Razor of Stupidity
Man, I can hold grudges o.
I still remember when I was specifically not asked to attend a primary school classmate’s party back in the day, and I have not responded to her numerous outreach efforts in the last two years.
Yes, I know. I have issues.
But, I am working on it though. As in, serious serious work in progress. In the course of my personal and professional lives, there have been some folks who I genuinely believed were unfair, unnecessarily cruel, highly negligent, not cool to me…and I took names. And I memorized them all. Tattooed them all on my back.
Nowadays though, I ask myself “ah-ah, Chidi? Why you dey carry serious umbrage like that, my friend?”
As I navigate towards the twilight of my forties, there has been a lot more clarity when I consider that holding those resentments so close to heart were/are a waste of my time and peace of mind. The challenge was that I just wasn’t sure what to do with all those names and grudges that I had collected. I couldn’t just disappear them, as someone counseled me, “Chidi, you got to…let go.”
My bad…that’s a cool song from this commercial.
So. I came upon a really fine razor. Hanlon’s Razor. Hanlon’s Razor is a philosophical razor, a rule of thumb or principle that allows one to eliminate unlikely explanations for a phenomenon.
Hanlon’s Razor stipulates that “Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.” I found and adopted a much juiced-up version: “Never attribute to bad intentions, such as malice and self-interest, that which is adequately explained by other causes, such as stupidity, ignorance, carelessness, or incompetence.”
Dude. That literally flipped the script that I had written dutifully for ages. So you are telling me that my classmate was just being stupid? Ok. And my former colleague was just being ignorant, eh? That explains it. And that time that finance lady didn’t pay my consulting fees for five months?
No, that one was just wickedness galore.
Jokes aside, I now embrace the notion that misunderstanding and neglect are the culprits in many of the mischiefs we give or take more so than wickedness or malice. I said many, not all. Don’t get it twisted…wicked people aplenty. As my man Sean Connery said, never say never.
Wait…he didn’t say that, he was just in the movie. Whatever.
However, Hanlon’s Razor has been instrumental in reducing my wahala by 345%. My people gawk at me when I’m all chill and zen and not overreacting or getting amped up by BS these days—I am just a bobo who’s been deep cut by a sharp razor, helping me avoid paranoid thinking and crazy assumptions of bad behavior by bad actors, although they really could be bad behavior.
But most times, it probably is just simply stupidity. Simple dumbassery. So if I call you stupid or a mu-mu, that’s a good thing o.