- Kindness over intelligence
A quick check for it on my electronic dictionary displays a variety of synonyms. These three nouns catch my sight: warm-heartedness, compassion, selflessness. What does kindness mean to you? To me, it encompasses that special something that supposedly places us above all the other species. Humanity. But there are quadrupeds whose behaviour is more humanitarian than many people’s. Reward system, stimulating feedback based? Not all the time, and if so, it mostly applies to people too. Even in such conditioned conditions, most pets’ unflinching loyalty is irreproachable. Human beings’ kindness, whether is ego-feeding intended (so expectative) or not, is nevertheless superior. As capability, as utility, as productivity. Yet so scarce and, it seems, increasingly rarer. How does it manifest? Real kindness? Beyond words yet through them. Through facts yet beyond them. A gesture, a smile or a grimace, an eye-to-eye connection.
Imagine being stuck, midsummer, in a bus full of gloomy figures, all immersed in their own preocuppations, sweat and rushed attitudes. Awaiting at the traffic lights. Beyond the dusty glass of the side window, an apparition. An old lady in medieval attire; large white shirt tightened on her gaunt frame by a shiny embroidered vest, and multicolored long skirt. Her bouffant hair untidy and brown as raw chestnuts, her smile suggestive of carefree madness. The crucial and memorable gesture? Her face all smiles facing the vintage vehicle fully packed with morose and self-involved creatures, her hands outstretched as if to engulf us in an encompassing embrace. Then, her dance movements as if along a straight sidewalk line, without ever stopping from smiling and invisibly calling us in her arms. I laughed, crazily laughed, and was on the point of asking the driver to open the door and let me get off and really hug her, when the bus retook its swinging pace. That woman’s small act to me is kindness…aware or not, but never mimed generosity, unconditioned by incentives or demands.
What captures my attention from the few synonymous words for it flowing on the tiny screen: brainpower, wit, discernment. I have long assumed that intelligence is what prevents a human being from falling into malicious traps of preconceptions, greediness, wrong choices, egocentrism, infidelity, corruption, boredom, and the list can go on. Also, that it is the driving force that blooms creativity, innovation and positive advancement. And I was right….for a somewhat considerable proportion of the people who possess it, and for a decent fraction of the enumerated things. But, I have come to realize that intelligence’s beneficial fruition doesn’t depend at all on itself. Smart people can be selfish, duplicitary and judgemental too, even to a more detrimental extent, as their astuteness is undeniably a form of power that can assure their influence on ignorants and their survival in critical, life threatening situations. (Well, at least of natural sort, where the rule “not the strongest, but the fittest -mentally as to elaborate solutions, not physically of course…no matter how robust one can be, if they are dumb enough to camp in an open area that’s the teritorry of some big felines, say, their solidity will only burden their running…attempt!- survives“.) But the thing about intelligent people is that they are less likely to be uncovered and directly exhibit as such, so that could make them more dangerous or inoffensive. Yet, considering the fools’ increasing expansion, you might assume that they don’t constitute a real threat. But they mostly could.
However, bright people are the ones capable to discern the good, bad and nuances between, and not let themselves guided by media-driven mentality, obtuse education and defective environments. Therefore, they are more in charge of their choices. (So, even if judging you, for example, which they do too, they avoid passing verdicts and giving sentences too). And as consciousness seems to be related to reasoning, it is quite pertinent to assume that its voice does resound inside brainy people. And isn’t consciousness mostly kindness? It is the vibrating echo that stings you when you’re about to make a mistake, the one that makes your limbs shake with dread as you make it, the one that stabs you with pangs of remorse after you make it. Thus, kindness to intelligent creatures (seems to me) is mostly a matter of deliberate choice.
Conclusively, I truly don’t want to come across as hypocrite after having stated, clearly and eloquently, my suffrage above, but I so far have noticed that:
a) kindness is more valuable than intelligence;
b) some fools can be kind;
c) some intelligent people aren’t kind;
d) most kind people are also intelligent;
e) kindness is a personal choice depending mostly on consciousness, and the voice of the latter is clearly present in the clever and vaguely absent in the stupid.