It seems that in economics, consumer confidence is sometimes treated as equivalent to economic health. Of course lack of confidence does cause economic trouble, but its not as if we can solve all or economic troubles by pursuing monetary policies that stimulate confidence. I think stupidity is like this also. It causes us suffering, but if we were somehow less stupid, without changing anything else, we would get ourselves into even more trouble. It has a context. It makes no sense to be annoyed at a cat for being stupid. I think that we also have far less freedom in this regard than is sometimes assumed. I also think that our philosophical views and practices make a lot less difference than is commonly assumed. These things do matter, they are a critically important part of the process. But if we could somehow force everyone to read our very favorite books and try to follow them, it would actually make things worse. Its not the right time and place, for that, we've fallen too far. When there is a demand for better books, people will create better books. Of course doing that involves work, I don't mean that we should just roll over and let the con artists dominate discourse. What I mean is a thought like "if people would just do or think X, things would be much better", is itself a kind of stupidity, it doesn't see the whole picture. I don't mean that as a criticism of anything you said, I'm just saying some of what I think that seems relevant to the topic of stupidity.
Originally Posted by PhilosopherStoned
Malice is an interesting topic to me because I have a fair amount of it. I think to some extent the malice I feel isn't even mine personally, I'm just rooted in the psychological substrate of humanity. To some extent it seems to be a kind of damaged love. If you love your parents as a small child, and they relentlessly abuse you, then when you move the part of you that loves you feel pain. And malice seems to me to be a sort of extroverted pain, a desire to communicate what we feel by sharing it. And yet, we're not utterly captive to it either, we have some ability to interpret it differently, to respect other people's freedom, and to choose not to amplify it by passing it on.
When I was in my early 20's I regarded honesty as a symptom of intelligence, with dishonesty being almost synonymous with intentional stupidity. So I figured if I met someone who seemed to be relatively intelligent and capable of empathy, then they must be relatively honest. Experience seems to dissuade me of this assumption.
For anyone who's wondering....I keep threatening to quit posting, because I keep hoping to be able to move my family to where I am, in which case I won't have time. Now its looking like that won't be for at least another 3 to 6 months, and even then I don't see how it will work.
I'm up for a discussion in relation to Buddhism if you're interested, though I don't know much about it. I've read Cleary's translation of Secret of the Golden Flower, which is considered both Buddhist and Taoist. I'm familiar with Patanjali, which isn't Buddhist but has some similarities I think. I've read James Allen's books, which are sort of a western Buddhism. Other than that all of my Buddhism is filtered through various Theosophists, which admittedly is like using the same filter for tea and toilet water. Of course I have criticisms of all these things. I haven't pursued it more because what I have read doesn't seem to speak to my primary concerns, at least not in a way that I understand.