An impressive vocabulary, knowledge about the law and personal rights, impulsivity, the inability to foresee the consequences of one’s own conduct and atrophied empathy are not wisdom. They are not even cleverness. There was a time when these things were called excessive mental chatter, defensiveness, poor self-control, developmental delays, and being a jerk.
Yet, many of our era’s “thinkers” show these traits unselfconsciously or proudly. The most curious thing is that they are successful at selling that to large audiences as acuity, teachings or vision.
What happened here has to do with fear – the fear of using the mind and the heart – and expecting the sensation of fear around people who have read a bit more and have an unpredictable manner.
Maybe all these audiences did not have a source of stable, loving attention while growing up. Maybe their teachers made them feel inadequate. Maybe who was admired in their home were those who got away with deceiving people or tricking a more reliable relative. Childhood imprints live in us for a long time. Memories disappear, but what feels familiar can be a comfort that is sought often and that remains unconscious. This is how authorities who do not introspect, have no results in their lives, and offer their word salad and cynical views and shortcomings get followers and fans.
20 February 2022