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The Five Universal Laws of Human Stupidity

 
Cheshire Cat
 
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Cheshire Cat
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03 April 2021 17:50
 

“There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life.”
— Frank Zappa

As if in total agreement with the above quote, Carlo Cipolla, a professor of economic history, wrote the “Theory of Stupidity,” which comes down to 5 basic laws:

1. Always and inevitably, each of us underestimates the number of stupid individuals in the world

2. The probability that a certain person is stupid is independent of any other characteristic of the same person

3. A stupid person is one who causes harm to another person or group without at the same time obtaining a benefit for himself or even damaging himself

4. Non-stupid people always underestimate the harmful potential of stupid people

5. The stupid person is the most dangerous person that exists

“All human beings are included in four fundamental categories: the naive, the intelligent, the evil and the stupid […] The intelligent person knows that he’s intelligent. The evil one is aware to be evil. The naive is painfully imbued with the sense of his own candor. Unlike all these characters, the stupid doesn’t know to be stupid. This contributes to give greater strength, incidence and effectiveness to his devastating action. The stupid is not inhibited by self-consciousness.”

Below is graph illustrating this.

https://psychology-spot.com/basic-laws-of-human-stupidity/

According to Cipolla, the distribution of stupidity is spread more or less evenly among all strata of human society, including areas that require an advanced education and specialized skills. So people you would assume to be intelligent because of an exclusive education, can still act stupidly.

As I read about the 5 Laws, two specific groups of people kept popping into my head because they fit the criteria so well.

I read recently that 49 percent of Republican men refuse to get the coronavirus vaccine. Looking at Cipolla’s criteria, these men are not only doing possible harm to themselves, they are also potentially harming others by passing Covid-19 infection onto their close family members and associates. They fit rule #3 remarkably well.

The other group that came to mind are the people who stormed the Capitol building on January 6th. They fit all 5 of Cipolla’s laws. I was surprised by how many there were. Many in that mob were successful and educated people. They thought they were doing Trump’s bidding, yet nothing was accomplished after the fact, and Trump disavowed them later on. The Capitol police planners underestimated the violent potential of the mob despite having been warned. And, lastly, the Capitol insurgents proved to be extremely dangerous.

What other people or groups fit the 5 Laws?

 

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Balfizar1
 
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03 April 2021 18:56
 

The religious seem to fit quite nicely!

Carl Gustav Jung:- identified 4 conscious functions.

Sensation :-  establishes what is actually given – conscious sensory processes
Feeling :-  primitive - valuing
Intuition :-  perception by way of unconscious – which cannot be traced to conscious sensory experience
Thinking :- when we think it is in order to judge or reach a conclusion.  enables us to recognize its meaning -  (rational)

I think stupidity abounds when we do not process an experience across all 4 functions and concluding with Thinking :-  rationality and logic. (where necessary)
I have coined a phrase before (CPDD) Cognitive Process Deficit Disorder.  Intelligence is a segregated evaluation I believe in the general population.
A Phd will not guarantee you look every time before crossing a busy street.
If ever there was a need for progress it is now, to understand what it is that generates conclusions and what is necessary to “educate” the public to a more sustainable truth for the betterment of mankind.  Priorities based on danger to the public would have to include:-  Politicians and their followers, cultural racism, religious, conspiracy theorists there are more.

“Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former.” -Albert Einstein.

[ Edited: 03 April 2021 22:54 by Balfizar1]
 
 
weird buffalo
 
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03 April 2021 20:11
 

There’s the common sentiment of “we all do stupid shit sometimes”, that I like to rephrase as “we all do something smart once in a while.”

 
Cheshire Cat
 
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03 April 2021 20:52
 
Balfizar1 - 03 April 2021 06:56 PM

Karl Gustav Jung:- identified 4 conscious functions.

Sensation :-  establishes what is actually given – conscious sensory processes
Feeling :-  primitive - valuing
Intuition :-  perception by way of unconscious – which cannot be traced to conscious sensory experience
Thinking :- when we think it is in order to judge or reach a conclusion.  enables us to recognize its meaning -  (rational)

I think stupidity abounds when we do not process an experience across all 4 functions and concluding with Thinking :-  rationality and logic. (where necessary)
I have coined a phrase before (CPDD) Cognitive Process Deficit Disorder.  Intelligence is a segregated evaluation I believe in the general population.

Yes, I like the theories of C. G. Jung also.

I suppose another definition of your Cognitive Process Deficit Disorder, (CPDD), would be a lack of introspection, and the inability of evaluating given assumptions.

Cipolla would say that a certain steady percentage of people are simply born without these traits. I assume this means that people cannot be taught how not to be stupid, because they are blind to the possibility that they are this way.

 
 
Cheshire Cat
 
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03 April 2021 20:58
 
weird buffalo - 03 April 2021 08:11 PM

There’s the common sentiment of “we all do stupid shit sometimes”, that I like to rephrase as “we all do something smart once in a while.”

That’s a “glass-is-half-full” way of looking at it.

I think the key is to be aware that “we all do stupid shit sometimes,” to realize when are behaving stupidly ourselves, and then to change that behavior. I think truly stupid people don’t question themselves or their behaviors.

 
 
Balfizar1
 
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03 April 2021 22:14
 
Cheshire Cat - 03 April 2021 08:52 PM
Balfizar1 - 03 April 2021 06:56 PM

Karl Gustav Jung:- identified 4 conscious functions.

