Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Owls vs. Drunks

It has been said the art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook. While I don't doubt some people possess true wisdom, I've always suspected many people we designate as "wise" are, in fact, mentally dull.

Let's say you and a couple of friends are having an argument. It could be about anything -- sports, politics, members of the opposite sex you find attractive. Suddenly the argument gets excessively complicated and nuanced.

One of your friends drops out of the argument. The argument turns ugly. Ad hominem attacks reign and physical confrontation becomes a possibility.

Finally you appeal to your silent friend as an arbitrator. "I'm hungry," he says. "Let's get some dinner."

At first blush this is wise response. He overlooked the nasty argument which had no hopes of being resolved and then pacified the situation bringing up dinner time -- which everyone can relate to.

Or, could it be he was too dumb to participate in the complicated discourse and had a growling stomach?

I tend to think it's the latter.

For further proof we turn to the animal kingdom. In this video a "wise" owl demonstrates that its famous ability to overlook isn't necessarily triggered by "wisdom":

Although, it is important to remember stupidity can also manifest itself in a more active form:


JK said...

Nice use of "ad hominem." One of my favorites.

JT said...

Ad hominem now describes most of our political process and all discourse on the internet. So, in a way, CPK and KTC were ahead of their time.

Although I see they disagree on the appropriateness of merging photoshop technology and ad hominem volleys.

I say that is what they invented photoshop for.