Who is intelligent and who is stupid? Speaker or Listener? In the context of Modern day Corporate world

Not every time you get to make assumptions or arrive at conclusions based on evidence, but you must assume or arrive at conclusions because there is no evidence to the contrary. Let me quote an example. Section 6 of Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961 says that if the wife dies before 7 years of marriage under mysterious conditions the law assumes the culpability of Husband, unless proved otherwise.

In corporate world, it is often said that those who can say it in few words are intelligent and those who are elaborative in their approach are stupid. This approach pins the responsibility on the speaker, doesn’t take in to account listener’s cognitive ability. So, the assumption now we have is that the audience is intelligent and speaker is stupid because of his inability to say it in few words. What can be more inappropriate than this?

Lord Krishna had to say it in 18 chapters and in so many verses to Arjuna to remind him his duty. Should we call Lord Krishna a stupid? Lord Dattatreya had to say it in twenty-two chapters to Parasurama in Tripura Rahasya about the nature of pure intelligence and wisdom, should we call Lord Datta a stupid? This question arises because we have assumed that if the speaker or the knowledge giver could not make the listener understand a thing in a single line or few lines he ought to be a stupid.

Let’s move on to the next level, what happens if on a demand from listener, speaker says it only in few words or few sentences and listener is not able to understand it? In that case are we allowed to say that the listener is a stupid?

In corporates, stupid managers would want you to believe that if you cannot explain a thing in few words you are incompetent or inefficient, let me tell you that it is not correct. A manager says that because there is some problem with his cerebral evolution. And he hides his deformity behind a bogus argument that he is intending to save time or behind his pay-grade. Even if they are given all the time in the world they won’t get it. So, don’t let them be the judge of your intelligence. But, how else to judge as to who is stupid and who is intelligent? Here is what a propose.

Step 1 : If the listener makes an upfront request at the beginning that he be explained things only in few words, then the speaker should do so as per listener’s request, afterwards if the listener turns around and says he could not understand it and begs you to elaborate it, then it is established right there that listener is indeed a stupid, if someone finds the word stupid objectionable he can alternatively use the word ignorant, though I feel that stupid is the right description of listener, especially when he tries to judge the knowledge giver when he himself lacks ability to understand or grasp what is being said by the speaker. Now to step 2.

Step 2: In the step 1 we have already concluded that the listener is a stupid and as per his request speaker begins to elaborate it. Now, if the listener again says that he still can’t understand it, then the listener should be labeled as an utter stupid. When we are calling the lister as such, the assumption is that he has not shown his involvement either because the subject’s detail is not of much interest to him or simply he has no observation skills. And if we know that listener has actively involved himself to learn the things and stopped the speaker to ask questions in good faith etc., but still could not understand it, only then we need to validate & verify the content and the method employed by speaker before declaring him as stupid. At any case listener has no rights to judge the speaker, it should be done by a third party.

Let’s use again the example of Lord Krishna and Arjuna. Krishna asked Arjuna to do his duty but Arjuna didn’t understand it, hence Krishna had to elaborate it. Arjuna doesn’t get to call Krishna as stupid because he couldn’t understand it when Krishna said it in only few words in the beginning. But, when Krishna began to explain things in detail, the listener- Arjuna has actively involved himself or in other words paid attention to the words of Krishna and asked him questions wherever he had doubts, this establishes that he actively participated in the process of acquiring knowledge from Krishna, which is a condition precedent for acquisition of knowledge, it is only after such efforts he could understand as to what he is supposed to be doing and has done his duty afterwards.

So, when a modern day two-bit managerial hack tells you that you are not efficient in your communication simply because you tend to be elaborative at times, then you should tell him back that you are being elaborative not because there is a speech or an essay competition, but because the manager is a useless and dumbass.

I am open for counter opinions.


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