Sunday Snippet: Edith Sitwell

“I am patient with stupidity but not with those who are proud of it.”

You can’t expect everyone to know everything. It’s just not possible and that’s why it’s perfectly acceptable if you don’t know something. However, as Dame Edith so eloquently puts it above, there is a very big difference between “stupidity” and being proud of it. Remember that stupidity and ignorance are not the same thing either.

It’s understandable to be ignorant about certain subjects. I don’t know much about quantum physics and Libyan politics. Stupidity, on the other hand, is probably better defined as the inability to understand and to learn. In other words, it describes a “lack of intellectual acuity.” People who are deemed “smart” can grasp new ideas quickly, regardless of the topic. The key is having a willingness (and ability) to learn more about whatever subject is at hand. It’s the drive to improve oneself.

No one wants to be stupid. That’s no way to live your life. That’s why you need to find that motivation to get out of the rut, gain new knowledge, and become a more rounded human being. Perhaps it is because Dame Edith Louisa Sitwell (1887 – 1964) came from a place of privilege that she has this kind of opinion on the matter.

A British poet and critic, Sitwell wrote on the artificiality of human behavior, the barbarism that lies beneath the surface, and on “contemporary backward-looking poets.” Later on, she authored a novel called I Live under a Black Sun, based on the life of Jonathan Swift, and this was published in 1937.

There’s no excuse for stupidity. You just have to care.