A version of this Post was published on Andhra Cultural Portal on June 26, 2014
At first glance, many of you may be taken aback by such a damning, and some would even say, questionable, assertion.
After all, aren’t Indians known for their intelligence? Aren’t we famous in the US as Silicon Valley “tech geniuses” and medical wizards? Aren’t many of us scoring off the IQ charts? Don’t we win Geography and Spelling Bees?
But the reality is there are many types of intelligence–even animals and robots now have some degree of intelligence and some types of intelligence. Nevertheless, the single most important type of material intelligence is strategic intelligence: raw ability to understand what happened, why it’s happening, and what one should do. And it is here that Indians (at least modern ones), fail miserably.
This, of course, is not the first time we have critiqued Indians (and as usual, Andhras represent exaggerated versions of both the best and worst qualities). We previously evaluated whether we were a Serious People, and then whether we were Talkers or Doers, but the reality is, the core problem of Indians is Unrepentant Stupidity. In this post, I will evaluate precisely why this is the case.
The prime reason for this disconnect is that mere acquisition of knowledge has become wisdom and accomplishment for our people. It’s as if this alone has become a substitute for actually doing. Winning all these math competitions or becoming exam toppers and getting into some “School from Phoreign” is akin to a monkey or poodle performing a trick on command. That is the problem with our parents today: Instead of raising wise men and women, they are raising poodles that they can showcase to make their frenemies jealous–all while their enemies plot against them and their civilization.
But the end goal of education is not a poodle. Rather, as a certain former resident of Anantapur district said, “The end goal of education is character”. What we choose to or choose not to do in this world. The knowledge that we gain is ultimately lost—all that echoes in eternity is our action.
Thus, thought without righteous action is not character, but our stupidity is so great, we don’t realize this.
Our stupidity is so great we talk more than we think, and we think the mere reading of a book or copying and pasting from an article is the attainment of knowledge. We think knowledge means intelligence, and intelligence is wisdom.
Our stupidity is so great facts can stare us in the face time and again and we’ll still fall back to emotional reaction rather than an educated basis for argument and problem solving. Rather than reevaluating our previous views, in irrational prickliness, we hold onto them even stronger and without providing logical reason– as though letting go of an obsolete/invalid view would somehow undercut our fashionability or negate all our previous posturing.
Our stupidity is so great we think our friends are our enemies and our enemies are our friends. We engage in fratricidal disputes to split already meager inheritances, while enemies smilingly wait to mop up the mess. We think the enemy is genuinely seeking to further our ambitions in the name of friendship, when he is merely acting with diplomacy (which is the art of letting someone else have Your way).
Our stupidity is so great, when the enemy declares exactly what he is about and what he intends to do, we think we can rely on our shopkeeper skills to negotiate our way out. We think that through some too cute by half rhetorical gymnastics, some last minute lungi dance will be enough to save our skin. But we forget that,”Some men aren’t looking for anything logical, like money. They can’t be bought, bullied, reasoned or negotiated with. Some men just want to watch the world burn.”
The worst part is, Indians aren’t even apologetic, circumspect, or reflective about this ignorance. Even when the stupidity has been diagnosed and confirmed, they will arrogantly and petulantly declare “Are you saying I am moron (sic)?!”, “Who do you think you are?”, “Yes, that is how we do it!“.
Where does this undeserving entitlement come from??? Why this stubborn unrepentance?? Many don’t even feel bad about it, but practically bask in it, or hide behind fancy degrees, as if the brand name university alone conveys competence and intelligence.
Oh yes, we may have a “wily Amar Singh” here or a “clever KCR” there, but this is the low cunning of nimrods who think they are big deal guys when in reality they are buffoons. They are called smart because they gain today by losing (or more specifically, selling out) tomorrow. People forget what ultimately happened to Amar Singh—he was used as a money man in 2009 and then disposed—ejected from the very party he helped build. And there is no reason to think the same won’t happen to KCR as CM.
