CLEVERNESS AND STUPIDITY: Now you clever men, you whose talents scale the heavens, you whom the world recognizes as wise and competent men, the damnation of some and the salvation of others - see to it that you are clever enough to endorse your stupidity!
I will not hear it said of you that you have no stupidity, for such a callous accusation would surely detract from the indisputable evidence of your periodic cleverness. Genius, be it noted, is entitled to greater mistakes than ordinary men, and for no small reason has genius traditionally been conceded the benefit of the doubt.
But men of genius have often been ashamed of their stupidity, which is no small mistake. For it is stupidity which has regularly convinced them that they ought not to tarnish their reputation for cleverness with stupidity, and it is stupidity which has so often turned them against themselves. The unhappy genius, so often a man who is not sufficiently clever - to himself!
Oh, but there is a salutary lesson to be learnt from such unhappy geniuses, you clever men, a lesson that will not turn us against our stupidity. For even if we are momentarily angered by it when caught unawares, even if we imagine ourselves succumbing to its insidious influence more often than we ought, even if we do or say certain things in the heat of the argument which, on reflection, we are later ashamed of, let us at least have the gumption, you clever men, to recognize it as an indispensable component in the human condition, the very justification of our cleverness, and therefore not something that ought to be entirely eliminated for the sake of our intellectual improvement.
Alas, how many of us would actually be improved by the elimination of a component which guarantees our cleverness? Not very many, I will wager, unless, however, there are some amongst us who see cleverness in the inactivity of a motionless 'sage' sitting under the branches of a tree all day.
But we who pride ourselves on a daily activity, no matter how sedentary, can hardly expect to fare well in the world without maintaining a degree of cleverness, and a degree of cleverness, moreover, which is largely dependent, I tell you, upon the intermittent co-operation of our stupidity.
And yet, you clever men, there is something about your competent, fastidious, deliberative, methodical, sober, and shrewd dispositions which has intimated to me that you are not very willing to acknowledge your stupidity, irrespective of what the latest philosophical oracle may have to say on the subject, when, as far as you are concerned, there is very little evidence of stupidity to be found. You have grown weary of philosophical presumption, you clever men, and now you doubt whether a philosopher can still be trusted, particularly when what he says has some truth in it, and he is therefore no less in danger than anyone else of succumbing to the legitimate influences of illusion or stupidity.
Very well, I concede you the right of disputation, you sceptical men, since you have every right to believe what you consider to be of most relevance to yourselves. But it is still my firm contention that your cleverness and stupidity are interrelated, so that the one cannot exist without the other, and that, whatever you may think, you regularly succumb to stupidity without in the least being aware of the fact! Hence, you are naturally disinclined to endorse a view which seems totally contradictory to your various activities - activities you mostly take for granted, in any case.
However, whatever the final opinion of you clever men may happen to be, see to it that you are not undone, like the unhappy geniuses, by your stupidity. There is surely enough cleverness in you for that!