You may have seen me tweet that our family motto is “People are stupid” and wondered about that phrase and its origin. It is from the book “The Wizards First Rule” by Terry Goodkind and is explained by the wizard Zedd
“Wizard’s First Rule: people are stupid.” Richard and Kahlan frowned even more. “People are stupid; given proper motivation, almost anyone will believe almost anything. Because people are stupid, they will believe a lie because they want to believe it’s true, or because they are afraid it might be true. People’s heads are full of knowledge, facts, and beliefs, and most of it is false, yet they think it all true. People are stupid; they can only rarely tell the difference between a lie and the truth, and yet they are confident they can, and so are all the easier to fool.”
“Because of Wizards First Rule, the old wizards created Confessors, and Seekers, as a means of helping find the truth, when the truth is important enough. Darken Rahl knows the Wizard’s Rules. He is using the first one. People need an enemy to feel a sense of purpose. It’s easy to lead people when they have a sense of purpose. Sense of purpose is more important by far than the truth. In fact, truth has no bearing in this. Darken Rahl is providing them with an enemy, other than himself, a sense of purpose. People are stupid; they want to believe, so they do.”
You might notice that Zedd excludes no one from the rule and rightly so, because no one is immune. So when I quote the rule I am including myself in the group of “people”. It is a way (to me) of stopping for a moment and checking, of reminding myself to ask “Hey, is this thing I am about to do stupid?” now while it is a good thing to check I don’t always follow the lovely advice and go ahead and do the (maybe) stupid thing anyway. But I do learn and that is the key thing. Don’t just follow the crowd, take time to learn and research and maybe even doubt what you are told. Especially if you are told something by people with an agenda. And people almost always have an agenda.
Does this mean that we should all just throw our hands in the air and give up? Hell no, we should listen and learn and if what we find out and verify is that something is a bad idea we should resist it. Not just step into line on the journey toward the cliff. Remember the wise words of your Mother/Aunt/Grandmother/Father/Uncle/Grandfather.
“If Jimmy jumped of the Brooklyn Bridge* would you?”
So don’t just use blind faith. Try the ideas being thrown at you on for size. Check with other people who hold different opinions from you and see what they have to say. Then take all of that information and see if it reflects the real world. Critical thinking people, it’s what’s for dinner! (I know only a few people will get that marketing campaign reference) You all know what I am saying right? What I am trying to get at here? If you do, then we can all agree it is time to stop being stupid and fix this terrible mess we have let other people talk us into.
I know I will take a lot of heat for this, just as I have in the past when I have used this quote on twitter and I know that many will disagree with me and I say that is good, as long as you have real, well thought arguments.
Who knows, maybe someday you will stop me from doing something stupid, but for right now it is my turn.
*substitute your local high place to jump off of
P.S. I do recommend reading The Sword of Truth series if you haven’t. It is fabulous stuff.