The Most Intelligent Are Never Wrong, They Either Teach or Learn

Competition is an essential part of nature and from a young age we gain familiarity with the concept. Accompanying the tussle for victory is the anguish of failure, for many a fear of it seeing them constantly brace for peril. How an individual confronts triumph and defeat shapes their disposition, the tactics acquired sculpting their path to adulthood. At times these outcomes are out of our control, however, how we approach the aftermath of the clash is completely under our supervision.

To aptly approach external circumstances an auspicious strategy is to not see life as a sequence of finite games where winning is essential, but as an infinite game where pros and cons are taken both from winning and losing to enlarge one’s knowledge base. Taking this perspective our competitive flare can still burn without it singeing us. The greats haven’t become so by never being defeated, rather by a continual desire to learn through the varied scenes of existence.

Initial Intrigue

During our transition into maturity our guardians encourage the cessation of certain puerile behaviours to align our conduct with what’s considered socially acceptable. Whilst many of these activities require purging the changeover habitually sees youths lose the inquisitive nature witnessed in childhood, the innate compulsion to explore reality and investigate their surroundings.

As children we wander about existence with a yearning to touch, taste, smell, anything drawing attention, ignorance to life not hindering but helping the mind expand. The concept of failure isn’t fully acknowledged and although they are prone to unsuccessful attempts they do not see it as catastrophe, instead an avenue to discover what not to do.

It’s fascinating how children can portray the most marvellous parts of humanity. How often we are confronted with a situation where rather than asking a question to understand or clarify one remains silent, unwilling to show incompetence for a few seconds in order to gain cognizance. It’s quite comical that we pride ourselves on courage yet lack the inquiring conviction of a child. 

It’s those with scant experience who have the most to acquire, without the shackles of expectation they can authentically commit themselves to the pursuit of further understanding. Developing more awareness through exposure to many crafts one can engender a considerable knowledge palate, yet, during the period of intellect expansion they are also susceptible to believe it’s far bigger than what it is, a surfacing fondness for the self palpable. Conversely, the wisest pass these stages and arrive at a location of clarity where vast intelligence ensues the realization of their incompetence; as Plato wrote, “I am a fool, but I know I’m a fool, and that’s what makes me smarter than you”. 

When we are wrong we should not take it as a personal attack, both sides of the spectrum are needed for individual improvement and keeping the audacious intrigue of childhood is exceedingly beneficial to our development.

Humbling The Hubris

Where does the sensation of feeling we know everything come from? Is it socially crafted or found among all communities? No one can be entirely sure of their answer to these questions, however, there are certain matters of consideration if pursuing these topics.

From early academics a student’s personal sentiment rests on the appearance of symbols, the tick and the cross becoming salient signifiers of intelligence. Although initially keeping curiosity inflated, the schooling regiment quickly stamps its dogma on education and expectations control attention. Instead of inducing a thirst for knowledge it’s typically a grind for grades commanding student intention, the correct answer pedestalled for what it provides not what it implies. With admiration for the right answer superseding the process of attainment thought is restricted to a singular viewpoint, the inability to transverse to an alternate perspective leaving one lacking comprehension.

Condemnation is an effective instrument for overlooking personal flaws and projecting them onto others, in the contemporary world our digital connectivity makes it expressively easy to apply opinion. With nearly everyone now provided a platform to speak many seem to believe their views deserves praise. If this feeling happens to embody the conscious it’s judicious to remember to humble your hubris; if you haven’t lived something don’t speak about it, listen to the critics and anecdotes of those who have for they’ll discuss the subject with acumen.

Within people resides of fear of the unknown, the craving to be right sometimes stemming from a desire to be sheltered from the inaccurate or undefined. There is comfort in believing we have the world figured out, yet, without unshackling the fear of ridicule we cannot grasp the gravity of our illiteracy. It’s not the incorrect answer making one moronic but the fear of asking the next question. Growth requires discomfort and temporarily showing one’s ignorance can provide a better angle for coalescing cognizance.    

Everything we call fact was once theory and theories stem from the questioning of a premise, by learning to raise the right queries the weight of knowledge intensifies. In order to gain familiarity with a subject we must be ready to admit our limitations, there is no shame in not knowing but there are residual effects for not asking. When one begins to think they know everything they cease to harness the state of wonder, moulding us back into our inquisitive youth the humbling of hubris is invaluable to rumination.

It’s never pleasing to have your view slandered and rather than ridiculing someone it’s auspicious to highlight how an estimation could be refuted through fact, it is teaching others not belittling them generating sagacity. Any true contemplative quester must be willing to exclaim, “I don’t know!” whenever it is such, it’s through dialogue with ignorance we build a better self.

Image Source: Tinybop Inc.

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