Who has not, at one time in life, thought herself or himself as the wisest person on Earth? Were you an adolescent then? I was. I believed that I was blessed with sublime wisdom about nearly every topic. I must have been served several helpings of humble pie to cure me of that foolish belief. It eventually dawned on me, my elders and many of my peers probably saw me as a fool.
We flub and make mistakes, such is the human condition. We can either deny our missteps or own them. When we own our mistakes, it’s easier to learn the lessons the mistakes gifted us. Mistakes have the power to reveal our dishonesty and honesty about ourselves.
“The mistakes of the fool are known to the world, but not to himself. The mistakes of the wise man are known to himself, but not to the world.”–19th century cleric, Charles Caleb Colton, who was also a famous eccentric.
In as much as committing an error is embarrassing, not admitting a mistake that is obvious to other people is pitiful. That is, everyone else knows the mistake was made, but the transgressor deflects or denies what happened. This is one way that a fool lacks integrity.
“You think I am a fool, but you are a greater fool than I am.”–Hunkpapa Lakota leader, Sitting Bull
Judgmental attitudes put us in a real pickle. When we point out that someone is being judgmental, are we being judgmental, too? How can we tell someone she is being judgmental without looking like a judgmental fool oneself? Should we even do so? There probably is no one satisfactory answer to these questions. It’s probably best to answer them on a case by case basis.
“The serpent, the king, the tiger, the stinging wasp, the small child, the dog owned by other people, and the fool: these seven ought not to be awakened from sleep.”–ancient Indian jurist and philosopher, Chanakya
This is one of my favorite quotes from that ancient Brahmin. The wise man spoke volumes with elegant simplicity. It’s a good proverb to ponder today–All Fools Day.