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Jedrek Stepien

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The essence of stupidity

"It's because they're stupid, that's why. That is why everybody does everything" said once Homer Simpson to his father.

What is stupidity? What is its source? Is it a matter of a low IQ level or does it essence lie somewhere else?

Is a chicken stupid?
Can a professor be stupid?
What is the difference between stupid and crazy?
How long can a nonsense live?
Can tradition be stupid?

Please, share your thoughts about the real stupidity and it's source. What is stupid? Who is stupid?

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    Oct 1 2013: I love when people question things that aren't normally questioned. This one got me thinking - and I love when someone makes me think in ways I don't usually think.

    I don't see people as stupid. Sometimes I may disagree with what someone does or how they think. Sometimes I think those people lack life experience or that my life experience disagrees with theirs.

    It's narrow-minded to label someone "stupid". Everyone has a limited perception of things no matter how intelligent they are. So in my opinion we should accept and respect those who have less life experience than us or a one that's different to ours.
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    Oct 4 2013: I really do hate labels. Those who label or point out short comings of others is to take attention away from their own inadequacies. We could be ignorant, uneducated, in the dark, unaware, unacquainted, unapprised, unfamiliar, etc ...

    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.

    But just or the record I have done some stupid things .... But does doing something stupid make one stupid.

    I love sky diving .... I have been called stupid for doing it.

    Along these lines one of my favorite quotes is: It is better to be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt. Now that would be stupid.

    I wish you well. Bob.
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    Oct 2 2013: Stupid is a word. The word has no meaning, we infuse it with meaning. Meaning is culturally derrived and driven, but also individually. It means whatever you make it mean. Nothing has meaning untill meaning is brought along. And meaning leads to brainwashing or conformity. It is a powerful way to instigate and control behaviour. On second thought, is stupid something that relates to living outside the boundaries of conformity?
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      Oct 2 2013: Brilliant
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        Oct 6 2013: The fourth most prolific inventor in history, upon whose work crucial developments in the modern industrialized world are founded, was called "stupid"
        .."addled"..(which means a rotten egg that doesn't hatch) is what his teacher called a young boy named Thomas Edison. Edison was labeled not just "Stupid" but "terminally stupid". This ended Edison's three months of official schooling.

        Can you imagine where we would be today if that 'WORD' had gone into his head? (coming from his school officials!!)

        ..."My mother was the making of me. She was so true, so sure of me; and I felt I had something to live for, someone I must not disappoint"...he recalled later. How lucky for us that his mother taught him at home!!

        This is why every child deserves a champion, in their parent(s), in their teacher(s), in their big brother or sister, or in a true friend.
        http://www.ted.com/talks/rita_pierson_every_kid_needs_a_champion.html
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    Oct 2 2013: One thing really worth remembering:

    " If you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will go through it's whole life believing its stupid ", said Einstein

    There is no such a thing as a stupid human being or a stupid animal. An act or behavior can be (a person's actions or behavior).

    Words definitely worth hearing:
    http://www.ted.com/talks/ken_robinson_says_schools_kill_creativity.html

    I appreciate the sense of humor Jedrek.... Humor is essential for finding the answers to your question.
  • Oct 1 2013: Stupidity is the act of failing despite of having everything to succeed. Someone how fails because of the lack of resources is not stupid. We usually don't call stupid someone just for making a bad decision, but we immediately exclaim "so stupid!" when we can predict the right course of action and see someone taking a different road that would obviously lead them to failure.
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    Sep 30 2013: Einstein said the chief difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has a limit. Marilyn Vos Savant (world's highest living IQ) confesses to acts of stupidity. Failing to intelligently apply the lessons one has learned is a good definition. Obviously if you have never learned that closing the hood of your car while your head is under it is a bad idea, and you do it, it would not, technically, be a stupid move. It will be a stupid move if you ever do it again. Some say to expect different results from identical actions is the definition of stupidity.
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      Oct 1 2013: "Obviously if you have never learned that closing the hood of your car while your head is under it is a bad idea," ...... is a super example and a helpful one because its memorable. The humor in your comment made me laugh....You lifted my spirit today and for that I thank you:-)

      " To acquire knowledge, one must study; but to acquire wisdom, one must observe."
      ~ Marilyn vos Savant
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        Oct 2 2013: Laugh and the world laughs with you. I learned that by observing. You realize that if you witness someone closing their car hood on their head you will now be called stupid the first time you do it, if you ever do it. ;--D
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          Oct 2 2013: I think I may have done it more than once.
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    Oct 5 2013: The essence of stupidity seems to be immortality, at least so far, as it successfully resist to go extinct.

