Why Are You So Stupid?
If you have even a mild reaction to that greeting then you’re in good company. Call me any number of names and direct unsolicited vitriol in my direction and unless your opinion actually matters to me I guess I’ll continue on my merry way.
Or not. How many of us are that grounded and rational?
'Why are you so stupid?' is a question that reads differently depending on the word emphasized. There’s also a presumption you are in fact stupid.
Fully-grown and productive members of society often revert to the emotional state of a three year old when criticized, particularly if name-calling is involved.
This is most in evidence on the anonymous highways of our urban jungle. Placid librarians morph into frenzied psychotic gesticulators and incoherent expletive rendering ranters at the merest of accepted traffic etiquette being breached.
In the cold light of day and reasoned contemplation it would appear to be evidence of global lunacy. Let’s assume that all things do actually happen for some logical reason. It’s not a great philosophical leap to imagine that cause and effect manifests the apparent order in our universe.
What therefore is the trigger for all this irrationality?
Well here’s an anecdote that tells its own story. I recently observed a harried mother chastise her three year old with those words; ‘Why are You So Stupid?’
I found myself idly putting myself into the three year olds shoes but with the benefit of a grown up’s life experience and tried to process the question. I’m led to believe that three year olds are prone to do that, you know, make sense of questions.
I admit to being utterly bereft of any modicum of insight. The lingering message of course is that I must be stupid. Why? That’s another question.
With the benefit of adult hindsight it occurred to me that an appropriate answer albeit something of a stretch and risky in the extreme would be to respond, I’m only three what’s your excuse!
We’re subliminally programmed from a young age to buy into the thoughtless labels thrust upon us by careless authority figures. Over time the layers become reinforcing and the self-concept emerges.
As adults, when confronted by faceless critics we revert back to our three year old state, but become emboldened and react accordingly, empowered by our adult façade behind which lurks the child.
I like the quotation: "Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response”
In the heat of daily frustrations many a parent neglects to pause and consider the impact of their communication on the fertile minds of their progeny, and if they did they may recoil at the echo of their words, the echo of their own parents.
So perhaps next time your spouse, child or fellow road user is ‘doing your head in’ consider whether your reaction is the response of the three year old. Of course you could be right and they are all stupid!