• tim wood
    7.7k
    Ignorance: the general condition of us all, two-thirds of us all about equally ignorant, the remainder unevenly distributed at either extreme.

    Stupidity: an affliction of all at one time or another, for most to a lesser degree, but for some a career. Characterized by insistence on ignorance against reason, sense, evidence, experience, and all entreaties, appeals, and proofs. For most of us occasions of stupidity as welcome as a case of crotch-rot; but again for most an ointment for that, of equal parts good-will, education, willingness to learn, and the sometimes rap across the knuckles.

    But stupidity comes at a price. And perhaps starting with the invention of the Gatling gun, the price often has been too high. The question here being how to minimize the cost of stupidity, minimize the effects of the stupid, and to minimize stupidity itself.

    For most of the world's history, most individuals haven't mattered much, being cannon-fodder for the imperatives of that history, and that history got to boil usually when great power accumulated into the hands of a few. One generation living at relative ease in peace, another, paraphrasing Churchill, sent by generals supposing themselves to be waging war by opposing machine gun bullets "with the breasts of gallant men" - the lucky and the unlucky on history's stage.

    The argument here is that technology along with population have changed the arithmetic. Stupidity becomes inescapable, and technology empowers even individual stupid beyond all reason. "We have met the enemy and he is us." This fifty years ago in 1970. But not all of us are stupid all of the time, and there is the issue of being victimized by stupidity. Stupidity becomes a large-scale existential threat, but arising not as in the past the result of the tectonics of history working on individuals, but of the behaviour itself of individuals themselves as the threat. And as the threat(s) are serious, so our condition become increasingly a war.

    And no mistake: some of us will suffer; some of us have suffered. Our children will suffer, and grandchildren suffer greatly. There is not the luxury of losing this war - and war it is. The question, then, is how to fight the war to win it. Not just to fight it - that's a mug's game - but to win it. Churchill again, "For without victory there is no survival," rather misery, death, and nothing beyond.
  • T Clark
    6.3k
    Stupidity: an affliction of all at one time or another, for most to a lesser degree, but for some a career.tim wood

    Your manifesto would be more meaningful to me if I thought what you consider stupid and what I do are the same.
  • tim wood
    7.7k
    You and I both stupid sometimes, that axiomatic. And certainly ignorant; that demonstrable, at least in my case. But what do you hold to be the source of the greater dangers in the world, both to individuals and to society at every scale? Is it not renderable more-or-less quickly to stupidity?
  • baker
    2.5k
    The question, then, is how to fight the war to win it. Not just to fight it - that's a mug's game - but to win it.tim wood
    Vote for rightwingers, obviously.

    But what do you hold to be the source of the greater dangers in the world, both to individuals and to society at every scale?tim wood
    Greed and hatred, and believing that greed and hatred are good.
  • T Clark
    6.3k
    what do you hold to be the source of the greater dangers in the world, both to individuals and to society at every scale?tim wood

    Willingness to treat other people as objects.
  • tim wood
    7.7k
    Greed and hatred, and believing that greed and hatred are good.baker

    Willingness to treat other people as objects.T Clark

    And are these smart or stupid?
  • baker
    2.5k
    Treating people like objects might seem smart to you, but what if they prove to be alive and objectify you?
  • tim wood
    7.7k
    Not to me. Maybe to some people. The challenge to educate them that such is against both reason and their own self-interest.
  • baker
    2.5k
    Not to metim wood
    Pffft. My experience with you informs me otherwise.
  • T Clark
    6.3k
    Not to me. Maybe to some people. The challenge to educate them that such is against both reason and their own self-interest.tim wood

    Seems like you're just classifying anything you don't like as stupidity. Jamming reality into your stupid shaped boxes.
  • baker
    2.5k
    Brother Wood, don't be daft.
  • tim wood
    7.7k
    Pffft. My experience with you informs me otherwise.baker
    Why then, I'm stupid! And daft how?

    Seems like you're just classifying anything you don't like as stupidity. Jamming reality into your stupid shaped boxes.T Clark
    Think of me as a shoe-salesman just trying to find for some poor fool the right fit. And to be sure it's not reality I'm fitting, but arete, phronesis, eunoia, and the lack of them. It's not a princely pursuit, nor you Cinderella.
  • tim wood
    7.7k
    @baker, @T Clark Am I to infer that both of you prefer stupidity to reasonable alternatives, including reason itself, And have settled yourselves down to enjoy your ride to hell-in-a-handbasket, notwithstanding that in the years 2021 and following, perhaps for a thousand years, in taking that trip you take others with you, in short victimize them on your stupidity?
  • AJJ
    711
    I get the impression that many peoples’ definition of stupid is “person who thinks enough opposite things to what I think”.
  • tim wood
    7.7k
    I get the impression that most peoples’ definition of stupid is “person who thinks enough opposite things to what I think”.AJJ

    And if you think instead of going with impressions, what then?
  • Manuel
    1.4k
    I suppose one way to start would be to try an identify a situation or a scenario which most people would consider stupid. If we can't agree on that, then there's a problem.

    What, then, is universally stupid (most of the time)?
  • AJJ
    711


    I have criteria for arguing well and I consider someone stupid when they fall far short of it. I think I often overstate the extent to which people do though.
  • baker
    2.5k
    Am I to infer that both of you prefer stupidity to reasonable alternatives, including reason itself, And have settled yourselves down to enjoy your ride to hell-in-a-handbasket, notwithstanding that in the years 2021 and following, perhaps for a thousand years, in taking that trip you take others with you, in short victimize them on your stupidity?tim wood
    There you go, brother Wood.
    Good luck with ruling the world!
  • tim wood
    7.7k
    What, then, is universally stupid (most of the time)?Manuel
    Most generally, and possibly uselessly so, making things worse than they need to be. How much better would the world be if all, even just within the ambit of their own powers, each day made the world a better place than a worse?

