Interchanging wisdom with stupidity

In the middle of the Garden of Eden there existed two parabolic trees. One was the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and the other, the tree of life. This implies that Adam had a beneficial alternative between the two dichotomous trees. Stupidity can be defined as the adoption of the assumption rather than the authenticity. Wisdom is defined as the adoption of authenticity, instead of the assumption.

Wisdom and foolishness serve as dichotomies of consideration. Before jumping into a millpond, a foolish person plunges without precautionary measures. His reasoning would be based on unverified information, rather than the tested pivotally authentic information. Out of such carelessness, his physical body becomes a providential festivity for the crocodiles.

However, a wise person takes calculated risks before venturing into unknown territories. Unlike his opposite number, providing crocodiles with a welcome feast, a wise person cannot plunge into a millpond without sufficient information. This serves as an illustration of how stupidity applies in all sectors of human life. Daily manifestations are premised on the applications of the two dichotomies.

When considering the behaviour of college students, the above-exposed dichotomous applications can be easily observed. Ordinarily, students are categorized according to those said to be bright, when compared with those said to be dull. However, while true that some learners are faster when compared to slow learners, fastness and slowness do not always determine aptitude. There can only be careful students on one hand and careless students on the other.

Carelessness exists among slow learners just as it exists among fast learners. Mistaking fastness and slowness for carefulness and carelessness is another sign of a lack of spiritually discerned wisdom. The time factor is a physically manufactured phenomenon; hence Godliness repulses many people. Shortsightedness is a product of a consideration of the time factor.

To understand study materials, a careful student takes time to check the meaning of words. He verifies the significance of those words, before assimilating the information being studied. That enables him to apply what is taught, thereby making him successful. A careless student assumes to understand without taking time to check the meaning of those words.

A careless student is characterized by his inability to apply the material being taught. From the two students, it can be observed that careful students are wiser, while careless students are characteristic of those lacking wisdom. These are simplicities but axiomatically adopted in ordinary life situations, including pivotal matters that are descriptive of Christianity.

The environment is laden with the products of human activities, whether heavily weighted towards stupidity or wisdom. The more stupid, the latitude of individuals, the more exposed to suffering, ordinary humans would be. The more wise individuals are granted the survival latitude, the less exposed to suffering ordinary people would be. When enjoining actions of future generations, one observes a failed nation, due to the adoption of stupidity, rather than wisdom.

Wise people are futuristic, while stupid people are both backward and inward-looking, without entertaining futuristic considerations. The only reason stupidity is attractive is its appeal for immediate benefits, while wisdom suggests investing for the future. The person cancels reasoning when aiming for immediate benefits. When the deceiver suggested immediate benefits to Adam and Eve, the aspect of reasoning was cancelled.

The scanty information about the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil was considered appealing for immediate adoption. The couple conveniently forgot about God’s counsel. All knowledge originates from the source. With the advent of AI, ordinary people have been abused immensely, with falsified information. In our current predictive political environment, in Zimbabwe, doctored information has created narratives that have often passed for reality.

There is nothing wrong with keeping oneself abreast of political developments. However, a careful person is aware that information in a polarized country, such as Zimbabwe, requires evaluation. This is where the consideration of applying truthful information is required most. The peddlers of falsehoods take advantage of people who are prone to acquiring false data rather than factual information. Safety is found in the ability to detect truth from error.

While wisdom and stupidity are dichotomous, they are not, necessarily, extreme opposites, when physically observed. They lie in between negative and positive so that the more positive one is the safer he becomes. The more negative, the person becomes, the more exposed he would be. Good decisions come by considering the greatest good to the majority, rather than the greatest good to the minority.

All matters of wisdom are considered, based on supporting the greatest good to the majority, rather than the greatest good to the minority. The aspect of the minority is premised on the philosophy of self-centeredness, while the benefits of the majority are premised on altruism. Anything described as signifying stupidity emanates from the behaviour of the couple, at the Garden of Eden.

“Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord god had made. He said to the woman, “Did God say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die,” “You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it” (Genesis 3:1-6 NIV).

The above passage provides a graphic description of how stupidity entered the livingness of humanity. From that moment onwards, humanity created in God’s image, unwittingly became God’s enemy. When considering the established datum that truth comes from the sources, the question arises: Was there any reason for the couple to base information on the serpent? That incident describes the source of stupidity, which is a mixture of goodness and evilness and not necessarily an outright condition of evilness.

The Bible describes Satan, as appearing to be an Angel of light. Although leading to darkness, Satan provides the information that appears good and acceptable to the physical eyes. Deception is unavoidable until one considers the aspect of origination. The test of the usefulness of any product can be authenticated by verifying the author’s credentials. Anything appearing as valuable cannot be useful unless it comes from an established authentic source.

