Like most people, i rely on Google to stay current with the latest news and events. This morning, I read an article that I initially dismissed, but upon second thought gave me pause.
The story was about comments Gwyneth Paltrow made comparing negative comments made about her on the internet to the ravages of war. This triggered a scathing response from Sergeant First Class Brian Sikes, a Green Beret. In an open letter to Paltrow, Sikes rips into the Hollywood A-Lister for being egotistical and narcissistic.
I don’t have anything against Ms. Paltrow. I would imagine that she didn’t consider the weight of her words (although someone in her position should know better). But it did cause me to ponder how people can assume that they understand or relate to something they have no way knowledge or experience with. You see it everywhere: Individuals who assume because they have read about something or seen a documentary on Netflix, they are well versed in the plight of the lower class, living with a chronic illness, or going through a divorce. Instead of divulging their ignorance and exercising humility by asking questions and becoming properly educated, people feign knowledge of the subject, to their detriment. This can go on for so long that a person will forget about the act, and being to actually believe the fantasy they’ve created: I do know that life; I understand it. The irony is that the initial reason for perpetrating was to connect with the person or thing in question, but all this behavior achieves is further distancing the two. There is no real connection achieved.
There is nothing wrong with asking a “foolish” question, or even better, admitting we don’t know or cannot relate. This is the beginning of true knowledge and understanding.