Stop messing with my smartness!

Stop messing with my smartness!
So when my sister’s son was a little boy his dad was messing around with him in one of those ways all parents oddly enjoy and my nephew looked him dead in the eye and said, “Dad! Stop messing with my!” And it got me wondering, at what point do we all allow society and all its influences to do such a bang up job of messing with our smartness? When did we surrender our instinct in favor of other people’s ideas, influence or opinions? I am a die-hard believer in instinct and intuition. I believe our gut reaction is there for a reason so why do we consistently forfeit how something feels in favor of going with the flow, giving someone the benefit of the doubt, or just flat out ignoring the fact that something rubs us the wrong way? Are these behaviors innately bad? Definitely not. But when giving someone the “benefit of the doubt” is offered at the expense of ignoring a gut feeling or sixth sense about that person we’re placing our trust in the wrong direction. We’re choosing to trust a stranger over our own inner voice. Or perhaps we are choosing to not say or do something in a given situation because: “it’s really none of my business. What would people think? Nobody else is saying or doing anything. I don’t want to make a scene. His business card seemed professional so this must be legit.” We’ve begun to think our way through life and stopped feeling our way through it. I’ve had a couple of interactions and discussions lately that got me to wondering: “Why have we stopped trusting our animal instincts in favor of our intellect or worse still outside influences?” Are we really so evolved that we no longer need to take a radar sweep of how something sets with us? Are we better for leaning on our intelligence rather than committing to our intuition? Why have we accepted so many things as truth, or that’s just the way it is. Says who? When is the last time we sourced something out or better yet, when is the last time we trusted our gut and allowed the sound of our inner bullshit meter to lead the way. I recently had an experience with a vet who came out to suture up a wound on a horse and within short order we received what I would consider to be an outrageously ridiculous invoice from him. Now I could look at the itemization and not be able to launch an argument on any single line item since I wasn’t actually there when he looked at the horse. Or I could pay attention to the fact that aside from the ludicrously high charges, something about this just felt funny. Like we were being taken advantage of. What the vet didn’t know is that for better or for worse I’ve paid more vet bills for equine accidents in my life than I care to count and therefore have perhaps too many past experiences to draw from. Yet what I found myself mostly drawing from was the fact that something about this just didn’t feel right. It had an opportunistic vibe to it. Something like, let’s just throw this out there and see if they pay it. So at that point I have a dilemma in front of me. Pay the bill and move on, or say that I think this is horseshit, pun fully intended, and we need to talk. But option B runs the risk of involving some sort of confrontation which we are understandably loathe to engage in. Going against the grain. Standing on principle. Trusting your instinct rather than submissively going with the program takes an enormous amount of time and energy that we can ill afford to waste. We are constantly being bombarded by situations, scenarios and encounters that call for good judgment and what precisely is the origin of this thing we call judgment? I contend it is that inner sense of right and wrong. Not the knowledge of it…the sense of it. Greg recently called my attention to a speech that was written by a professor but delivered publicly many years later by Matt Damon. Within the speech the accusation is made that our problem isn’t civil disobedience, its civil obedience. We’ve waived our instincts in favor of being well behaved. We’ve allowed society, government, a peer group, a boyfriend, a girlfriend, and the media, to mess with our smartness. And the disturbing thing is we aren’t putting up much of a fight. It kinda just happens either so incrementally that we don’t notice it, or we do, in fact notice it, but lack the wherewithal to react to our inner Jiminy Cricket. So the challenge we all need to consider is disobedience. Stepping away from the flow of traffic to listen to what your gut is telling you about a person, a situation, a business, a transaction, a politician or a policy. Maybe it’s time we all risked being called a smartass in order to rescue our smartness.



Kate said

May 11, 2014

I really liked this article, thanks!

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