“The woman Folly is loud; she is undisciplined and without knowledge. She sits at the door of her house, on a seat at the highest point of the city, calling out to those who pass by, who go straight on their way, ‘Let all who are simple come here!’ she says to those who lack judgment. ‘Stolen water is sweet; food eaten in secret is delicious!’ But little do they know that the dead are there, that her guests are in the depths of the grave.”
– Proverbs 9:13-18 (NIV)
by Dr. Larry Poland
Hollywood is known for its beautiful and seductive women. They are everywhere – from the Playmates circling the Playboy mansion in Holmby Hills, to the sirens who walk the red carpet dressed in scant nothingness on Oscar night, to the bare vixens who sell their bodies and souls to the world’s largest “adult entertainment” industry.
Solomon knew a thing or two about seductive women. His harem numbered a thousand hand-picked beauties, and he authored the Bible’s handbook of sensuality, The Song of Solomon. Interesting, then, that he follows his warnings about the adulteress in Proverbs 7 and his lauding of the glories of Wisdom in Chapter 8 with alarm about another scary babe (or dude) named Folly, a.k.a. Stupidity.
For sure, Folly is the most destructive seducer of all. If you don’t believe it, you haven’t visited Las Vegas, or the dives of any major city, or the secret hideaways of Manhattan. But Folly also attends church board meetings, workplace committee meetings, financial investing seminars, and dinner table arguments. She is deadly, and . . . she’s not always a “she.” Solomon makes both Wisdom and Folly feminine as a literary device, but neither gender has any claim of ownership.
One reason Folly, a. k. a. Stupidity, is so seductive is that she’s impressively prominent. She holds “a seat at the highest point of the city.” If corporate titans and politicians were wise, society would be very different.
Wisdom Principle #41 – Stupidity is an expression of the dominant world view which parades as “conventional thinking”; only divine insight will help you recognize and transcend it.
Proverbs says three attributes explain Stupidity’s success at seduction and destruction. She (1) preys on the simple and ignorant, (2) has no respect for what is not hers, and (3) operates in utmost secrecy.
Wisdom Principle #42 – Wisdom always strengthens the weak and lifts the downtrodden; Stupidity exploits both.
Wisdom Principle #43 – Wisdom always respects the person, feelings, dignity, and possessions of others; Stupidity tramples them.
We might call it the ‘Al Qaeda Syndrome.” It’s the tendency to operate in the shadows, in secret, and in hidden cells plotting evil. Stupidity thrives on encrypted memos, clandestine meetings, and the cover of darkness. The wise and righteous person lives life in the light and in the open. It never fears investigation or disclosure.
Wisdom Principle #44 – The wise and righteous life never fears examination . . . of its datebook, checkbook, closet, or computer hard drive.
Avoid Folly – he/she will do you in. His/Her dwelling is filled with corpses (9:18).