Sunday, December 28, 2008

Ignorance is Bliss… NOT

“I cannot divine how it happens that the man who knows the least is the most argumentative.” –Giovanni Della Casa (1503-1556), Papal Secretary of State, Galateo.

“A fool finds no pleasure in understanding but delights in airing his own opinions.” –Proverbs 18:2

How much of our time is devoted to appeasing argumentative people, who are by definition, biblical ‘fools’?

Yet, as people, we don’t know what we don’t know. And some people are deliberately blind to that fact--they don’t want to know or even refuse to acknowledge it.

When we act out of a lack of knowledge, say when we make assumptions, we often get our relationships and lives drastically wrong.

The Bible says a lot about this subject of irony: the person with least amount of knowledge and understanding strangely has the strongest views.

There’s a boomerang principle to be observed here. The strong view of the ignorant person blocks their potential to learn and grow[1]; in the final analysis, they only have their lips, an incorrect heart, and bits of knowledge, which are on the whole dangerous in most contexts. They know it all already so there is little they could learn.

Yet, in reality there ruin; it’s only a short time away--it’s inevitable. Yet, their hearts rage against God and the people opposing them when it happens; forever they do not learn. It’s always someone else’s fault.

Below are related some proverbs:

“It is to a man's honor to avoid strife, but every fool is quick to quarrel.” –Proverbs 20:3

Prudence arms the wiser, discreet person with caution and care, an antecedent for honour. People who are quick to argue are by intrinsic nature, foolish. Improperly manifested anger turns us into fools in a moment.

“The way of a fool seems right to him, but a wise man listens to advice.” –Proverbs 12:15

It is easier in the long run to take the humble attitude of learner. The way of the fool of course seems right to him for the reasons highlighted above i.e. the boomerang principle. They have no desire to be wrong and couldn’t stand the thought.

“Stay away from a foolish man, for you will not find knowledge on his lips.” –Proverbs 14:7

It’s incumbent on us to choose our friends carefully. At times we’re thrust into relationships, for instance, in the workplace, where we need to do our best to curb our interaction with certain persons. Of course, we can choose our friends but we can’t choose our family.

“The tongue of the wise commends knowledge, but the mouth of the fool gushes folly.” –Proverbs 15:2

The fool can’t help him or herself. They plunge into danger without a care in the world. What’s more, the fool can’t help spruik, as the following proverbs continue to attest:

“The discerning heart seeks knowledge, but the mouth of a fool feeds on folly.” –Proverbs 15:14

“Stone is heavy and sand a burden, but provocation by a fool is heavier than both.” –Proverbs 27:3

“If a wise man goes to court with a fool, the fool rages and scoffs, and there is no peace.” –Proverbs 29:9

“As a dream comes when there are many cares, so the speech of a fool when there are many words.” –Ecclesiastes 5:3

Perhaps the last one below is how we should leave the discussion:

“Even as he walks along the road, the fool lacks sense and shows everyone how stupid he is.” –Ecclesiastes 10:3

Certainly a well-known, contemporary (but lovable) fool is Homer Simpson. On a recent episode this cartoon character was heard to say, “How come things that happen to stupid people keep happening to me?”

We might laugh at this but what is self-evident to some in not for others. In this world we will have to deal with the foolish.

Copyright © 2008, S. J. Wickham. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.

All Scripture referenced from the New International Version.

[1] Proverbs 14:8 (NIV) says, “The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways, but the folly of fools is deception.”

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