A while back, a very close friend of mine shared this quote on her wall that I found very interesting. It went something as follows:
….there are those who are our enemies.. there those who are wise friends.. there are those who are our stupid friends.. and finally there are those uneducated masses who need our help .. they all need different treatments and handling criteria..
the distinction is vital.. we need to focus on the uneducated masses with the help of our wise friends with out getting distracted by our enemies avoiding our stupid friends …
And, so, I ended up writing this response that my friend strongly encouraged I share on my blog, so here goes:
Great quote! Well, my take on this is that you perhaps need enemies to motivate you to excel at what you do best, because you realize you have fans (your enemies are your biggest fans). They could either be competing with you to prove to the world (or perhaps to themselves) that they’re better/smarter than you, or worse, they steal your thoughts and ideas so that they could beat out the competition with you. And then there are those who flat out hate and criticize each and everything you do and try to find flaws to degrade you publicly. And as much as I try to accept criticism, I admit it bothers me when it comes off as being very mean and as an intent to deliberately hurt me.
However, I always think that there will come a point when they will finally realize that they’re wasting their lives away, stop the hating, and finally move on to pursue things they are truly passionate about. Most people hate you because they don’t know you, or wish they had the same things or privileges you have. They are simply ungrateful, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t change. We all change with time. Though, of course, there are those who stop at no lengths to give you a bad name/reputation, but if people know you and what kind of person you are, then whatever hate/bullshit they spread becomes amusing and irrelevant.
Wise friends on the other hand enlighten, empower, and encourage you in another way (different from your enemies). These are people who inspire you to become a better person. These are people who are true intellectuals, whose words reach your soul and make you realize what your true purpose is in the world. They sort of show you the light through their words and actions, and while one may still be an amateur or not as experienced with worldly matters, it truly helps to have that guidance – a mentor to trust and rely on. And I know quite a few of those myself (not many, unfortunately), and have also been invited to serve as one too (what a great honour). Thus, I understand the responsibilities that come with it. Of course, I realize that you cannot trust nor rely on everyone, but it feels nice to know that there exist people out there that know more than you; seen more than you; read more than you; and experienced more than you. And whom you can consult and have an intellectually stimulating and enlightening conversation with, even if you never see them again.
I meet people on a daily basis, from old couples to bus drivers to fellow colleagues to random people on the street (I have a habit of asking directions when I’m lost, and I’m always intrigued with the way I get addressed by different people). And I always feel they all inspire me in different ways; it doesn’t have to be anything significant. It could just be a smile, a few exchange of words, or even just a polite gesture; they all play a vital role in my life ‘cause I have a tendency to observe more, talk less, think more, and judge less (if, at all, for judging someone or something limits me as a human being and I despise limitations of all sorts).
As for the “stupid” and “educated” friends, I’ll have to first say that there is a difference between one being ‘educated’ and one being ‘wise’. Just because someone is educated (and by educated I mean someone pursuing or having pursued a very high level of education, perhaps even beyond the bachelor’s level), doesn’t mean that they are wise or even intelligent, for that matter. They could lack analytical skills; the ability to understand/look at something through an unbiased lens; and their knowledge may also perhaps be limited to what others have spoon-fed to them (at school or even at home), without bothering to think for themselves. It makes them no different than those who are ‘stupid’ simply because they are, or perhaps even chose, to be ignorant.
It’s always important to look beyond our realms, especially our comfort zones, and start to understand the world from another perspective, another point of view, even if it contradicts our own views/beliefs. Just because someone is different or chooses to live a certain way does not necessarily make them stupid, backward, or even wrong; nor does it make the person, who is doing the judging, educated, intelligent, or even right!
And, so, to sum it up, I agree that we do, indeed, need to focus on the illiterate mass; though I think our enemies, our wise friends, and our “stupid” friends have a strong hand in pushing this forward. For one, our enemies encourage us (I am personally convinced that humans are, by nature, evil; we naturally love and seek drama in our lives; and having enemies [that admire us secretly] is like the icing on the cake). There is a great quote by Churchill that goes something like:
You have enemies? Good! That must mean that you’ve stood up for something sometime in your life.
And I agree! So, our enemies don’t necessarily distract us; they, in fact, augment the process of our wanting to help the illiterate masses. And then, of course, our wise friends are people we keep dear and close to our hearts, for they become our backbone and our rock. “Stupid” people help too, in a way, because they could perhaps become the reason as to why one would want to help educate the masses, because ignorance isn’t necessarily a bliss; it’s a curse, as it darkens our minds and blinds us from the truth.