The Alphabits Analogy (Why it’s bad to be stupid)

Note: If you don’t know, Alphabits are an American breakfast cereal made of processed grain that’s been shaped to look like letters of the English alphabet.

Your brain is like a cereal bowl. Gaining knowledge is like pouring a little Alphabits cereal into the bowl. The more knowledge you gain the more Alphabits you pour in. Once you’ve got those Alphabits in your bowl they just sit there, but if you pick through the letters and look for patterns you can spell words by stringing letters together. The fewer letters you have the fewer words you can spell. The less of any certain kind of letter you have the fewer words you can spell. So it’s not so important that you have any Alphabits of the letter “X,” but if you’re missing a lot of vowels you won’t be able to make very many words.

The more letters you have the more complete sentences you can make. If you have enough Alphabits you could write a novel, or a how-to-guide or something profoundly wise and useful. If you’ve only got enough letters to write one page, then you’ll only be able to write relatively simple things.

In this analogy the Alphabits represent pieces of knowledge, and the quantity of Alphabits in your bowl represents how much you know. The words you spell by stringing your Alphabits together represent the complex ideas you’ve learned/figured out in your life.

The less Alphabits you have in your bowl the fewer ideas you can understand. This is profoundly important, because the sum total of the ideas in your head are what make up your identity and your perspective of reality. What’s in your head is your reality. The less you know the less you are… and the less you can become because you can only string X-number of Alphabits together in so many combinations.

The number of Alphabits in your bowl (or the lack thereof)  limits the number of ways you can express yourself as well. If you don’t have many Alphabits then your interaction with life, the universe and the world will be through simple grunts and truncated messages because that’s the extent of your total life-repertoire. The more you fill your bowl and the more you study the pieces the more beautiful and useful words you can string together and write deeper, more meaningful paragraphs. Why grunt when you can sing a ballad?

It’s not a chore to fill your bowl with Alphabits or take the time to sift through them and sort them. Stringing those Alphabits together is how you lay the road to happiness. Every idea you understand and organize into your greater world view brings you one step closer to having a relatively complete understanding of who, what, where, when and why you are enabling you to understand how to get to where you want to be.

If you don’t pour any Alphabits in your bowl or take the time to string the letters together into any words other than what you heard on TV, then your life is basically forfeited. You had the chance to make whatever you wanted, and you just let your Alphabits sit there while you bitched about the taste all the way through breakfast time.

That’s not cool. That’s not honorable or mature. That’s a pathetic tragedy. Stupidity is a pathetic tragedy. And yes, that makes stupid people a pathetic tragedy.

But that’s not a call to action to sneer at stupid people. Stupidity is the consequence of stupidity. If you were born and raised with X-number of Alphabits in your bowl and the people who served you breakfast never gave you more and discouraged you from asking for more but taught you it was wrong to “play with your food” then how could you be anything different than a product of your environment?

If your parents didn’t spell it out for you as a child, someone’s spelling it out for you now. Your Alphabits are your responsibility. Fill your bowl, and study what’s in it. Because when you die what’s left on the table will be the product of your existence.

I don’t know if we’ll be judged after death based on what we left on the table. I don’t know if there will be any consequences for anything we succeed or fail at in life, but I do know that while we’re here, what we do is what we experience. It’s what we have to look back on for the rest of our lives and what determines what we’re capable of doing/experiencing for the rest of the time we have left to live. So it matters here and now what you’ve done with your Alphabits. If your life sucks, and you want it to be better, I guarantee you that if there’s a solution to your problems then the way to find it much less use it is to either get more Alphabits in your bowl or study the ones you’ve got closer and figure out what combination you missed.

And I guarantee you this. Whatever problems are in your life, being complacent with your Alphabits will only make them worse.

If you liked this post you may also like posts related to education:

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