just highly specialized in their abilities. Yes, some of them are better at math than any calculator.
Critical thinking skills have been traded for a sense of superiority. It’s time for a change. Past time, really. We can start by considering other people’s points-of-view. It might take a little work, as well as a dictionary, but we will be following the golden rule as laid down by Jesus in Matthew.
We need the dictionary because words don’t always mean the same thing to different people. Words even have different meanings in different professions. This is why a mechanic isn’t stupid because he doesn’t understand the medical lingo. Neither is a doctor stupid because he doesn’t understand legalese, of course–other than lawyers–who does understand legalese? Sometimes I wonder about some of those.
Let’s take the word ‘coin’ for example. Most people think of money when they hear the word ‘coin.’ But a writer ‘coins’ a phrase. Did the writer buy the phrase? No, it’s just a phrase that he or she made popular.
Or how about the word ‘key.’ It can be a piece of metal that opens a lock. But it can be the answers in a back of a book of puzzles, or a sheet that lets teachers grade their students’ papers. It can be the word that decrypts an encrypted document. Also, it can be the most important person or piece to a plan.
The thing is we should be seeing both sides of the arguments. There are two sides of every coin, so to speak, but as a whole people have started only taking the one side that they are more comfortable with as truth. This leads to some brutal arguments, online at least, and much ignorance on both sides of the argument. Instead of seeing our opponents as stupid, perhaps we should see things through God’s prism, as such we can.
God’s ways and thinking are higher and better than ours. Instead of trying to pull each other down, we should be reaching for God’s ways. After all, with His way of seeing things, you would think that He had the habit of talking down to His creation. But really, that didn’t happen in the Bible. He only called the children of Israel stupid, after He told them not to do something, and they turned around and did it anyway. Stupid is as stupid does. And many other parents have said the same thing in similar instances.
So the next time you want to call somebody an idiot, a moron, or stupid, remember that it may be your lack. The other person may be specialized in a different field, and you have yet to find a common ground. It’s time we try to see what’s on the other side of the coin.