The Wise, the Fool, and the Idiot

People generally like to put others in one of three personality categories: wise, fool, or idiot. Socrates said, “the unexamined life is not worth living.”  So, I like to reflect on the things I do at times; sometimes I feel wise when I do. A few days later, I am hitting myself in the head and shouting, what a fool I was! Another few days, I downgrade my self-indictment from fool to idiot. Like the first time I bought a house, the realtor told me the price and I said, I’ll take it. I just didn’t know you could negotiate the price. Well, that’s a long time ago. All of us at one time or another fit in all three categories. Alternately of course, because you can’t be wise, fool and idiot at the same time. I often wonder if these three categories really mix? Let’s take a look at them.

Now, we know that a fool is not an idiot. A fool is one with knowledge, but fails to use that knowledge appropriately. Have you ever been dumb-founded how professed smart people do unimaginable stupid things? Be kind because at times that person is not the person spoken to or the person spoken about but the person speaking.

The Bible calls some people fools. For example, “the fool has said in his heart there is no God” (Ps.14:1).  Why is this person called, a fool? I’ll tell you why. If a person with a third grade education looked at the new World Trade Centers here in NYC, and without humor said, they came into being by themselves. What would you think? What if he is a college professor? Now, what would you call him?

Now, an idiot is not a fool. An idiot is one that does not have the capacity for knowledge. He can be excused for saying, the structures spontaneously came to be. He doesn’t know better. Everybody else knows that the structures did not build themselves.

The word, wise, explains itself. The wise looks at the majesty of the structure and is awe-struck by its grandeur, and the genus of the builder (Ps.19:1-3). The fool sees grandeur and majesty but no builder, no agency, no transcendence. None of this matters to the idiot; he does not have the capacity to appreciate any of this.

Author:Michael Dewar

Published by The Dwelling Place

I am, Michael Dewar, author and director of Dwelling Place and the chief writer. Professionally, I am pastor, Bible teacher, mentor in the spiritual life, a specialist and consultant in church and family conflicts. I also have a background in Social Work (LMSW) and mental healtn.

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