5 immutable laws of human stupidity

getbent

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1. We always underestimate the number of stupid people in circulation. No matter your estimate, you will be low.
2. The probability of being stupid is independent of any other characteristic, rich/poor, ugly/beautiful, tall/short, educated/not educated, etc.
3. Definition of stupid is harming others without gain.
4. Non-stupid people always underestimate the potential damage that a stupid person can cause... meaning we are all a bit stupid.
5. A stupid person is more dangerous than a bandit. Because a bandit is rational, their behavior can be predicted and we can adopt counter measures. But you cannot outmaneuver stupid.
 

1955

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It has been said that wise people keep their mouth shut, so I reckon that rules me out.

I never thought I was very intelligent, honestly. I don’t “get” many things that come easily to others.

Some might see me in a pitiful light, yet are slightly amused, confounded, or drained, by the unique sprinkles of my stupidity.

Even though I am humble regarding my many shortcomings, the consolation that an electron sliver of intergalactic weirdity prances about my fumbling so effortlessly is saccharine justice to pursed lips and pawed endeavors.
 

nojazzhere

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When we have a society where damn near everyone is awarded the title of "genius" or "hero", what can we expect?

We keep on lowering the bar so no-one gets their feelings hurt, and it's so rare to encounter anyone who is willing to honestly evaluate themselves and their behavior - that it turns into a sort of self-perpetuating jack-ass show :)


.
When I was teaching school, many teachers (and even admin) posted a quote attributed to Einstein about " Everyone is a genius.....but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will grow up thinking it's stupid." The sentiment is admirable.....encourage kids to do the best they can do...and develop their skills to the best of their abilities....BUT.... The problem is, many people can't maintain perspective and evaluate abilities rationally. There MUST be a balance in encouragement, such that kids receive positive reinforcement for their efforts, without false beliefs in abilities or achievements. It's NOT only black or white.....there ARE shades of gray.
 

telemnemonics

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I don't think of people who lack skills (reading a tape measure) as stupid, just lacking skills. Where stupid shows up is when you show them the value of reading a tape measure and they cannot grasp A) how it could be valuable B) value it C) apply the value to solve a problem.

Rrr, right (?)

I neither suggested they were dumb, nor would I agree that a 17yo who cannot identify one quarter or one half of something, merely lacks skills.
When I wrote that they "had been well informed of how dumb they were", I was speaking in irony I assumed to be obvious.
Ex: Consumers have been well informed of the magical powers of tonewood in solid body electrics.
(to be fair I suppose my use of irony is a bit unfair, yet my goal is to bump up thinking in interactions, which may be a bit of an underhanded endeavor, no matter how positive the intention)
I also wrote that they had been "deemed non academically oriented", and claimed that they were "intellectually neglected".
Who then might I have implied was dumb?
Poor form to accuse public school teachers or systems of sucking, yet good heavens these kids were products of many paid professionals dropping the ball year after year.

Further detailing not letting them not-learn: I was fleshing out the fact that these kids got shuffled through public school with such apathetic grave indifference to their entire futures that they didn't even KNOW they COULD learn.
In a way, neglect in public school then was a form of abuse.
I guess they were so deeply indoctrinated into being the bottom of the barrel, that as you mentioned, they couldn't grasp how reading a tape could be valuable, and showed zero interest. No questions, just blank stares.
I forget the hours but I think they were stuck with me for seven hour days and I just kept at it. (they were paid minimum wage to be there) Great program!
Breaks my heart a little to remember that, because there are probably still kids somewhere being passed over when they don't learn as expected.

Gradually over the weeks I saw lights come on in eyes long dimmed by again, intellectual neglect. Not stupidity.
I'd go so far to guess that some were probably smarter than average yet just as crippled by how they were handled in the system.
Neglect in school commonly included (among these kids) neglect and abuse at home, plus maybe ADD/ ADHD/ depression.

Apparently the two schools later wrote to (our) program saying the kids returned very different from the former year.
Got smart!
 

getbent

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When I was teaching school, many teachers (and even admin) posted a quote attributed to Einstein about " Everyone is a genius.....but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will grow up thinking it's stupid." The sentiment is admirable.....encourage kids to do the best they can do...and develop their skills to the best of their abilities....BUT.... The problem is, many people can't maintain perspective and evaluate abilities rationally. There MUST be a balance in encouragement, such that kids receive positive reinforcement for their efforts, without false beliefs in abilities or achievements. It's NOT only black or white.....there ARE shades of gray.

There are enough studies of kids to know that whatever fears we may have by such quotations, the giving of trophies to kids, the calling too many people heroes and geniuses... we know that most kids are pretty well trompled into being sure they are insignificant and 'not much' by the time they hit the 4th grade.

The odds that false beliefs will create some kind of monster are infinitesimally small compared to the assurance that most people have their hopes and dreams and faith in themselves crushed by 'well meaning' people who want to make sure to bring balance.
 

getbent

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Rrr, right (?)

