He possessed an unassuming esoteric-like wisdom, not uncommon among the elders of his people, as I’ve come to learn, or those who are some level of tuned up every day of their adult life while never flaking on a commitment or missing a day of work.
He used to say in his soft Scottish brogue, “If people can’t blind you with their brilliance, they will try to baffle you with their bullshit.” I had heard different variations of the saying before but he would always add, “the problem is people are daft so all they know is bullshit … you just have to decide whether to call them on it.” Then he would pause and lean back his chair, take a swig off his drink while he chuckled to himself saying, “Oh my, people don’t like it when you do that … but it’s good for them, lad.”
I think he was bothered by the overly accepting and unnecessarily polite-minded culture he found on this side of the pond. When people would say they didn’t want to be disagreeable, judgmental or rude he would argue it wasn’t that they didn’t want to be that way, it was that they didn’t want other people to see them that way.
In his opinion people are predisposed to being judgmental, and it’s an integral part of the human condition … it’s how we separate ourselves and how we decide who will be the doctors, the soldiers, the politicians and the ditch diggers. By not embracing our inner judge we allow a culture where dumb people with dumb ideas are allowed to think there’s nothing wrong with them … I’m guessing my grandfather felt like we’d be doing those folks, and everyone else, a favor if we at least planted the seed that what they thought, said or did was total bullshit.
I’m not sure how I felt about it when I was younger. I believed him but I probably didn’t agree with the gravity of his prognosis or where it might lead us … I’m taking a closer look at it these days, though. It’s hard to say if it’s always been like this or it just seems more prevalent due to my age and the transparency created by the inter-webs but seems to me dumb people are doing and saying things they ought not to … the alarming thing is how many are in positions of power and influence. Those people should be called out as often as possible.
I’m not prescribing we pass judgement from an ivory tower as though we have no faults or our own … I’m just saying if someone wants to say something stupid, it’s naive to think no one should call them on it. Likewise if someone thinks what they’re doing is okay when it’s not, how are we helping anyone by not saying something because we don’t want to seem judgmental … the moment you think that guy jawing into his cellphone at the table next to you is an asshole, the judging has already happened without you having to say a word – you’d be doing him and the couple at table next to him a favor by bring awareness to the situation.