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Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes
Might not the Pupil Know More?,
plate 37 from Los Caprichos


"Acceptance speaks loudest of all."

What better demonstrates cluelessness than KnowingBetter? I suspect that it's not the knowing that contributes to the sense of cluelessness but the bettering. KnowingBetter seems to set up a sort of competition, a one-up, which quickly sours any encounter. The intended betterment encourages a kind of resentment from the one being bettered at or from the one being battered by the attempted betterment, for no one ever achieves the objective of demonstrating that they KnowBetter. They achieve, at best, a tentative nomination for inclusion in the Asshole Hall Of Infamy instead, for turning what might have been a collegial sharing of knowledge into a pissing contest.

I've noticed that I feel brighter when in the presence of a genuinely intelligent person.
Their intelligence seems to infect me, too, and we both feel better for it. When in the company of the merely knowledgable, I often catch on that I've been cast in the role of the stupid one, and neither of us is better for that. The merely knowledgeable mechanic leaves me feeling inept. The merely knowledgeable store clerk leaves me feeling lost. The merely knowledgable salesperson leaves me feeling as if I'd been taken mean advantage of. In each case, my interests seemed ground up in the far greater need of the knowledgeable one, whose very existence seemed contingent upon proving me to be a sort of stupid as if I could never learn.

Successful relationships seem built upon each party stepping back and down. Attempted dominion detracts from whatever might attract two individuals into collaboration, neither demonstrating any deep need to show off or show up the other. This back-down presence indicates a soothing self-confidence, while the in-up feels like the sort of in-your-face-ness that wounded self-esteem insists upon. When my wellness depends upon diagnosing another as inferior, I demonstrate my wound more than my superiority, no matter how powerfully demeaning I might seem to others. Whenever I'm KnowingBetter, I seem to be displaying my worst.

I can know plenty without rubbing anyone else's nose in my knowledge. I can recognize inexperience in another without rubbing their nose in that, either. KnowingBetter seems like an absence of acceptance of the way things are. Ten thousand other metrics exist for comparing one to another, knowledge never being the particularly defining one. I might think you're stupid, but my attempts at proving your stupidity to you probably make me seem stupider to you than you even seem to me. Knowledge seems a fickle possession, one poorly suited to public demonstration. Actions speak louder. Acceptance speaks loudest of all.

©2018 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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