Illustrated stupidity

During the last decades, the advance of liberal ideas has brought about a verifiable state of greater economic, social and political growth, which has allowed the nations that have adopted these principles to obtain greater well-being, both objective and subjective.

Among these states of well-being is the increase in the levels of education, from the reduction of illiteracy to the constant increase in access to primary and secondary education and, in more recent years (the last 30 years in the case of Chile), also to higher education.

This boom has certainly had as a repercussion the fact that more people have the possibility of continuing their formal education, accessing professional accreditations and opening a better path, with new tools, that help them to leave the social and material context of their previous generations, forging a better present and, also, a more promising future for their descendants.

Although we can find some indications that cast doubt on whether this path continues to be the formula, at least in part, for social mobility in our countries; putting quotation marks around the “magic” equation that would pave the way to a future of greater well-being, the truth is that today we have more and better possibilities than before to build, from our freedoms, what we want to make of ourselves.

However, it seems to me that we would agree (you and I) that having a certificate that shows our level of education in the educational system is not synonymous with other qualities, such as integrity, socially moral behavior, spiritual evolution, and even cognitive intelligence itself. Proof of this are the countless professionals who do not even understand what they read, have an impoverished critical thinking or directly carry out the most harmful and detestable actions from a social moral point of view, such as countless types of crimes, abuse of third parties or indiscriminate damage to people and the environment, just to mention a few.

Stupidity, according to the dictionary, is a quality of the stupid, who is understood as a person who fails to understand things well. Well, an essential matter for the understanding of things, whether they are material or immaterial, is the reflection on them, managing to train that old practice of questioning the issues in order to discover more about them and broaden our view.

This morning I took the time to do something I usually overlook, namely to answer comments on videos I have posted on the internet, encountering a group of psychologists (I gather from their comments), insulting me for a distinction between coaching and psychology, revealing, not only their lack of social education, but above all the lack of ability to build reflective conversations, especially of their own (it is usually easier to do so with what is not theirs). This situation made me think, while I was drinking my “sacred” morning coffee, of the enormous problem of thoughtlessness, of the lack of reflective, contemplative culture and philosophical practice, often reviled; or the simple exercise of questioning our own ideas, even knowing that we will not reach a completely satisfactory answer or conclusions that will give us that stillness of spirit, typical of the sensation of certainty.

Certainly, this problem is not peculiar to the enlightened or unenlightened; let him who thinks he is free of stupidity cast the first stone. But, precisely because it is an issue to which we are all permanently exposed, being like walking on a ledge with the certain possibility of falling at the first carelessness, is that we must exercise the “habit” of reflecting, doubting, questioning and understanding that we are working our critical thinking, not to find the truth or total answers, but rather to be free in thought (and consequently in action), even if the subsequent results show us that we have been wrong in it.

Now, if we have had the privilege of access to more education, don’t we have an ethical obligation to use our minds for something deeper to help us understand ourselves and the environment in which we live, I personally think so… what do you think?

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