    In the worst of all imaginable worst-case scenarios, stupidity was the expressive form of dark-matter by which it interacts with usual matter, which indeed would add a highly discouraging flavor to this aspect an to physics ...

    It takes a minimum of two chicken to be certain of a stupid one, but it takes just one professors for similar results. Craziness can be treated by medication, stupidity cant. The oldest evidence of nonsense known to scientists was carbon-dated way back into the stone age and which is still alive today. It never got published what it was, out of triviality reasons. Theoretical physicists calculated the first mathematical evidence of stupidity exactly 0.000000024 picoseconds after the big bang, which then and to everybody's concern vanished soon after into a dark corner within their calculations... Tradition was tested positive to be receptive towards stupidity, yet does not require it to function.

    The 'who' in 'who is stupid' is a variable although each possible variable in itself can have the quality of a constant.

    The 'what' in 'what is stupid' was found to be of relativistic nature and its informational content was measured to travel thrice as fast as the speed of light, which of course, turned out to be quite stupid to most experimental physicists.

    Last thing known to science and found by Engineers is, that stupidity isn't magnetic, so ferrous metals won't be attracted by it. This actually helps stupid people to remain unnoticed if they so chose to ... unfortunately ...

    Thats my best take on stupidity and it may well be self-explanatory to some ...

    :o)
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    Oct 2 2013: Well, you can test people's stupidity, according to this illustration:

    http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-YRsn55kXCik/T_MgSuGcGUI/AAAAAAAAGYw/fketdDimcGY/s1600/StupidityTest.jpg
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    Oct 2 2013: Interesting about the chicken~!:)
    I definitely think chickens are more stupid than me because my IQ is higher. And I have to make a confession my IQ isn't high enough to master some scientific expertise and technologies or solve some difficult math problems so as to invent scientific new things. I think I'm stupid when encountering these scientific professional things. But I don't feel that bad, because I know where my weakness lies and could try to avert it and develop other strengths. I can improve myself through learning from others and life experiences with various resources. IQ doesn't decide every result in our life. And if I have the positive attitude to learn more things ,I can let other people think I'm not ignorant and stupid. But if I don't want to admit the fact and change my attitude, I think I will be stupid all my life.
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    Oct 2 2013: "Stupid" is just someone on the learning curve of life, even if they commit the same "stupid" mistake again and again. We are all slow-learners in some area of life.
    It is therefore a value-laden word by which some people judge other people; ie: it is highly subjective - and therefore does not carry much meaning except for the person doing the judging of another as "stupid".
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      Oct 3 2013: Well said Joshua!

      We are all slow in some areas...it is a judgment, which is subjective and does not carry much meaning except for the person who is judging another to be "stupid".
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    Oct 2 2013: I have read that of the eighty most popular breeds of dogs, mine is 78th for brains. This attribute in the case of dogs is measured by the facility with which they learn obedience-type skills.

    But then my sister tells me dogs are on average smarter than cats. She qualifies this by saying she is certain her Savannah Brown (cat) is smarter than my dog.

    I do not care in the slightest. My dog is a treasure to me.

    The only thing "stupid" and "crazy" have in common is that both are colloquial rather than technical terms that are used with a lot of poetic license.
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    Oct 1 2013: I think that stupidity doesn't really exist in human form. We know that ignorance exists (someone that has a limited point of view and hasn't learnt to think big), but this is often caused by third party manipulation.

    As for life experience (Simona)... Some of the wisest people I know have lived in the same village their whole lives and never really done anything at all. So it depends what you define as life experience. Obviously there are plenty of shmucks without life experience, but on my travels I've made just as many "experienced people" that still live with their eyes closed.

    I don't think I.Q comes into it. It only measures half the brain, the logical and sequential left side. The all seeing and whollistic right side (which we use to base our intuition and instinct on) is largely ignored in this test. If you test the right hand side of my brain and find out that I cannot paint, then you might call me stupid. On the other hand, if you find out that I have a powerful and accurate instinct, you still might not be inclined to call me intelligent as I can't actually do anything.

    Chickens are relatively intelligent, they take care of themselves and they communicate well.

