I came across a quote by Bertrand Russell on Facebook the other day. It read: ’The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt.’
And I immediately thought: are you certain?
See, I agree with Bertrand Russell – and the person who posted the quote – one hundred percent. But the problem is that the validity of this argument hinges on what the argument itself defines as a symptom of stupidity.
In other words, unless spoken meekly, the quote undermines itself. And if spoken meekly, it doesn’t sound valid.
So, with all due respect, I lean forward and add something to it:
‘The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt … except when identifying the difference between the two. Then the intelligent are cocksure, while the stupid remain stupid.’
To be fair, the person who posted Russell’s quote on Facebook is not an idiot. On the contrary, he is without a doubt one of the smartest individuals I know.
Did I mention that logic can tie people in knots?
PS – More on the above: ‘Intelligent words are more resilient than stupid remarks, delivering their message well after the stupid who shunned them pass away.’ It doesn’t have the same ring to it as Russell’s quote, but here it is, for what it’s worth.