Knowledge vs. Knowledge

     I have this relative that calls me up every so often to tell me I’m a moron and that he’s smarter than me. To be fair, he only loses it if I either suggest he go to treatment or don’t agree that he’s a victim. But let’s help him out a bit by defining what smart means. From Merriam WebsterSMART (adjective): very good at learning or thinking about things. Showing intelligence or good judgment.

     So a middle-aged, depressed and lazy alcoholic with no job, no relationship, no emotional stability, no mental stability and no psychological stability who lives off his Dad and still blames everything and everyone but himself for his feelings, thoughts, circumstances, life and addiction is super smart? I don’t know, man. I guess we have two different ideas of what smart is.

     As far as I’m concerned, you can memorize as much shit as you want and still be a total dumbass. I got straight As my entire life and was an utter failure and an utter loser, not to mention a selfish, self-seeking piece of garbage. What good is it to have an IQ but have the emotional sophistication of a narcissistic, immature teenager? I think we need to redefine what it means to be smart. The guys I know who can barely spell or complete a sentence but who are stable, secure, recovered, doing right and helping others are considerably smarter than any Ivy League train wreck.

     Knowledge has two meanings today, and they couldn’t be further apart from one another. For sure, knowledge and understanding gained from life experience is quite different than knowledge gained from the classroom.

     True knowledge is what happens when we face life’s challenges, figure out how to solve them, and make decisions on our own. True knowledge is gained when we learn how to sustain ourselves instead of depending on mommy or daddy to bail us out. True knowledge is gained when we have the courage and the guts to face ourselves, our fear, our depression and our addiction, when we conquer them through hard work and sacrifice instead of popping more pills. True knowledge is what happens when we stop whining and complaining and worrying about spending two or three weeks of our entire lives going away to treatment. We acquire knowledge and wisdom by fighting to get better and pushing relentlessly until we are free, responsible, capable and independent adults.

     So let us look at ourselves and what we are made of scathingly and honestly. Jump in, step out of our comfort zones, take rigorous action, help others, give speeches, cultivate relationships, work hard, try new things, start a family, give back, improve ourselves, meditate regularly, exercise, whatever it takes. Let’s engage in repeated action until we recover, and then we will know what it means to be smart, dear relative.

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