    Intelligent people are those who can fool you into thinking that they are stupid and then achieve what you never thought possible of them, be it a good or bad achievement (Bush).

    Over all, I'm inclined to agree with Simona. Stupidity is a relative concept.
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      Oct 2 2013: I agree with you and Simona because lots of my relatives are stupid.
  • Oct 1 2013: I believe both stupidity and intelligence are situation and time based. By that I mean, an individual that is very intelligent in the jungles of South America would probably b e lost in New York City and make stupid decisions. By time based, I mean everyone, even those who are "experts" in the field will make stupid mistakes - like the mars probe that crashed because one person calculated the force in yards while the sensing device calculated in meters.

    On your questions:
    1. a wild chicken is smart, a domestic chicken is stupid.
    2. of course a professor can be stupid, depending on time/situation/etc
    3. crazy is difficult to fix, stupid is either very easy or impossible.
    4. forever
    5. tradition, yes because the situation has changed. A rabbi and I were discussing the ban on pork in the Jewish and Muslim religions. He said that pigs use roughly 1.5 to 2 times the amount of water to live in the desert and the spoilage was greater with pork. Not sure if true but seemed to make sense and hence the ban. Do those reasons still hold true today? probably not.

    Let me close by saying everyone is stupid at sometime or other and it is an act that is a mistake or outrageous given the time and situation.
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      Oct 2 2013: Watch out for setting yourself up to be quoted out of context.... "Let me close by saying everyone is stupid."
      • Oct 2 2013: thanks - 8>)) - there have been times when I felt that and included myself in that group
  • Oct 7 2013: One barrier to better thinking is the growth of the power of the unessential rites, regulations & catch-22's in society; especially if there is no clear reason for their existence. Few people can make efficient use of trivial nonsense; pile it in the way, and things bog down.
    Without these, people usually do pretty good.
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    Oct 4 2013: Stupidity isn`t one thing, one feeling. It splits into many different brunches, as I can see it. For example:
    1 - stupidity by ignorance, it`s like a child doesn`t realize the results of simple actions. Just 2 weeks ago I was in amazing Chinese park with lake. Jade waters of it was fuul of koi fishes, beatiful communicative creatures. I saw how chinese drops garbage in the lake and one yang mother outours soap liquid for soap-bubbles into the lake. And the same in several places.

    2 - stupidity because of poor experience. We all have such feeling. If it stops, it couses losses and the way to the first case. If we overcomes it, we can learn more and more.

    3 - profitable stupidity, I guess it`s an artificial thing. I saw how people use theif image of simple stupid confused person to have more help for free, also to cover their laziness and poor work results. All time someone else do their job without any thanks, but such people have profit from everything. I hate it. But many times I saw it happens. It`s a i=kind of parasitism covered by stupidity.

    4 - stupidity because situation becames complicated too much or too quickly. Brain can`t separate unrelevant datas from important so it is overwork without result.

    I can tell about not less then 15 kinds of stupidity. So what kind do you mean?..
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    Oct 3 2013: A book written by Cipolla a few years back addressed stupidity. He said that a group of stupid people are more dangerous then the military industrial complex or even the Italian Mafia. I learned through personal experience that a large group of people revert to the collective mentality of the most stupid individual in the group.
    I got out of the group before I was in personal danger.
    I don't confuse stupid with ignorance, although stupid people often do not have higher IQs and little education..
    There is no essence of stupidity, I see it as a defined personality trait.
  • Oct 3 2013: i sometimes think of myself a bit stupid:like to cling to sth steadily.Later I found I am not stupid at all:)
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      Oct 3 2013: I think that there are times when we feel a bit foolish for making the same mistakes over and over again.
      And then again, we may feel not knowledgeable enough to discuss certain topics with certain individuals...that can be awkward.
      I personally have said out loud "Oh, that was stupid of me".....when I do something foolish.....but it all boils down to mistakes we make. After all we are not perfect.

      I think, like may on here, that calling people stupid is not a good thing.
      Actions can be stupid....or foolish....or dumb.....or neglectful.....or silly......but we all make mistakes.

      I think from being a teacher, I am a bit sensitive to the word. I dislike when students call each other stupid. I discourage my students from using the word to label each other.

