So dangerous to think someone is stupid and yet this is so very easy to do. In fact do we not do this very often? Do we not judge others with great regularity as being stupid, for instance at work, at school, in shops, at the airport, wherever. It is a very common thing to do in this world. But what do we mean with stupid ? What do we tell ourselves when we judge someone as stupid ? Do we mean that the other is not performing according to our standard, our wish, our desire or our expectation or do we believe there is really such a thing as stupidity? If we decide to judge the other as stupid then surely we must believe that we are capable of knowing who is stupid and who is not. One can only judge when one has this (conscious or subconscious) belief or conviction that one is capable of doing so, for to judge is to believe one knows. In reality of course one never really knows leaving one’s judgment to be nothing more than a projection of one’s ideas about knowing at its very best.
However I believe the biggest danger of any judgement lies in the emotions that seem to attend every judgement. To think of the other as being stupid can generate very strong emotions and a deep sense of frustration. All alarm bells should be ringing by now because emotions, being by definition limited in focus, always make us more blind and consequently less capable of judging. Therefore emotions can and will misguide us very quickly. We can only experience the frustrations of so-called stupidity of others when we find ourselves and our problems more important than others. The meaning of more important is translated here as more intelligent. This sense of self importance is in a way very cunning; it mistakes its own demands for noble personal qualities such as intelligence. When I am frustrated I tell myself I have the right to be frustrated because they are stupid and I reaffirm to myself that I am not stupid and I am more important. So it becomes imperative to not overlook this tremendous role of self-importance in all of this. This kind of self-importance is certainly not intelligence. When we have a problem we expect a solution and we have an idea where this solution must come from, there is a certain direction in our mind. We do this in our daily life, we do this at work, we do it with science, in all our relationships, we do it everywhere. Whether this direction reflects reality yes or no is a matter of true intelligence.
Now who is really stupid and who is really not stupid? If someone is really stupid then that is ok, for what to do with a fact? This we should accept because it would be extremely unfair and harsh to be angry with someone who cannot live up to (projected) expectations. But what about someone who we believe is not at all stupid but in our opinion does act stupidly? First of all there remains the chance of misunderstanding the other, the other being a bit slow, or looking at an issue from a complete different perspective etc, etc, etc. I am sure we all must have had hundreds of experiences of misjudgments. Then there is the fact of someone remaining stupid in spite of our vision that this should not be possible in his or her case. Unless the other is pretending to be stupid it is as it is and so we are also dealing here with a fact. Facts are not to be blamed, that would be utterly silly, facts can only be pointed out. To take SRA in relation to stupidity would be:
- to be consciously aware of the fact that one is judging and to fully realize that judgment is always limited and therefore never true
- to be consciously aware of one’s lack of acceptance of others not performing according to one’s expectations and this sense of superior self.
- to understand and to recognize the dynamics behind emotions and that frustration results from lack of acceptance and always from the effort of trying to change a person or situation.
When we judge less we become more open and more tolerant for others. To respect the mental state of the other is a form of tolerance. So to take SRA means to see first that stupidity is a matter of definition and to be aware of the doubtful intelligence of the one who is defining stupidity. It is doubtful because it is totally not free of emotion making this whole process of defining an act of projection. To take SRA is first to recognize projection. Projection always means not dealing with reality but dealing with personal definitions or concepts of reality instead. To take SRA is to respond to reality and not to personal definitions or concepts. It creates space for intelligence to arise. Intelligence here means true intelligence, compassion for the ones who seem to have (according to our judgement) less capacity to think and the recognition of our own lack of space for others (meaning our own lack of intelligence). SRA results in more space for yourself and this space automatically becomes the space you grant others. This insight frees you of frustration immediately for there is no longer any need to change the other. When we take SRA successfully there is always a double effect. We gain more energy and at the same time we experience more freedom. This combination is a magic boost!