MIDWAY: All up there

How must someone feel on being labelled stupid? In the academia, the focus over the years

has been on spotting bright and quick-witted students. Once they are spotted, they are given special attention. On the other hand, those who are a little slow on the uptake are brushed aside as stupid. In doing so, the teachers are also showing their clear bias for fast learners.

Unfortunately, the ‘enlightened’ ones, rather than guiding the ignorant on the right path, further heighten the sense of inferiority of those who know less. This is a sure-fire way to turn someone into an utter dolt even if he or she has plenty of latent talent that can

be channelled into so many good causes. The label of stupidity tends to stick.

I believe that all men are born with equal wisdom and that intelligence is something to be nurtured over a period of time.

And one is most likely to get ahead in life if h/her potentials are emphasised and deficiencies pointed out. Merely berating and showing people down does no one any good.

Not surprisingly, in the biased society we live in, almost all of us have felt the humiliation of being deemed foolish. Many have struggled for the rest of their lives trying to wash off the undeserved label.

In the words of British philosopher Bertrand Russell: “Men are born ignorant, not stupid. They are made stupid.” He could not have said it any better. Nor is his wisecrack more relevant to any other society.

If not shown the right path, an ignorant person can easily be waylaid into believing that h/she is stupid. Hence stupidity is not born of ignorance per se but results from it via wrong training and guidance. Indeed, we are unlikely to find a person who was born stupid. It’s a label that is stuck on him much later, not for his or her convenience, but for the convenience of the finger pointers. The stupid label is hence more imposed than self-assigned.

A knowledgeable person can never chose to be stupid. For he knows about the right place to look for knowledge. Our focus should be building a society where a ‘stupid’ gets enough opportunities to become sensible and where people are not sidelined just because they haven’t crossed the right path.