The problem isn't that Johnny can't read. The problem isn't even that Johnny can't think. The problem is that Johnny doesn't know what thinking is; he confuses it with feeling.
- Thomas Sowell
i read this quote a couple of weeks ago and it sums up what i've been formulating in my head for some time, to come to terms with people's behavior.
it's a characteristic of human behavior to alert others to information that may help them, so when i learn something new, especially if it's of vital importance to humanity, my tendency is to pass it on. of great frustration has been the inability to convince others of simple ideas, of monumental importance, through impeccable logic. it's as though i see a crowd chanting, "2+2=5!", and i tell them, "hey guys, here's a mathematical proof that shows why 2+2=4!" unabated, they continue their chant.
it's been a great source of frustration and has been difficult to come to grips with.
i've wondered if i'm a genius to whom concepts that seem very simple are unfathomable to the average person, but i notice in the crowd of "5ers" many people of whom i'm certain possess greater intellectual horsepower than i (hopefully, my use of "whom", twice doesn't reflect that). i've thought that maybe i have a special gift for understanding and integrating concepts. maybe i do. but i think that the answer is much simpler than that. i think that sowell's quote, above, sums it up:
I think while others merely feel.
i don't know why this is. it could be from being a dumbass kid and my dad always telling me to "think, son!", or maybe a natural or defensive mechanism that allows me to separate intellect from emotion. whatever it is, it seems to be an uncrossable gulf that divides the few from the many. uncrossable, mainly, because the very condition of confusing thinking with feeling precludes one from thinking about the concept of thinking!
if i tell bob that 2+2=4, but he doesn't know what it means to think, then he will react emotionally with no recourse to logic. he will not be able to understand why i'm right, nor will he be able to understand the means through which i came to be right. he won't even be aware that there is another way to come to conclusions! he'll think that he and i are equals and that my ideas are no better than his and therefore, argue, or even (absurdly) condescend to me about his position.
because of this, i'm not sure of the value of disseminating truth to the masses, and it shows in my decreased interest in doing so. there are, of course, others who may understand thinking and need developmental guidance, and it's valuable to be there for them, but at what cost?
it's important for a thinker not to take the ideas of the masses seriously. they're like children, saying whatever comes to them without critical thought, but also without the cuteness. we should, most times, just nod and move on.