Updated: Jan 13, 2020
"In the land of the well meaning fool,
is the wise man made evil."
I'm sure many of you are looking at this and wondering what connection there would be between fools and wise men. What does the well meaning fool have to do with the wise man? Why would the wise man be evil? Isn't wisdom being able to see the consequences of acts? Would not only an evil person disparage the wise man? Have I included enough questions to count as a list? All good questions. In order to answer them (except that last of course) you have to take the motivations in order.
The well meaning fool wants to help. He's not too particular about who he helps or how, just so long as he helps. And, its not so much about the helping really; he's just looking for that warm glowy feeling he gets from doing a good deed. Sadly, this makes him probably the worst person to get into the helping people business, because at the end of the day, he doesn't actually care if he's helped someone. He's not trying to help because he understands that by cooperating we make all of our lives better. He just wants that feeling.
But, being a bit of a fool, he's not really sure how to help. Oh, he can do little things like help the little old lady across the street. But the warm glowy feeling garnered from such small deeds does not last long. The fool wants it to last. In order to do that his help must be towards something big, something grand. Something that sounds good.
Enter The Charlatan. The knave, the demagogue, the cad, the . . . okay I'll stop. He's got causes to sell. You want a big one, a little one, one that's just right? He's got them all. And of course, they all sound great up front. The Cause he offers sounds like it should help everyone. And that's great. But the more you look into it, the more you realize that that particular cause only helps the charlatan. Well, and maybe his friends.
But, the well meaning fool simply does not care. He has A Cause! And he's going to fight for it. He's helping! He's making a positive difference in the world!
Enter the Wise Man. The wise man sees the well meaning fool working industriously for The Cause. He sees the end result. He tries to explain the consequences of the well meaning fool's efforts. Oh, how he tries . . .
But, as stated above, the well meaning fool does not care. This isn't about making a positive effect in the world. He does not want to try and understand the underlying arguments. He's not interested in sifting through the data. If he did that, he might not be able to find A Cause. Then what?
In short, he wants his glowy feeling. Ergo, he needs a cause. He currently has a cause. If the wise man is to be believed then, not only does he lose his warm glowy feeling, but he must accept that all of his prior efforts have made things worse. (Can one get a glowy debt?)
So, he chooses not to heed the wise man. But he must have a reason. The wise man has reasons; he won't shut up about them. So too must the well meaning fool have reasons. Reasons that allow him to ignore anything the wise man might say.
The Charlatan can provide those as well: the wise man is a monster, he's a racist, a rapist, an idiot, a terrorist, a liar, a misogynist, a bigot, a socialist, he's alt-right (I'll get into that in another post) etc. In short he's a poopy head. He does not care about The Cause. He wants the people The Cause is supposed to help to continue suffering. Don't listen to him. Drink your Kool-Aid.
I'm sure many of you reading this are glaring at the other side of the aisle, thinking I'm only talking about them, whichever them it is. But the charlatan and the well meaning fool can be found anywhere. Wherever there are fools the charlatan rears his twisted head. Any time we choose to take the word of another instead of allowing the data (that means all of it; I'll do a post on the scientific method another day) to form their views, we risk allowing a charlatan to conscript us into his army for personal power.
And, we've all been there. I guarantee you, you've been the well meaning fool at least once in your life. I know I have. And if you truly can't remember a time when you've been had by a charlatan with a cause, then its almost definitely happening to you right now. Stop listening to the sides. Start listening to the facts. Search out those facts that don't support your current view. And ignore the percentiles and the figures and the projections. Remember that old saw:
'Figures lie, and liars figure.'
Get the hard data, the actual base numbers that the liars used to twist their 'proof'. Make an objective view. And if it turns out that you're wrong, adjust your view. Don't ignore the data.
I know some of you are saying 'I don't need to check the data; Dr. X, Y, or Z already did. And he explicitly said that the Doctor A, B, or C was wrong, stupid, idiotic, evil.' In short, a poopy head. To those people I'm going to give a little spoiler; no one is truly evil or truly good. Very few people in the history of man are truly evil. We are all shades of grey, some brighter, some darker. Neither Trump nor Obama are pure evil (as a random, nonspecific example). No one side has all the answers. No one side is right all of the time. Well, the right wing is to the right, so they're always right in that respect. But I digress . . .
And if you think they are than you have definitely been taken in. One of the most base wrongs a person can commit is to ignore an argument because they don't like the arguer. More evil in this world has been committed because 'he said and I didn't question' than from any other thought process.
Would that I lived in a world where people were not frightened of wisdom, of the mere possibility of being wrong. Would that I lived in a world where what was right was more important than who was right. I do not. But I believe that world could exist, and I believe that it would be a benefit to honest people everywhere. Whether or not that world ever takes shape is up to us. #ServingConjecture #EvilWiseMan