Sometimes it makes some people feel better when they put other people down, make fun of them, maybe mock their work or what they do, or use them for selfish reason. At times, when these people are disappointed, frustrated, or bored, they make fun and take it out on the world around them.

This reminds me of a seesaw, a structure composed of a plank, balanced in the middle, used as a game in which one person goes up as the other goes down...One person must be down for the other person to be up.

Some of us might have experienced people looking down on us, criticizing, ridiculing, using or even betraying us for selfish reason(s). This is rooted to our human self-centeredness, to feel important and superior over another person, greed, envy, jealousy and a variety of egotistical reasons.

When this happens, I think of them like a sandpaper. While they keep on scratching and hurting me repeatedly, I would try hard to learn more and improve myself. Consequently, I become smooth, polished and shiny while they get useless, a failure and defeated.

While the laughter of joy is in full harmony with our deeper life, the laughter of amusement at the expense of others should be kept apart from it. Here's a narrative inspired by the writings of an unknown author about a known idiot in the community who used ridicule and mockery to his advantage.

Once upon a time there was a village named Egoville hidden away in the mountains. Now, this village, like most villages, had their own idiot. His name was Hugh Millety.

 Hugh, the village idiot, was the ridicule of Egoville. The towns folk would often set him up with silly choices in order to laugh mercilessly at him when he made the wrong choice. 

"Hugh," they'd say, "would you rather have this shiny new quarter or this dirty old torn dollar bill?"

"I'd like the shiny quarter," Hugh would reply. His tormentor would give him the quarter and walk away laughing, declaring Hugh a true village idiot. Hugh would just shrug and go about
 his business.

Even though it was a poor village with little opportunity, this was repeated several times a day by many people. As the years went by, the ridicule became a ritual that dozens of townies took part in. The towns
folk had little to their names, but at least they could feel better about themselves in comparison to the village idiot this way. It was their small comfort in the lap of poverty.

Not everyone would make fun of Hugh though. A few felt sorry for him and gave him hand-me-down clothes, leftover food, and even an old shack to live in at the edge of town. Hugh lived off of the handouts of the charitable few. 

One day, Hugh showed up at the village square wearing a brand new suit. Everyone was amazed, for few people in the town could afford new clothing, let alone a nice suit.  The small village didn't even have a new clothing store, only a used clothing store. 

One of townsfolk asked Hugh where he got his new suit, thinking he must have stolen it. He bought it, he told them. And furthermore he added, the fine new house being built on the mountainside that everyone was wondering about, that was his. 

When questioned where he got the money, he told them it was the money they gave him. With people giving him food, clothing, and shelter, he simply saved and invested everything they gave him. "I maybe your village idiot," he smiled and said, "but I'm no fool." 

But why then, they asked, did he always take the lesser amount of money they offered him if he was so cunning? 

Hugh replied that if he had taken the greater amount of money, they would have stopped offering it to him. He earned his money by letting them laugh at him, but he knew the first time he took the greater amount they'd stop offering him money and find something else to laugh at him about. 

"Now," said Hugh, "I'm the richest person in town and have all the money I need. I didn't waste money amusing myself at the expense of someone I falsely perceived to be a lesser person. And you, all of you, have little more now than you had when you started ridiculing me. So tell me, who is the village idiot now?"

Hugh smiled again, then handed out hundred dollar bills to those who had been kind to him. The townsfolk were shocked. It was true though, they had frittered away their money a little at a time, trying to make themselves feel big by comparison to the village idiot. 

It just goes to show you, if you live in Egoville, take care not to become the village idiot by your vain perceptions. On the other hand, if you follow the wisdom of Hugh Millety, you might just become the richest person in town.

This coming year and beyond, let us make a ceaseless effort not to ridicule, not to complain about, not to scorn others, but to understand them. Ridicule is the best test of truth for it will not stick where it is not just. A truth learned in a certain light, and attacked in certain words may become ridiculous, at least so far, that the truth is only remembered and repeated for the sake of the ridicule.

By Tim Pedrosa

Happy New Year everyone!

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