Cheap Wisdom

The obvious truths about life often escape us because we’re too distracted trying to figure out the complex issues. However, just as common sense is not so common, remembering the basics requires more than just a basic understanding of what life is about. It’s odd that those that have achieved much are trying to simplify their lives, yet those that have achieved little are striving for more. It’s also odd that those that are striving for simplicity are constantly reminding those that have less to be content with less.

I’ve found that by mingling with the weak, I was always reminded of my own weaknesses and found comfort in being among those that were equally or more weak. However, in mingling with the puny, I found myself being belittled and undermined because they needed me to be reduced to their stature so that they would feel better about themselves. This seems oddly familiar when considered within the context of my former observation of mingling with the weak. It seems I’m deluding myself about my own puny-ness.

It stands to reason that if we wish to improve ourselves we should associate with those that are better than who we are, or who have achieved what we aspire to achieve. However, unless this plays out in the workplace where we’re trying to move up into a higher salary bracket, in life as it occurs from day to day, such associations require a healthy dose of humble pie because it’s only in acceptance of our shortcomings or weaknesses that we are able to acknowledge that we can obtain benefit from someone that is more accomplished than ourselves. Let that someone be in our immediate circle of peers or contemporaries and even healthy doses of humble pie are insufficient to encourage any meaningful exchange of life’s lessons.

It has been said that the ability to state the obvious is a sign of genius. I’m not so sure this is true even though I did profess to possess exactly this quality today. All in jest of course. The truth is, genius is over rated. Being able to see the obvious only requires a focus that does not consider the distractions. A clear grasp of purpose and objective makes it easy to navigate through the gunk in order to arrive at the desired destination, or at least to continue to head in that general direction. Unfortunately we afford distractions too much importance because we often set out without clearly understanding what it is that we wish to achieve or acquire. Like they say, when you don’t know where you’re going, any road will do. Similarly, when we set out with only a vague understanding of what it is that we need to achieve, it’s very likely that we’ll achieve very little, or worse, something completely unintended!

Of course there are times when we’ll find ourselves in the middle of the perfect storm of lethargy in which case we’ll be the unwitting recipients of a seemingly great accomplishment simply because we allowed ourselves to unconsciously wander into a domain that we would never have consciously explored in the first place. Cheap wisdom is cheap because it’s not required to be coherent, but fortunately there will always be sincere ones among us that will look for the good in us that we don’t recognise in ourselves, thereby deriving benefit out of that which we discard as meaningless or inconsequential. If only we could see ourselves through such sincere spectacles we’d probably find that we wouldn’t undermine our potential to achieve greatness as much as we do while looking at the mirror through lenses glazed with cynicism.




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  1. This from a self-proclaimed cynic?! 😉

    Excellent distinction between weak and puny – although difficult to always draw that line, specially when our vision and mind is often cluttered with distractions.

    Amen (@ last line of your excerpt)!

      1. lol – btw, not sure why it came up as Anonymous when I commented last as Penelope…ah well…

        I am curious – what do you think of your contradictions? It can’t always be comfortable or peaceful…

        1. I was wondering why would anyone want to be anonymous on this blog of mine. 🙂

          To be honest, I’m not really as contradictory as I claim to be, except of course my blog name relative to what I’m really about. I’m not really cynical either, rather just frustrated and often disillusioned about how people miss the point so badly. That in itself creates many of those uncomfortable and restless moments that you alluded to in your comment. In fact, I had one of those just a few minutes ago, but I’ll restrain myself from going on a rant about it.

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