Sensation :-  establishes what is actually given – conscious sensory processes
Feeling :-  primitive - valuing
Intuition :-  perception by way of unconscious – which cannot be traced to conscious sensory experience
Thinking :- when we think it is in order to judge or reach a conclusion.  enables us to recognize its meaning -  (rational)

I think stupidity abounds when we do not process an experience across all 4 functions and concluding with Thinking :-  rationality and logic. (where necessary)
I have coined a phrase before (CPDD) Cognitive Process Deficit Disorder.  Intelligence is a segregated evaluation I believe in the general population.

Yes, I like the theories of C. G. Jung also.

I suppose another definition of your Cognitive Process Deficit Disorder, (CPDD), would be a lack of introspection, and the inability of evaluating given assumptions.

Cipolla would say that a certain steady percentage of people are simply born without these traits. I assume this means that people cannot be taught how not to be stupid, because they are blind to the possibility that they are this way.

The Basic Laws of Human Stupidity:- Carlo M. Cipolla
I believe every trait can be enhanced and taken to the arbitrary limits of the individual, however painful and long it takes. There is always something to work with as a starting point.  To see Tee-ballers and MLB prospect struggle with a concept is a revelation, it takes patience and a knowledgeable approach to help them reach their maximum potential.  I have coached disabled (physical and mental) on a voluntary basis purely as a challenge and out of professional development and the most challenging is ADHD it can be done and is very rewarding.  There is always hope,  abandoning the “stupid” to their own fate lacks humanity. “Noblesse Oblige”

It starts with education and I believe to lessen “stupidity in the general population” would require foundation change in the require outcomes of education especially K-12.
There would also be a clash with religious education, when you train kids to believe in fairy tales you muddy the waters of reality.  When your reality (that which is real to you based more on individual values) and true reality are both given credence then there is going to be trouble.

 
 
weird buffalo
 
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04 April 2021 06:29
 
Cheshire Cat - 03 April 2021 08:58 PM
weird buffalo - 03 April 2021 08:11 PM

There’s the common sentiment of “we all do stupid shit sometimes”, that I like to rephrase as “we all do something smart once in a while.”

That’s a “glass-is-half-full” way of looking at it.

I think the key is to be aware that “we all do stupid shit sometimes,” to realize when are behaving stupidly ourselves, and then to change that behavior. I think truly stupid people don’t question themselves or their behaviors.

The glass is always completely full…. it’s just a matter of how much hot air is in it.

 
unsmoked
 
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04 April 2021 11:02
icehorse
 
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07 April 2021 17:26
 
weird buffalo - 04 April 2021 06:29 AM
Cheshire Cat - 03 April 2021 08:58 PM
weird buffalo - 03 April 2021 08:11 PM

There’s the common sentiment of “we all do stupid shit sometimes”, that I like to rephrase as “we all do something smart once in a while.”

That’s a “glass-is-half-full” way of looking at it.

I think the key is to be aware that “we all do stupid shit sometimes,” to realize when are behaving stupidly ourselves, and then to change that behavior. I think truly stupid people don’t question themselves or their behaviors.

The glass is always completely full…. it’s just a matter of how much hot air is in it.

smile

 
 
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08 April 2021 11:23
 
Cheshire Cat - 03 April 2021 08:58 PM

I think truly stupid people don’t question themselves or their behaviors.

Since I’m always questioning myself, I’m cleared to suggest three winners in this category:  Trump, Brother Mario, and Paula White. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TzIym0eZsH0

[ Edited: 08 April 2021 11:27 by unsmoked]
 
 
Poldano
 
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09 April 2021 03:04
 

When looking out for stupid people, it’s wise to look in the mirror first.

 
 
unsmoked
 
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09 April 2021 10:43
 
Poldano - 09 April 2021 03:04 AM

When looking out for stupid people, it’s wise to look in the mirror first.

True.  Mathew 7:5 -  “You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.”

But does that mean we should be silent when stupidity calls the shots?

“The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.”  -  Trump

https://ec.europa.eu/clima/change/consequences_en

The Emperor’s New Clothes -  children’s story

“Why did everyone pretend that they could see the cloth?
Answer: Everyone pretended that they could see the cloth because they didn’t want to be called fools or unwise. This is because the weavers had told the court that only wise men could see the cloth that they weave.”

https://www.carbonbrief.org/americans-get-the-most-information-about-climate-models-from-rush-limbaugh

Could this point to a 6th Universal Law of Human Stupidity?  How to phrase it?

 

[ Edited: 09 April 2021 11:10 by unsmoked]
 
 
unsmoked
 
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10 April 2021 13:29
 

To me, some of the most heartbreaking images of human stupidity are the newsreels of men climbing out of trenches and rushing toward tangles of barbed wire and machinegun fire.  This reminds me of today’s followers of Trump and Limbaugh & Co. - who believe what these people tell them about climate change.  They rush toward worldwide calamity for themselves and future generations.

If we don’t get there, (to the facts) we’ll lose civilization as we know it.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gZjQROMAh_s

[ Edited: 10 April 2021 13:34 by unsmoked]
 
 
Brick Bungalow
 
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14 April 2021 22:39
 

I laughed out loud at number four.

 
unsmoked
 
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15 April 2021 12:05
 
Brick Bungalow - 14 April 2021 10:39 PM

I laughed out loud at number four.

Number 5 made me suspect that we are in danger.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kRh1zXFKC_o

 
 
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17 April 2021 23:00
 

We do collectively understand the fallacy of lists like these right? The fundamental category error of applying an adverb in this way? As well as the irony considering the target?

I sure hope so.

 
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