One might say this is a pretty pessimistic view of people in general and another question is why I was a minister would support this rule from a guy who wrote fantasy books. Terry Goodkind and his Wizard’s Rules impressed me in their quick way of getting to human nature and laying it out there plainly and bluntly. I like someone who can take a concept and put it into a simple statement and “People are Stupid” shocks you and yet catches your attention because you know in you heart it is true. I have tried to put this idea into other terms or phraseology but it never has the force of “People are stupid.”
The reason this falls under a point of wisdom and not a principle in the Book of Rabyd is that it is about coming to an understanding of the world and not a hard and fast rule that always is true. You will note Terry did not say ALL. His assumption is that by understanding this rule you can rise above it yourself. First you understand it for yourself that you yourself are stupid. Once you get this idea that you are stupid and need analyze your own thinking and beliefs for whether or not they are true, then you are very much on the path to understanding yourself and others better. Stupidity is part of being a sinner and once you get that part, the rest of the wisdom that flows from this foundation becomes easier to swallow. Truth is found in understanding that even you can be subject to stupidity and that means re-thinking things regularly to make sure you are basing your understandings on the truth and not just what you want to be the truth.
As a leader and minister I have taken value form understanding a similar Biblical concept – the fact that God calls us sheep. Sheep are stupid. It is their most prevalent quality. To equate people to sheep is to say the same of them. It means people do require guidance to the truth or revelation by God most times. It also means you cannot handle or approach people with the idea that they have reasoned things out well or have knowledge. I assume ignorance not knowledge. I assume stupidity not intelligence. This may seem harsh but it translates to kindness, patience and forgiveness because of this understanding. When you assume knowledge and intelligence you will find yourself far more frustrated and angry with yourself and others.
As a preacher, I have had to think on this rule many times. When you preach you are trying to motivate people but at the same time it is unethical to take advantage of people’s stupidity to motivate them for your own ends. This requires me to find simple and yet truthful ways to motivate people and that means far more thinking on my part. To take advantage of someone’s stupidity is unloving and a violation of the command to love our neighbor as ourselves. Knowing this and “People are Stupid” allows me to keep the temptation to take advantage of stupidity in check. At the same time I learn to communicate differently to get what I am trying to say across in the simplest of possible terms.
I do not follow all of Terry Goodkind’s rules (actually I oppose a couple of them) but many of them put succinctly what many of my ways of putting things took a couple of sentences. I like that so as principles are laid out you will see them from time to time with my own thoughts on how to understand them.