The recent alliance between the TRS and MIM is emblematic of this mind-numbing stupidity. The party of Razakars which committed untold atrocities against Telangana men and women in the lead up to liberation in 1948 is not only influencing government policy, it is changing logos, and seeking to marginalize and eventually displace Telugu with Urdu.
People may say “oh well, KCR knows how to keep them on leash”, “he is running the show”, but historically speaking, the Maharajah of Mysore famously promoted Hyder Ali in the name of fighting his enemies. But what ultimately happened? Hyder Ali in time used his military position to gain power—the Maharajah ruled only in name…
Ultimately what does it matter that you have a 180 IQ, memorized the four Vedas, or are a chess grandmaster—did Chess Champion Gary Kasparov defeat Vladimir Putin or was it the other way around?
Worst of all is this Dhritarashtra approach parents take with their kids. Parents don’t have the moral courage to correct their children’s stupidity and then whine about the disastrous end product.
Parents or not, we then get outraged by the fact that someone actually tried to give us advice. Some even have reached a level of malice where they habitually teach people lessons for no reason other than their own malice. Rather than trying to teach others a lesson, teach yourself a lesson…in humility…by learning the value of “Shut up”
The Value of “Shut up”
The rapid-fire hysteria that possesses Indians when their conceits or even passing assumptions are challenged by anyone held in anything less than absolute adoration, is astonishing.
Rather than trying to hear and digest what the other party is, or at least ending with “that is my opinion” and agree to disagree, there’s an immediate and uncontrollable urge to debate to oblivion. It’s as if our greatest fears will be realized if the other side doesn’t concede and agree to exactly what we think. It doesn’t matter whether or not we ourselves have examined the view—or even studied the subject matter in depth—they have to accept—otherwise, “ZOMG!!!, our fear!!!“Broader strategic alliance is forgone for immediate but minor differences in opinion.
Rather than spending years understanding an area—the bits and pieces of received wisdom are congealed to create a walking moron of heuristics. Instead of firmly establishing views on logic—logic is contorted to fit the view. And the frenetic, even nervous, energy is fired off in a machine gun burst of buffoonery.
If someone points this out, then our beloved Indians burst out in an inane babble of “you are saying I am moron (sic)” –well you would have to be, wouldn’t you?
Think, adjust your views as needed, and even modify your approach to new actors and new information—this is called strategy. If you don’t do this, then yes, “you are moron”.
Unfocused babble is not the means for civilized discourse or conversation, and simply repeating the past is not a strategy for victory. Victory is not determined by who fought the bravest, or was thought to be the most knowledgeable, but by whomever defeated the strategy of his adversary. So don’t proudly say you have “no knowledge whatsoever” in an area. If you don’t, then shut up and learn. Shutting up doesn’t mean you agree. It just means that you had the good sense to shut up…and LISTEN!!!
Stupidity amongst Indians comes in many forms. The first is the inability to distinguish between poodle showmanship on exams and real intelligence.
Recitation of pointless facts and memorization of mantra is meaningless if you can’t protect those you love and perform your duty to them. Real intelligence refers to the ability to make the logical connections necessary to determine what is needed to preserve what matters; in short, it is the ability to prioritise. What is the point of your saastric knowledge if you don’t know how to save your land and women? For a Rajput, his honor was based on safeguarding his sword, his horse, and his womenfolk–the House of Mewar safeguarded all three. So if you call yourself a real man, remember that a real man is not determined by how many women he”scored with” or what his bank balance is, but by his will to stand up to fight for what he believes in and protect those for whom he is responsible.
Stupidity, on the other hand, misses the woods for the trees. It focuses on irrelevant minutiae, ignoring the broader patterns and strokes. In the process, it forgets right from wrong, and necessity from nice-to-have–thereby putting all at risk, in the name of its recalcitrance and false ego.
