You’re not stupid, just ignorant

Girl with skateboard

That’s right, you aren’t stupid. You might feel stupid, you might look stupid, you might even act stupidly, but you aren’t stupid. For most of us, that’s the truth of the matter.

Stupid is a feeling we all battle with now and again, depending on our situation or circumstances – but it is a long way from reality.

What you are, what I am, what we are, is ignorant. Ignorance is not even on the same road as stupid, because stupid can’t be taught. The major difference here is that what we confuse is feeling stupid because we are ignorant. Being ignorant is okay, it really is.

Consider this, next time you’re feeling stupid. Who is the smartest person you know, who do you think is the smartest person who has ever lived? Now, do you think they know everything? When I say everything, I mean absolutely everything there is to know.

I am utterly unsurprised that you cannot name a single person, because that is an impossibility. Not only is there no-one that knows everything, no-one will ever know everything. That doesn’t make them stupid, just ignorant.

This is what matters, knowing that you don’t know. Accept that you have no idea, no skills, no ability in some fields – and that others know better than you. It works in reverse with those things you do know, especially the fields you specialise in.

Ignorance is something we eradicate through education. We consume information and use that information to inform our thinking, our behaviour and our world. The purpose is to improve the quality of our lives.

Human progress has been fuelled by knowledge, by the acquired knowledge we have shared and built upon. While it is impossible to assimilate all of the knowledge humanity has amassed to date, we can still use the parts of that knowledge useful to us personally to reduce our own ignorance – and we can share that knowledge with others.

We start out ignorant, not stupid, and we become less ignorant the more we educate ourselves, formally or not. Be proud of what you know, and don’t be shy about spreading what you know around so that others can learn as well.

On a final note, the first recorded person in the history of humankind to spot the fact that human actions have a result on the environment was Theophrastus. Back in the 4th Century, BC, he made extensive observations on the climate including observing that an area near Philippi warmed once all the trees had been cut down. Using this observation, he stated “Anything which is contrary to nature is dangerous”.

Author: Morné Condon

Automotive journalist in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, following new models, old cars, car clubs and motorsport. My interests are not restricted to the automotive environment, although this is where I am mostly to be found.

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