Remember You Are Top Of The Class

Remember the popular adage –

“There is no such thing as a stupid question!”


“The only stupid question is the one you don’t ask”

1.) Well, yes, actually, there is.
2.) And no, it isn’t. There are plenty of dumb questions it is possible to ask.

Logical fallacies.

Let’s talk about thinking and the power of rational thought.

We do a great disservice to our own intellectual integrity by constantly doubting our own intelligence and inner ‘know-how’. And yet we are always being encouraged to ask stupid questions. We are constantly encouraged to doubt our own know-how. By the media. By the internet. By online video forums. By self-styled experts. By Government advisory boards. By healthcare professionals. Their two-way communication mantra seems to be: “Come on, ask us some daft questions! We are here to answer them all!”

I just returned from an NHS advisory session about parenting and baby care which I was told to attend – a real point in case. During the session, we were encouraged to ask as many questions as possible, no matter how ad-hoc or silly-sounding. This resulted in the following format:

NHS Healthcare Professional: It really varies between each child. However we recommend…
Parent: OK, wait a minute, I have a silly question. What about this scenario?
NHS Healthcare Professional: Well, hmm, it really depends on each individual what you decide to do. However we recommend…
Parent: I have another silly question. What about sleep? You don’t know me, but how often should my baby … sleep / eat / cry / wake up?
NHS Healthcare Professional: It really varies between each child. Advice is always changing. However they currently say that…
Parent: Should I feed my child sweeties, even though the sugar in them rots teeth and causes addiction and obesity?
NHS Healthcare Professional: Hmm, well… it’s up to you as the individual. However we recommend…

Come on guys! So what you’re saying, essentially, is that there IS no right or wrong (none you can tell us anyway), no absolute definitive answers, and that what works for one person won’t necessarily work for the next. Complete randomness and empirical common sense, in other words.

The questions became sillier and sillier to the point where previously rational people were asking:
Parent: Can I feed my baby even while he’s asleep?
Parent: Can I leave my baby overnight to fend for himself and find his own food?
Parent: Can I feed my baby mould?
Parent: Can you tell me on what precise day of this year will my baby finally stop crying?

Seriously? What has happened to people’s confidence in their own common sense? It was like watching natural parenting confidence in reverse: a slow deterioration in sanity and parting with natural good sense to the point where the stupidest questions were being aired and listened to, and answered, completely straight-faced.

The answer to this of course is that dumbing down and provision of official advisory boards have effectively killed off our common sense.

I used to come away from every single session at the NHS or every doctor’s appointment with a strong sense of disappointment and “WHAT IS THE POINT?”
I used to get frustrated by their lack of real advice and conviction – tailored for ME.
It was always ‘minimum standard’ stuff – official Government regulations and official Government health advice. They didn’t want to show me future health possibilities, they just wanted to say, “Yeah, you pass all our tests. You’re doing fine. What are you worried about?”

I always came away with the feeling that I had been short-changed, that I had just wasted my time, that I could’ve found more tailored advice on the internet, and that I wanted to kick something. Until one day my husband explained it to me.

“Look,” he said, “The thing is, the NHS is not really for people like you. It’s for people who are too stupid to read for themselves or to find out things on the internet for themselves, for people who are too lazy to bother about their own health, and expect the Government to look after them FOR them. The NHS is really only a service for people that are less well-off than you, less smart, less bright, less motivated, less able to figure things out for themselves. It’s a bit like at school, remember? – when you were one of the brightest kids in the class – the teacher wasn’t really there to help YOU; they were there to provide support for the needier, less able ones. You were deemed to be clever and smart and conscientious enough to look after yourself; to learn for yourself. The teachers were really just there for those that needed more help. Yeah well, that’s what the NHS is for. You know, you shouldn’t really expect so much from it.”

Hmm, he had a point, I suppose. The reality of it is that the NHS (apart from in the case of life-threatening emergencies) is like a ‘bare minimum’ standard of health for those people that cannot look after themselves, that do not know how to feed or exercise themselves properly, who do not know what fruit and vegetables look like, or who can’t be trusted. In its proactive health remit, it seems to exist purely for obese smokers with heart and lung disease – everyone fitter than this will just feel sorely let down and patronised. The NHS Government health advice is for people to eat 5 portions of fruit and veg a day, and to move for 30 minutes a day. Hmm. I suppose this might be acceptable as a ‘MINIMUM‘ standard of health (i.e. not dead) – but the point is, it certainly isn’t good enough for those that want an ‘above average’ quality of living, who want an exceptional level of internal health and fitness – who want to feel amazing!

It’s the same with Employment. I went to various Government-funded careers advisors in the past and was told by self-appointed ‘experts’ and ‘advisors’ simply, “Look up this database of recruitment agencies on the internet,” and “Send emails to 10 companies a day off that list with your re-written CV”. Radical. Yep, I could’ve figured all that out for myself. Waste of time. Insult to intelligence. It did not inspire me. This might get me a wage, but it wasn’t going to help me feel amazing. Truth be told, I’m only going to be here once – I want to feel amazing! I came to the conclusion there was something very wrong about Government-sponsored advice agencies.

We should not therefore always look to ‘official advice’ – which, by its very egalitarian nature, caters for the mass (and dumbest) market.

Some thoughts therefore about proactive investigation and thinking things through for yourself:

  • Weren’t you always at the top of the class?
  • Weren’t you able to go beyond the course textbook to find things out for yourself, by self-motivated reading in the library?
  • Weren’t you proud to be smart, to be the best, to have self-confidence and empowerment through knowledge?
  • Weren’t you able to judge critically, draw rational conclusions, and form logical summaries of all that you had researched? Or did you just rely on the teacher’s hand-outs and bullet points?
  • Did you have to be told what to do all the time, or were you the initiated sort who wanted to figure things out for yourself by asking the right people?

What the heck do you expect from life anyhow? Acceptable? or Best?

Go extra-curricular. Life is best here.

Daft questions are encouraged so that daft advice may exist. Government job creation. Simple as. End of.

Don’t ask stupid questions. I think you know the answer half the time. Come on.
Don’t dumb yourself down. Don’t give up on your own internal ‘know-how’: your gut instinct.
Remember, you are top of the class!


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