I neither suggested they were dumb, nor would I agree that a 17yo who cannot identify one quarter or one half of something, merely lacks skills.
When I wrote that they "had been well informed of how dumb they were", I was speaking in irony I assumed to be obvious.
Ex: Consumers have been well informed of the magical powers of tonewood in solid body electrics.
(to be fair I suppose my use of irony is a bit unfair, yet my goal is to bump up thinking in interactions, which may be a bit of an underhanded endeavor, no matter how positive the intention)
I also wrote that they had been "deemed non academically oriented", and claimed that they were "intellectually neglected".
Who then might I have implied was dumb?
Poor form to accuse public school teachers or systems of sucking, yet good heavens these kids were products of many paid professionals dropping the ball year after year.

Further detailing not letting them not-learn: I was fleshing out the fact that these kids got shuffled through public school with such apathetic grave indifference to their entire futures that they didn't even KNOW they COULD learn.
In a way, neglect in public school then was a form of abuse.
I guess they were so deeply indoctrinated into being the bottom of the barrel, that as you mentioned, they couldn't grasp how reading a tape could be valuable, and showed zero interest. No questions, just blank stares.
I forget the hours but I think they were stuck with me for seven hour days and I just kept at it. (they were paid minimum wage to be there) Great program!
Breaks my heart a little to remember that, because there are probably still kids somewhere being passed over when they don't learn as expected.

Gradually over the weeks I saw lights come on in eyes long dimmed by again, intellectual neglect. Not stupidity.
I'd go so far to guess that some were probably smarter than average yet just as crippled by how they were handled in the system.
Neglect in school commonly included (among these kids) neglect and abuse at home, plus maybe ADD/ ADHD/ depression.

Apparently the two schools later wrote to (our) program saying the kids returned very different from the former year.
Got smart!

I think sometimes when you think I'm countering you, I'm not, I'm adding to, or supplementing off your riff. Like you play a solo, then I play one off of what you played.

Like your last line 'got smart' I'd add (not subtract) they got confidence, you enabled them to see the value of learning and applying and that new operational thinking allowed them to apply that to new tasks... which is awesome and the point of educating!
 

kbold

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I understand that a person can be both stupid, and ignorant.
Cipolla claims that intelligent people can also be stupid. That the percentage of stupid people in the working class is the same as in university graduates or university professors.

His classification of 'stupid' are people who cause losses/detriment to anyone as well as themselves. (As opposed to, for example a bandit, who benefits but causes losses to you.)
 

telemnemonics

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I have been witnessing it consciously for the past few days and it is remarkable. it is unseeing, unrelenting, ubiquitous, it forges ahead at variable speed, it doesn't know pain and it feeds on everything.

WRT your former quoted "you can't outmaneuver stupid"; I can't take credit for a ton of success but I do get pretty good and entertaining results by in effect shoving stupid to the helm.

In conversation it would be feigned interest: "Interesting! How would that work?", then I listen as the explanation circles the drain; and/ or ask for increasing details or clarification of claimed results without actual procedures.
Had a lot of such conversations in recent years.
Those who have the strong beliefs can really hurt themselves if allowed room to flesh them out in front of witnesses.
 

Jupiter

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The algorithms on the internet make sure you are given items to look at which agree with your preconceived ideas. This strengthens what you already believe whether those beliefs are factual or pure BS.
I think more and more the algorithms on the Internet (say FB for example) are designed to show me stuff that induces righteous indignation and/or anxiety...but yeah, it still ain't helpful.
 

telemnemonics

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Cipolla claims that intelligent people can also be stupid. That the percentage of stupid people in the working class is the same as in university graduates or university professors.

His classification of 'stupid' are people who cause losses/detriment to anyone as well as themselves. (As opposed to, for example a bandit, who benefits but causes losses to you.)

Well a lot of basic college education is conformity of thought and memorization of chosen truths.
Conformity needs little intellect.
Memorization too, requires minimal intelligence.

I sat in on an Honors English (college) class and asked the prof if she actually believed that reading about growing up "in the ghetto" (which she was referring to in class) imparted the same understanding as actually doing the thing in question.
She said yes with no caveats.
Kind of blew my mind.
 

telemnemonics

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I think more and more the algorithms on the Internet (say FB for example) are designed to show me stuff that induces righteous indignation and/or anxiety...but yeah, it still ain't helpful.

Well here's a curio.
Getting warm bodies to sit still in front of the computer via anxiety inducement leading the masses to watch more and more insane drivel as long as they keep getting more upset?
That sells pizza?
Seems to be the case!

Curious though as to why folks keep returning to that discomfort?
Similar to smoking because withdrawal feels good when you relieve it?
And social anxiety is a problem you can actually solve with pizza and a new home security system that sends you videos of your front door all day?
 

McGlamRock

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I really liked the article but since you can't measure stupid, the premise is kind of hard to accept. Figures. I bet the the guy couldn't get into Stanford!
 

tap4154

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I'm just curious if the other people in the meeting that the OP is calling stupid have gone onto their own social media platforms and complained about how stupid he was?

I'll bet not.
 




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