In praise of stupidity

In praise of stupidity.  Stupidity is not always to be looked down upon, even by philosophers, perhaps especially by philosophers if they want to leave no stone unturned, if they truly want to be lovers of the plural and ever-multiplying manifestations of human and other things.  Sometimes it is precisely stupidity that carries with it a certain attractiveness: from the naive to the boastful, to the crude to the outright ignorant, even the intentionally ignorant, even the viciously ignorant, they can challenge us and seduce us to think differently about the world.  There can be a certain flair in the dumb-charging or dumb-sitting face of stupidity, something of life at any cost, something blunt but daring, some ever-present or ever-potential turning of the tables which is beautiful for its subtlety or its rashness, its long and invisible development or its extremity.  While the face of those in the know, those with insight, even the highest insight: are not these faces even duller, even more jaded–uglier–than those faces that face us with nothing of our ingenuity, nothing of the fulfillment of our expectations for seeing the prize of human insightfulness or of wisdom in things win out, in the end, over any bouts of cackling incomprehension?  It seems that if we philosophers want to preserve anything of our beauty, we must preserve at least a modicum of that stupidity, already so ineliminable, so devastating in its persistence, that only trait of ours with which, despite all of our mindless sureties, we cannot be so sure of ourselves, of the stability of our reasonings, our schemes of knowledge, our institutions and our practices, but which calls all these into question, but precisely not with questions, but with a blank stare–a stare with a blankness of so much more possibility than the stare of mere knowledge, of wisdom alone–a shrug, a shaking of the head, a laughter that throws everything into disarray.

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