Stupidity also extends to foolhardiness. After all, it is not for nothing that they say that discretion is the better part of valour, and that there is a thin line between bravery and stupidity. It is also no coincidence that Odysseus survived the Trojan War and rescued his wife, and Achilles did not. Getting worked up into a fit of hyper-emotionalism due to some stupid movie that became fashionable (despite how it easily collapses under the scrutiny of logic) accomplishes nothing. Even worse is watching openly stupid, nonsensical movies that rot our brains (sorry Khiladi bhai, I’m a long-time fan, but you have so much more potential than this).
But the single-worst form of stupidity that plagues Indians today is pointless malice and baseless jealousy, resulting in infighting. Andhras appears to have cornered the market here too, with the recent fight to split their state. In fact, it is often said that Maharishi Viswamitra cursed his 100 sons (who became the Andhras) to suffer from fratricidal infighting…sadly, it appears the tradition continues…If you take one thing from this article, hell, even the entire blog, it’s to stop picking avoidable fights with members of your own team.
You don’t have to agree with everything they say, or can even respectfully debate with them, but for God’s sake, stop airing out such disputes publicly and tearing down someone you feel is eclipsing you. If they are older, learn from them; if they are the same age as you, admire them and compete with them (in a friendly fashion that doesn’t tear them down), or team up with them (if you can’t beat them, join them);and if they are younger than you, advise or encourage them. And if you absolutely 100% can’t get along with them, ignore them. It’s not hard guys. Indians have enough enemies, we don’t need more egotistical Jaichand’s who destroy the cause due to their own ambition and ahankar.
Indians could perhaps be forgiven for their gullibility, which time and again has been their undoing. After all, a civilization that posits truth above all, can’t be entirely faulted for believing others will keep their word or represent themselves truthfully. But what cannot be forgiven is refusing to learn from history. Time and again, the stubborn refusal to remember the lessons of the past, comes back to bite them. It’s as if Indians bask in this apoplectic amnesia. “Bhool Ja!”. But that’s not a recipe for serious people, that’s a recipe for drunks…
And for God’s sake, enough with this cine-obsession! Truly obsessed. Why do you care so much about who said what about your favourite star? Are they real life heroes who will beat up anti-nationals when they come after you? Chances are that when things get rough, they will be the first to relocate to Singapore, London, or Toronto. Same goes for politicians. After all, we all know who was partying at a farmhouse when Mumbai was under attack.
The origin of this stupidity however is the inability to focus. When the monkey mind is unrestrained, and hyper-actively driven to swing from mental vine to mental vine, it’s time to learn how to focus. In fact, Swami Vivekananda himself stated that the ability to concentrate is greater than actual knowledge. This is because the ability to focus in a disciplined fashion allows us to not only absorb knowledge, but also process it faster and better.
How to Stop being Stupid
Before we begin, please give yourself a firm slap across the face, so that you will remember the need to stop being stupid. You’ll never remember the lesson if you don’t chastise yourself for prior stupidity.
The first step for Indians to come out of their mess (to some degree self-inflicted) is to self-diagnose this stupidity and accept it.
The cure is to follow a prescription of consistent and continuing doses of our Culture. Culture—real culture, not the chest-thumping, hot air gassing “kulchhar” of buffoons—will open our eyes, discipline us, and teach us about ourselves and our history.
Why is this important? If we don’t know what happened, we don’t know where we’re from. And if we don’t know where we’re from, we don’t know where we’re going. And to do nothing about it?—well folks, that’s effectively the definition of stupidity.
Second, as explained above, learn the value of “Shut up”.
Just read the comments of an R.Sowiyal and associates in this article. Instead of engaging with the wisdom of what the writer is communicating, the bozos are referencing– in a fit of irrational sentiment–irrelevant filmy songs that have nothing to do with anything. Rather than analyzing what is being said, a continuous bout of verbal diarrhea is projected. Thus, to counter this stupidity, Indians first need to know the value of shutting up (no one does this better than the Chinese). It is not for nothing that there is a saying “Better to be thought a fool and keep silent, than to open one’s mouth and remove all doubt”. Indians are experts at removing all doubt. They need to know the value of shutting up—and where and when to do this.
