Naive Fools, Courageous Clowns, and Sincerely Hysterical Cowards

All humans begin completely naive. They believe what they are told- like about Santa Claus or US history or the idea of a living parasitic demon called cancer that can possess people and kill them.

As for the idea that there is a way to completely “cure” all naïveté, that may also be naive. Presumptions (and expectations) are part of cognitive functioning. Yes, they can lead to disappointment and so on- and eventually will- but that is only a problem for someone who is so unstable (such as economically unstable) that all expression of disappointment is deemed to be “life-threatening.”

We begin as naive fools. Then, some of us may notice that and so then try to fool other naive people in to believing that they are not ever naive (and maybe even never were).

In fact, we can get quite terrified that others may notice that we are naive, because then they might take advantage of us. We throw tantrums about other people’s naïveté. We could call those tantrums “hysteria” (Or even terror or shame or distress or panic or cowardice)… in contrast with the relaxed naïveté of the newborn or infant.

Finally, there is a stage of courage about the simple fact of naïveté. We can be attentive, but we can never cure humanity of naïveté, and any individual that can recognize patterns can on occasion be tricked (fooled, presumptively mistaken). We can be imprecise- but that is distinct from being so hysterically terrified that we construct sincere pretenses in order to attempt to deny any naïveté (or to distract from our own by pointing at someone else’s).

Note that it is also hysterical to say “I should have never been naive so how can I prevent all naivete in the future? It may be possible to withdraw from possible dangers toward safety- like turning off the TV or moving away from “the old gang.”

With courage, we can admit the simple reality of naïveté and admit our fears about being taken advantage of (plus our preferences for safety and prosperity and so on). While arrogant cowards are chanting their slogans about “saving the world from fear,” the courageous know that the cowards are simply avoiding their own shame about their own naïveté. They are distracting themselves from logic with their mantras of idealism.

With courage, we can be attentive to the contrasting possibilities of naïveté and prudence. We can be responsible for focusing on prudence and being cautious of naïveté.


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