      Does the word exist in Chinese? How is it used?
      • Oct 4 2013: Yes,of course.Lots of students are used to calling others idiots or stupid...I said to them :wide people look on others positive sides but negative,then can learn a lot from others to help ourselves more excellent.
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          Oct 4 2013: You will have to explain your phrase "wide people"......lost in translation I'm afraid.
      • Oct 5 2013: Lol,Dear Mary:)LOL,big typo.I meant'When people look on others positive sides but negative,then they can learn a lot...
        Happy weekend!
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          Oct 5 2013: That's funny....it was a typo? OK now I see.....Happy weekend right back at you! :)
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      Oct 3 2013: Dear Edulover,
      I'm very glad you discover that you are not stupid because you are not!!!

      So glad you discourage the use of the word with students Mary M. When we label people in any way, we simply deny ourselves the opportunity to get more information about a person.
  • Oct 3 2013: Stupid is a non-technical, colloquial term, but it does contain some meaning.

    Lately it has become pejorative, and I think that is a shame because most stupid people are great people and are often a lot of fun.

    But for those of you who think that no one is stupid, or that there is no longer any use for the term, please check out the Darwin Awards. (http://www.darwinawards.com) When someone manages to get themselves killed by doing something that the vast majority of people know is self destructive, I think the best word for describing these people is stupid.
  • Oct 3 2013: words mean different things in different contexts. for example not knowing how to read or do math might make you stupid living in Chicago or New York but reading and math would be irrelavent skills if you lived around the Amazon Valley.. see humans have different knowledge depending on certain conditions, i think if you understand you current environment and can be self-sufficient within it then that is itself enough.. animals of different varieties
    have different forms of knowledge each one suitable for their own survival
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    Oct 1 2013: the stupidity it can be the spontaniety like it can be the logic ,the bad who'll do the biggest damages ,from the history and what we see ,the biggest stupid stupidity did ever by humans when they did let the intolerence controled them and when we say intolerance of principals with logic we'll notice that the IQ is the biggest stupid principals we us now to partitionned peoples compared to the EQ and like the comparison is not a reason ,would like to ask you a stupid question ,it's still like riddle for human , if you can find the answer to it ,you'll know that the stupidity it can be the origine of the smartness:
    WHY DID THE CHICKEN CROSS THE ROAD?
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    Oct 1 2013: STUPID is generated by our involvement in groups..at which point how we look in a group means more then truth...how do I look is more important then WHO AM I?..the need for our groups works against us in this way,so we feel if the group approves of us and move accordingly,like a politician we edit are opinions for approval. Rarely without a group of truth seeking,knowledgable beings who will test our credibility do we feel pressured to tell an accurate truth...more often group approval is the priority
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    Oct 1 2013: I think stupid is related to intelligence,ignorance and attitude.
    If someone's intelligence isn't as high as others he could be considered stupid by the more intelligent ones. This could hurt people and frustrate them when they know the fact.
    In most cases, people's intelligence is at the similar level, so who studies more will get more knowledge about the world, he will have a broader thinking and more insights of many things than others do. Through learning, he can get rid of the ignorance which makes people think you are stupid because you don't know what they know and what they think you should have already known.I think this part includes EQ,too.
    And attitude, I'd like to say if some people always think they are always right and they don't want to accept others' ideas and correct concepts because of pride ,arrogance etc, they may consider these ideas and correct concepts as well as people who hold these opinions are stupid. Their attitudes may distort the fact that they're wrong. In that case, if they say"stupid" to others, stupid is just a misunderstanding and misjudgment.
  • Sep 30 2013: No one knows. Our understanding of stupidity and intelligence is still at an extremely low level. It is most likely that we have yet to develop an effective vocabulary for the study of this aspect of human behavior. We have tried to measure intelligence with tests like the IQ test, only to realize that that entire approach is applicable to only a portion of the population and limited to specific purposes.

    The entire paradigm that there is something internal to us that is "intelligence" and that it is reflected in our behavior could be incorrect, or perhaps just useless. A rigidly empirical approach would discard notions of intelligence and stupidity and focus on measuring the utility and effectiveness of human behavior, and perhaps relating the behavior to brain activity.

    Can tradition be stupid? Of course. Some hospital doctors still work the traditional 24 hour shifts, even after scientific studies have demonstrated that doctors suffer from fatigue in exactly the same way as other human beings. Stupid.
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    Sep 30 2013: Stupidity is in the moment and situational. A stupid person is one that those moments occur frequently.