What’s more, even our most celebrated strategists routinely miss severe dangers—off fighting the battles that they want to rather than the ones they need to. When this devastating propaganda campaign was launched, not one of India’s major strategists organized an immediate counter in Indian and International newspapers. It took many days for a lame-duck NSA to make a mild, half-heated rebuttal that barely scratched the surface. It fell to a naturalized Indian citizen of European background to point out the ramifications of this—not only on international perceptions but domestic perceptions as well. Thus, if Indians ever want to rid themselves of this perception of being children (yes, it’s there…) they need to first slap themselves across the face, stop being stupid, and start being serious. This means knowing when to shut up–and when not to shut up. This also leads to the third point.
Third, understand how to analyze the world and current events. Merely running around like a chicken with its head cut off won’t solve the problems of the state, country, or civilization. You have to act, but also act wisely. This means not operating on the basis of assumptions, but on the basis of reality. Understand what happened, why it’s happening, how it will affect you/your people, and think of what to do. This comes not only from studying history, but from studying our classics, like the Arthashastra and Hitopadesa. Even Sanskrit plays like Mudrarakshasa can help us better understand the interaction between countries and the games played by their leaders.
Fourth: DO!!! My God, sometimes I honestly wonder if we aren’t the laziest people in the world when it comes to doing what matters. Oh sure, they will run like the wind if there’s food, money or some other immediate incentive involved, but ask for strategic action–or even a contribution to those engaging in efforts for the public good, and a strange antipathy develops in Indians. It’s as if anyone who asks for even a modicum of help, is somehow being bossy and overbearing. The smallest request becomes an Herculean, even Sisyphean labor that immediately renders them in a state of suspended animation. Remember that being part of a society, especially a republic, means that each individual has a duty to do, and good conduct is premised on this.
Fifth, don’t just do your duty–do it properly! Of late it has become fashionable for people say that one should only be concerned about duty and not be concerned about the outcome. They even misquote Sri Krishna on this, saying this comes from him, and completely misinterpret the Mahabharata and Dharma. But this is nonsense (half our problems come from half-wits misquoting our scriptures—even to support AAP…further emphasizing stupidity as the problem of Indians) . Krishna says
Phalesu, or phalam is not outcome, but fruit. Thus, while we should be concerned about the outcome, we should not be concerned about the reward or benefits or fruits from this performance of duty. Merely mechanically doing one’s duty without aiming for victory is no way to protect Dharma. We should be concerned about this outcome (and ensure its harmony with Dharma), but if we, or even society, do not enjoy the fruits or even attain this victory, that is another matter. It is similar to studying for an exam. You have an obligation to study as best you can and hope for a good result–but your motivation should not be the new car your parents will buy if you get an “A”. Just as elders say, “if you did your best, that is all that matters”, so to should we think “I worked for the best outcome, but God will determine it and whether I receive fruits from it”…
Conclusions on Stupidity
So dear reader, understand that the best correction for stupidity is action, because stupidity doesn’t like Action, it prefers Reaction, because rather than strategizing, it is used to navel-gazing. Simply reading, talking, tweeting will accomplish nothing.
When W.Bengal is in flames, when riots are taking place from UP to Hyderabad (not to mention from Kashmir to Kanyakumari), when entire states are being undemocratically divided, and water supplies dwindling, it is time to wake the hell up and do something constructive that will change things for the better. To sit and watch as your civilization fragments due to loss of culture, loss of ethics, and a myriad of threats is not only stupidity, it is downright treachery. It is not the time to Padutha Theeyaga, but the time to act, for this is the price of lazy pleasures and brainless inaction and these are the type of dangers that lay ahead.
It is almost trite now to say Vinasha kale vipareetha buddhi, but what else can explain such unrepentant, even congenital stupidity?
No, my brothers and sisters in Dharma. No more. Enough of this thoughtless addling through life. It is time to wake up and reclaim your birthright with seriousness and strategy.
It is time to rise and break the shackles of helpless torpor. It is time to shake the gutless, knock sense into the brainless, punish the treacherous, and inspire the fearless.