The commonest treachery in our environment is that of assuming that truthful information comes from the majority. This does not necessarily mean that everything from the majority would always be false. But it is not always true that everything coming from the majority would be true.  It takes a wise person to know that truthful information comes from the source.

A thousand people could attest to having witnessed an incident, affirming that someone died of a snake bite, for instance. Only one person could provide a different version stating that the person died after committing suicide. No one would pay attention to a loner. What would be confirmed by the majority always takes precedence. This describes how insane and gullible humanity has become.

The loner could be the only one with truthful information. This does not suggest that loners should always be listened to, ahead of the majority. Truth is possible only after verifying it from the source. In the Garden of Eden story, the snake and the woman comprised the majority, to sufficiently overwhelm Adam. When considering the majority idea principle, Adam had to acquiesce.

Adam knew of the source but may have had no certainty of God being the actual foundation. Consider the hundreds of millions of people claiming to believe in Jesus and compare that with the written messages of Jesus. What is it about Jesus that those people would be claiming to believe in? Is it about His physical appearance or His character? It is not difficult for a good analyst to observe a highly deceived bunch of dimwits.

Truth comes from the source. A loner is often dismissed and may also be discouraged, as to eventually renounce his conviction. It is very easy for a loner to be overwhelmed when considering the comfort that comes with agreeing with the majority. Similarly to Adam’s case, the majority of Christians cannot be absolved from the consequences of succumbing to treachery.

Adam attempted to blame his wife, after being confronted, but God could not entertain that nonsense. As long as one maintains the idea of taking information from the source, one is counted as immune from treachery. There is no other way of describing stupidity, except the inability to know that all truths come from sources.

This world is overloaded with many religions. However, Christianity is the only one that carries legitimacy, when considering the authenticity of Jesus’ resurrection. There is no other way of understanding the principle of life, except taking it from the person who rose from death. The Christian Bible is authentic about human life, to those focused on the source.

When unaware of the futility of obtaining information from unverified sources, one is susceptible to deception. This world carries only two sources of information. The first may be quite attractive but commonly unverified. The second one does not appeal, but it is the only one that is credible, as leading to life. It takes careful observers to obtain understanding before indulging in unverified information.

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life and only a few find it. Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit, you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles?” Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit” (Matthew 7:13-18 NIV).

The wide gate is attractive but manifests the same pattern that led Adam and Eve to fall into it. It gives the impression that one would benefit from it when the opposite is true. The figurative fruits determining whether the effects would be good or bad are not, necessarily beneficial to the self. Jesus was looking at the quality of those who move away from sinful behaviour to adopt altruism.

Sinfulness is synonymous with self-centeredness, while righteousness is synonymous with altruism. The effects of righteousness are not necessarily beneficial to individuals, but experienced by those to whom benefit is extended. This is different from the sentimental ecstasy displayed in some prayer meetings. The effects of righteousness are experienced by those whose lives are changed from badness to goodness. Such people become effective in making the environment more pleasant and livable.

Popularity does not necessarily describe fruitfulness, achievable only in a peaceful and prosperous environment. One is far from being fruitful, as long as the environment under which one lives is unsafe and full of criminals. The endemic Corruption in our environment can be another sign that Christianity has not been effective in Zimbabwe.

Christians are observed as actually leading in corrupt activities. They may not be holding government positions, but sustaining corruptible activities in government. This portrays the unfavourable fruit that Jesus referred to. They misrepresent Jesus, by advancing issues of prosperity and healing, which are worldly, rather than advancing God’s Kingdom.

The advice of Jesus is to seek first God’s Kingdom, before clamouring for prosperity in this world (Matthew 6:33). However, the deceivers’ advice is that of highlighting worldly prosperity, before obtaining God’s Kingdom. To them, God’s Kingdom comprises the richness of this world. They represent Satan who, during his episode of tempting Jesus in the wilderness, uttered similar words (Matthew 4:8-9). Satan is the controller of worldly wealth and kingdoms. But wisdom lies in discerning who would be the ultimate beneficiary.

The key lies in appreciating that what benefits the self, at the expense of the majority, describes sinfulness. What benefits the majority, at the expense of the self, represents God’s righteousness. Reading the Bible from Genesis to Revelation does not describe righteousness. However, applying altruism is the only principle that is transformative for God’s children.

Andrew Masuku is the author of Dimensions of a New Civilization, laying down standards for uplifting Zimbabwe from the current state of economic depression into a model for other nations worldwide. A decaying tree provides an opportunity for a blossoming sprout. Written from a Christian perspective, the book is a product of inspiration, bringing relief to those who have witnessed the strings of unworkable solutions––leading to the current economic and social decay. Most Zimbabweans should find the book as a long-awaited providential oasis of hope, in a simple conversational tone.

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