Albert Einstein said, “With fame I become more and more stupid.”
So springboarding from that– here’s one: success makes you stupid. Discuss.
What makes me say this is that here in America where success is king I see a lot of people around me who are successful but stupid. When I say ‘stupid’ I mean they are spiritually stupid. They are stupid in relationships. They do dumb, arrogant stuff and don’t even know they are doing it, and nobody calls them on them because they’re surrounded by subordinates and other big dogs who are just as arrogant and dumb as they are.
They offend people, miss the point, have the wrong priorities and miss God and the gospel totally. I mean totally. But because they’re successful they can’t see it. They are blind to their faults and, whoo boy, do they dislike it if you dare to criticize. But that’s why they’re ‘successful’ right? Because they’ve charged through life with their eye on ‘success’ and missed everything else, trampled on everyone else and got where they got because ‘success’ was their God.
Even more scary is that I see myself falling into the same trap. Hey, I want to be ‘successful’ like everyone other red blooded American guy! I want to show off and be better than other people too. I want to be top dog. It’s all there in my heart too, and the more I give into this temptation (which I believe the Sacred Scriptures call ‘the pride of life’) the more I see myself behaving in petty, nasty and stupid ways. Yep, success makes me stupid.
Instead of this ‘pride of life’ which puts success on the top of the heap give me St Therese and the Little Way. The Little Way of Service to others instead of them serving me. The Little Way of Stillness not Activity. The Little Way of Suffering not Pleasure. The Little Way of Joy not Anger. The Little Way of Silence not Stupidity. The Little Way of Love not Pride.
You have to stand on your head to see this one, and standing on your head isn’t easy.
It requires balance.