Monday, January 24, 2022

To show or not to show?

 Oliyarmun olliyar aadhal veliyarmun vaansudhai vannam kolal - Thirukkural

Display your wisdom in the company of the wise; with fools, be as blank as white plaster - Loose Translation

Aha! I think I can do that second thing rather readily. To appear as blank as white plaster - to appear ignorant, in other words - to the fools. I mean, to seem ignorant, to anyone, is child's play to me. I would not even need to put on any act. It is that other thing that's tough. Display wisdom in the company of the wise? Where do I go for wisdom?

For once, though, there is something that Tiru says which has been said by a lot of people. Though, perhaps, if one dated all these things Tiru could, possibly, claim plagiarism. Unless, of course, he chooses to imitate 'white plaster' by applying his own advice.

You know, there is this rather pithy saying, "Never argue with fools. They will drag you down to their own level and beat you because of greater experience" or some such. That's about what Tiru is also saying. Though he says something about displaying wisdom in the presence of the wise which we will ignore on the grounds that to display something you need to have it in the first place.

Though, perhaps, Tiru is going one step further with his advice. He is not merely saying that you should not engage in arguments with fools. He is saying that you should appear ignorant to them. Which essentially means that you do not even engage in any meaningful conversation with them. That way there is not even a possibility of any argument starting.

What price 'picking your words to suit your audience', you ask? Tiru apparently believes that, comes to fools, the only useful word is the hum of silences...if silence indeed hums! To be sure, he has his own definition of fools. Ignorance does not qualify someone as a fool, opinionated ignorance does. And when idiocy is coupled with certainty, it can drive the wise mad.

The problem with Tiru is that he assumes that you will always know who you are dealing with. That sort of blessed certainty comes from the more innocent times he lived in.

How on Earth am I supposed to know who is reading me on Facebook or Twitter? But, then, why am I worrying? THAT's the problem of the wise.

Ignorance IS bliss!

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