Intelligence > Kindness?
Updated: Nov 25, 2020
Written By Apoorva Khosla
Edited By Kiara Lakdawala
Growing up as a Potterhead, a majority of my thoughts and ideas were influenced by Harry Potter. I was a true-blue fan who memorised dialogues, spells and Dumbledore’s entire name. As soon as the website Pottermore got launched, my sister and I quickly made our accounts to see which Hogwarts house we were sorted into.
Of course we got sorted into Gryffindor (we both manipulated the answers; pretty Slytherin-ish huh?)
Soon the head cannons, fan theories came out too and the hierarchy of the houses was as perceived:
Doing and redoing the various Sorting quizzes, we got to know our true houses. She was a Ravenclaw (should have guessed, my sister has way too many idiosyncrasies) and I was a Hufflepuff. I was bummed because my mannerisms and values did not quite make the top of the Hogwarts houses hierarchy. It was only when J.K Rowling said the following precious words:
"This may surprise people, but it is the truth...In many, many ways, Hufflepuff is my favourite House. Here's my reasoning, bear with me. (Again, I don't want to spoil things too much for people who haven't read the whole series, so I'm going to say what I'm about to say quite carefully).
There comes a point in the final book where each House has the choice whether or not to rise to a certain challenge, and that's everyone in the House. The Slytherins, for reasons that are understandable, decide they'd rather not play. The Ravenclaws, some decide they will, some decide they won't. The Hufflepuffs, virtually to a person, stay, as do the Gryffindors. Now, the Gryffindors comprise a lot of foolhardy and show-offy people, that's just the way it is, I'm a Gryffindor, I'm allowed to say it. You know, there's bravery, and there's also showboating, and sometimes the two go together.
The Hufflepuffs stayed for a different reason; they weren't trying to show off, they weren't being reckless, that's the essence of Hufflepuff House. Now my oldest child (my daughter, Jessica) said something very profound to me, not very many days ago, actually, she said to me --and she, by the way, was not sorted into Hufflepuff House-- but, she said to me, 'I think we should all want to be Hufflepuffs.' I can only say to you, that I would not be at all disappointed to be sorted into Hufflepuff House."
This brought me to the question: Are we all obsessed with the notions of intelligence and glory more than those of humbleness and kindness?
In our quest to be intellectual and smart individuals (which is not a bad thing at all), we forget about the small acts of compassion and kindness that make the span of the human life richer. We take quizzes to calculate our IQ, we read about the habits of rich, successful people like Steve Jobs but what do we do to make the world around us slightly better?
We were taught the values of humbleness and kindness with vivid stories but the problem was that these stories were left in those shiny illustrated books; long forgotten after a read. The need to be clever and smart was emphasized on more. That is what created a majority of us.
We are motivated by things so glorious that we are rarely motivated by smalls things, things that require love and gentleness. We all intend to run away from the rat race we are living in - the rat race to be smart, intelligent, successful and famous. These dreams are good and it is necessary for a human being to have hopes but only dreams are not what keep us alive. The feeling after helping a friend out, after doing something for your mother without her asking you to do it, thanking your teacher, small things like these make a day so incredibly special. There is nothing mushy about it. Deeds that are heartfelt truly make an impact. It is tough to be clever but it is tougher to be kind.
Moreover, I feel as if the Hogwarts houses were not allotted to anyone because of the qualities they possessed but moreover the traits they valued. Hermione could have easily been in Ravenclaw but perhaps she valued bravery more than wit, and hence she ended in Gryffindor.
As Dumbledore said, "It is our choices, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”
Trust your choices more. You are what you are but you can be so much more than that. Value the life that is there and value the ones who are good to you. Be kind to the ones who are bad to you because they are hurting somewhere. You can be Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff and Slytherin all at once and your Hufflepuff part is as important as any other. Do not undermine it.