    And in consideration of that standard, does it not mark the stupid with a harsh, inexorable, and bright light.
  • tim wood
    7.7k
    There you go, brother Wood.
    Good luck with ruling the world!
    baker

    Try responding to the OP instead of shooting the messenger. Or in broader terms, stop being stupid!
  • Manuel
    1.4k


    Yeah, I don't think people think they are intentionally making the world a worse place by doing what they do - not implying that you said this by the way.

    It seems to me that that would then be an issue of what area of concern would be the one you should focus on improving, instead of stupidity, per se.
  • baker
    2.5k
    Your OP _is_ the messenger. You always talk about yourself, you set yourself up as the arbiter of wisdom, truth, whatever it is that you like. You're incapable of presenting and discussing a topic on a socially relevant issue without being an asshole.
  • tim wood
    7.7k
    It seems to me that that would then be an issue of what area of concern would be the one you should focus on improving, instead of stupidity, per se.Manuel

    Point! Assume ignorance and educate! But there's so much, and so little time (Ieft).
  • Gary M Washburn
    213
    I'm with Baker on this point. Platitudes are not opinions. They are lines in the sand. Or, as Gump would say, Stupid is....

    The world we are born into tries to expropriate our identity. But that expropriation serves us as foil to who we rally are. It is only in distinction from that expropriation that we become and know who we are. But all too many of us fail to avail ourselves of this foil to convention and convince ourselves that we are who the world, community, neighborhood, family, etc., made us. And others of a different ilk threaten thaat facile self-knowledge. Stupidity is that failure to let ourselves be discerned from our upbringing. And he and she are smart indeed who use our cultural differences to ratify our distinction from our cultural similarities.

    It takes a certain low cunning to realize greed, but not intelligence.

    Well, this is going too fast for me.
  • tim wood
    7.7k
    You're incapable of presenting and discussing a topic on a socially relevant issue without being an asshole.baker
    So discuss, already! Or tell me why you are so concerned with assholes?

    Dismissing stupidity as a mere social issue has been standard practice, and in most cases probably best - to dismiss it. I find the world a place where even that becomes a luxury no longer affordable, except at an unacceptable price. Or are you, where you live, lucky enough to be unaffected by such things, or at least to think you're unaffected by them.
  • tim wood
    7.7k
    Stupidity is that failure to let ourselves be discerned from our upbringing.Gary M Washburn
    Nice!
    And he and she are smart indeed who use our cultural differences to ratify our distinction from our cultural similarities.Gary M Washburn
    In the service of self-knowledge, again nice! These, imo, on the way to defeating both ignorance and stupidity.
  • baker
    2.5k
    Or tell me why you are so concerned with assholes?tim wood
    Because at the end of the day, they get to rule the world. And this makes me think that maybe, this is an evolutionary advantage, or the Truth About The World, and as such, not something to repudiate.

    Dismissing stupidity as a mere social issue has been standard practice, and in most cases probably best - to dismiss it. I find the world a place where even that becomes a luxury no longer affordable, except at an unacceptable price. Or are you, where you live, lucky enough to be unaffected by such things, or at least to think you're unaffected by them.
    This tells me you have great self-confidence.
    I try to never confuse stupidity for what might very well be strategy. I find that people are generally strategic, not stupid. They just play dumb, because this can give them an advantage.
  • Gary M Washburn
    213


    Maybe add the h?

    It's hard to know what ignorance is these days, when even the most expert source is largely ignorant of the broader details of his own field. Anyone with a cell-phone knows it all! But what can smarts do that AI can't? I was on hold the other day, and every so often a machine-voice would run through the same delay info, in the same voice. A living voice would make every repetition nuanced. Kierkegaard said repetition was impossible, and that this meant we are incapable of imitating Christ. But the variations we bring to life, even when repetition seems to be required, the avoidance of mechanical repetition, is one way we show what intelligence is, and what we know is so much more worthy of us than repeating the same.
  • tim wood
    7.7k
    I try to never confuse stupidity for what might very well be strategy. I find that people are generally strategic, not stupid. They just play dumb, because this can give them an advantage.baker

    Point here. I think you're exactly right. But against that I appeal to longer term interests. That is, they may be tactical, but lack strategic understanding. For humanity writ large, that may be fatal and soon.

    And shall we be ruled by truth or power? Power is shallow, capricious, and ephemeral; truth rings solid, is usually consistent, and endures. I favor truth. And to be sure, a stupid power could kill us all, and but for even the wisdom of individuals, would have already.
  • tim wood
    7.7k
    Maybe add the h?Gary M Washburn
    Lol! That took a while. But why? They're your ideas and I buy them!
  • Olivier5
    2.9k
    The OP resonates. Allow me a French tangent.

    I used to love François Cavanna, a journalist and writer who spent a lot of time engaged in what he called "la guerre aux cons".

    "Con" is a very common French slang for "stupid". Originally it's the same word and meaning as the English "cunt". There is a touch of perversion in the "con" concept: le con is not just stupid by lack of education, but stupid by choice. He rejects knowledge. Also he treats others rudely. E.g.: les Parisiens sont tous des cons.

    Cavanna founded the magazines Hara Kiri and its successor Charlie Hebdo. He believed that in the war against stupidity, the media was a front line.

    But he also said: Les cons gagnent toujours. Ils sont trop.
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