When I was a little kid, my brother the locksmith (who was not the best academic student) once said regarding his report card of the day, “There are two kinds of smart. There’s book smart, and there’s smart smart.” I’m not sure why that struck me so much of the time, but it certainly was a profound statement for a 12-year-old farm kid to say.
In writing the book, “Principles of Applied Stupidity,” I was not conscious on it at the time, but I’ve gradually come to understand that I have been addressing the subconscious – and highly negative– side effects of “book smartness,” that is to say, scholarly learning.
There is a college in Italy that claims to be the first university in Europe. This is a bit of a stretch. Universities, in the form of monasteries, had existed for centuries before that. And, lacking any other model to take, the universities just adopted a slightly secularized version.
Now there’s an awful lot to be said for all the benefits of large educational institutions, but, like aspirin, penicillin, Viagra, even the best things in life have undesirable side effects. And in my view, in the average classroom (and the economic modeling that surrounds it), there is far too much emphasis on uniformity, and while that isn’t overtly stated, it is severely enforced by the power of peer pressure, and many people never recover from it. And since this element of “learning” is somewhat insidious, and not openly stated as policy, it’s very hard to have a calm open rational discussion of it.
Because these fears and sense of shame tend to work in an unmentionable background, we tend to admire people who overcome them through sheer force of will. That’s all very nice, but seems to be awfully inefficient. It’s time to graduate.
I am truly amazed at just how much the Principles of Applied Stupidity are changing my own life day after day. All sorts of embedded hesitancy is no longer there, saving energy for more important matters. I’m thrilled to be sharing this with the world. Not quite sure how this happened to pop out of my little brain, but it is quite the honor.
One of my fans is buying out my current inventory of books, and I just got some fab press in the Boston Globe, so it looks like I’m going to do the sixth printing of POAS pretty soon. The last printing of Real Men Don’t Rehearse is just about gone too– Amazing. Actually I am having a lot of amazing experiences these days, of the sky just opening up for me, and if I can ascertain that it is in fact a process of cause and effect and not just pure chance, I will try and share that magic with you in the coming days.
Also there is a rumor going around that one of my kid shows might be performed here in the Boston area. If that actually becomes a reality you can bet I will let you know.