Most people believe sheep are stupid because they don’t even defend themselves when they are provoked and attacked. They also seem not to have a mind or a will of their own because they instinctively follow their shepherd. They rely on their shepherd to lead them to green pastures and pure water so they can be properly fed. They are also willing to let others use them as food and clothing (wool).
If they were to choose, most people would prefer to be wolves because wolves have a mind and a will of their own. They have no need for a shepherd because they only rely upon their own self. They also gather into packs to hunt and prey on young, weak and innocent animals. This is how they obtain their food. If they are attacked, wolves will immediately retaliate with hatred, revenge and lethal violence.
Why would anyone want to be a sheep? Well, it is because, in reality, sheep are more intelligent than wolves. They are more in touch with Reality or Truth. They know that they have nothing of their own and that all that they possess originates from a higher being than themselves. They know that this higher being is more intelligent than they are and he can provide them with all that they require for their peaceful existence. They also understand that they must return all this love and care by being loving and useful to others. They don’t need to defend themselves because they know that their shepherd will defend them and restore order and justice.
Wolves are stupid because they erroneously believe that they are self-existent. Hence, they live in a state of constant fear and anxiety. They are always afraid of being attacked by others. And they think they can only provide for their existence by being cunning and violent. Hence, they are compelled to struggle and fight in order to continue to survive.
The life of a sheep is a life of Faith, Usefulness, Love and Peace while the so-called life of a wolf is a life of Fear, Selfishness, Hatred and Violence.
Therefore the Lord says of those who are in good, whom He calls His “sheep”:
I am the good shepherd, and I know Mine own, and I am known of Mine. My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me (John 10:14, 27).
But of those who are in evil, the Lord says that He “does not know them,” in these passages:
Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied through Thy name, and through Thy name have cast out demons, and in Thy name done many mighty deeds? But then will I confess to them, I know you not: depart from Me, ye workers of iniquity (Matt. 7:22-23).
At last came also the other virgins saying. Lord, Lord, open to us. But He answering said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not (Matt. 25:11-12).
When once the master of the house hath risen up, and hath shut to the door, then will ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us; but He shall answer and say to you, I know you not whence ye are; then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in Thy presence, and Thou hast taught in our streets; but He shall say, I say to you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from Me, all ye workers of iniquity (Luke 13:25-27).
Hence it is plain that “to be known,” when said of the Lord, is to be in the good of charity, that is, to be endowed with that good, because all the good of charity comes from the Lord; and that “not to be known” is to be in evil.
“To know” involves conjunction, and man is said to be “known” by the Lord insofar as he is conjoined with Him. The Lord also knows those who are not conjoined, nay, the very smallest particulars in every such man (John 2:24, 25); but these men, being in evil, are in a different kind of presence, which is as it were absence; although the Lord is not absent, but the man and the spirit who is in evil is he who is absent; and then it is said that the Lord “does not know” them. An image of this condition appears among angels and spirits; they who are alike as to states of life appear near each other, and thus mutually know each other; but they who are unlike as to states of life, appear to each other to be far away, nor do they know each other in the same way. In a word, in the other life likeness of state causes people to appear present, and to be known; and unlikeness of state causes them to appear absent, and not to be known. Emanuel Swedenborg [AC 6806]