As a practicing psychologist, I have found that most of the people I've worked with did some incredibly dumb things. Many times I have felt like saying, "I am sorry that your insurance does not cover the preexisting condition of your being so stupid." Stupidity can be found in all walks of life—crooks, educators, Hollywood actors—but it is most apparent when we think we know better than God.
Dumb people can make you laugh. Two men were on trial for robbery, and the prosecuting attorney was examining the witness. He asked if the witness was at the scene when the robbery took place and if he observed the two robbers. The witness responded that he was and he did. The prosecutor then asked, "Are they present in the court today?" Before the witness could answer, the two robbers raised their hands.
Dumb and Dumber, the movie, might make you laugh, but dumb and dumber in society will eventually make you cry. How did we get so dumb? The Bible tells us that dumb people, or fools, say there is no God. We are ultimately dumb when we act as if we know more than God.
In America most of us are educated well beyond our intelligence. There are many educated fools. My graduate school professor who taught me marriage counseling was on his third marriage.
We have Hollywood fools. They have been around for quite some time. While she was enjoying a transatlantic ocean trip, Billie Burke, the famous actress, noticed that a gentleman at the next table was suffering from a bad cold. She asked him sympathetically, "Are you uncomfortable?" The man nodded. She said, "I'll tell you just what to do for it. Go back to your stateroom and drink lots of orange juice. Take two aspirins. Cover yourself with all the blankets you can find. Sweat the cold out. I know just what I'm talking about. I'm Billie Burke from Hollywood." The man smiled warmly and introduced himself in return. He said, "Thanks. I'm Dr. Mayo of the Mayo Clinic." Hollywood stars give advice on marriage although they have been married three or four times and the current marriage is only a few months old. They give advice on being healthy now that they are freshly out of rehab and often soon to return.
We must take some responsibility for our foolish world. I read that one actor pretending to be a doctor makes as much in a single episode as some physicians make in four years. In our foolish world, you can pretend to be a judge or a teacher and make ten times what a real judge or teacher makes. The Bible had only one rich fool—it seems as if we are creating them with each episode. By the way, pretending is a 4-year-old skill. They do it better than anyone. I'm not saying that actors should not make money; that's their job. Let's just have them give advice on pretending, not on real life.
Today's wisdom may become tomorrow's foolishness. The vitamin supplement that they told me to take ten years ago is now off the required list. Evidently the lab rat didn't do so well in the long term.
The reason that people keep doing dumb things is that the cost of doing them changes, or is hidden, or is seldom advertised. We can all be happy for an episode or a season of life even with some dumb decisions. Consequences sometimes take time.
Wisdom and foolishness always have results or consequences. Years ago a social worker developed a relationship with a young boy named Freddie who had twisted and deformed legs. She worked with health and charitable agencies, and doctors repaired Freddie's legs. Years later she was speaking to a group and said that she wished she could tell them that Freddie was now a doctor repairing other children's legs or that he was a teacher helping children. But no, Freddie is in a maximum-security penitentiary and will never be out of prison because of his heinous crimes. She paused and said, "You see, medical science can help a young boy to walk, but only God can help him walk in the right direction."
Our society moves at incredible speeds spending enormous amounts of money on education and research. As history looks back on America, I pray that it is not said that that we were rich fools walking in the wrong direction.
Charles Lowery is a member of First Baptist Church, Bossier City, Louisiana, founder and president of Lowery Institute for Excellence, and speaks full‑time. You may contact Lowery Institute at 940.686.0738 or www.CharlesLowery.com.