Wednesday Opinion: Stupidity

The 150th truck to get stuck underneath this bridge outside St Petersburg. Yes there’s a warning sign. They just ignore it.

Yes, I know it’s Thursday. I’m trying to finish a book.

I’ve been thinking about stupidity lately. I mean, whatever your politics are, half the country thinks you’re stupid, and you probably think they’re stupid and rude. Everybody seems to think it’s only the other side that’s rude. This is because nobody ever calls you stupid for agreeing with them.

So. Stupidity. It’s a word that gets thrown around a lot.

My ingiht (if you can call it that) is that there are three separate kinds of stupidity. Or at least things that get labled stupidity, even though two of them aren’t really.

Type 1: plain old stupidity. Simple lack of brain processing power, the opposite of intelligence. The thing IQ is supposed to measure, the thing that gets you into Mensa if you have enough of it. We all think we know intelligence when we see it, but we tend to forget that it’s not necessarily spread evenly over all subjects. There are plenty of people who can’t math but can history, for example.

Type 2: misinformation. People who say there are only 2 genders need to talk to a biologist. (What we all learned in school is the kiddie version.) Each individual intersex condition is rare, but together they account for 1% of the population. You’ve probably met loads of intersex people without knowing it Why would they tell you, especially if they think you’re likely to be mean about it? In some cases they might no know themselves, unless they’ve had their DNA sequenced. They exist. Fact.
Of course the problem is that the world is large and complicated, there are only 24 hours in a day, and it’s impossible to know about everything.

Type 3: emotions overpowering logic This is probably the biggest category. It’s not something done by wicked, horrible, no good people. It’s something done by human beings. All of us. Particularly when we’re scared, tired, or hungry.
When you’re mad that your job pays peanuts and your rent is sky high, it’s all too easy to grab the first explanation offered and not think it through.

Nobody likes to admit they were wrong, which is a bit weird, because humans constantly get things wrong. Ironically, people who can never admit they’re wrong never learn. People who can admit it, at least to themselves, slowly become less wrong.

Posted by sheila

Sheila came to La Palma with a six month contract and has stayed 24 years so far. She used to work as a software engineer at the observatory, but now she's a writer and Starlight guide.

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