The Laws of Human Stupidity
Always and inevitably everyone underestimates the number of stupid individuals in circulation.
The probability that a certain person will be stupid is independent of any other characteristic of that person.
A stupid person is a person who causes losses to another person or to a group of persons while himself deriving no gain and even possibly incurring losses.
Non-stupid people always underestimate the damaging power of stupid individuals. In particular non-stupid people constantly forget that at all times and places and under any circumstances to deal and/or associate with stupid people always turns out to be a costly mistake.
A stupid person is the most dangerous type of person.
Corollary: a stupid person is more dangerous than a pillager.
The 2 Factors of Human Behaviour (Self,Others)
Benefits and losses that an individual causes to him or herself.
Benefits and losses that an individual causes to others.
Lets represent the combinations 2x2 of factors (Self, Other) in cuadrants as (win,win), (win, lose), (lose, win) and (lose, lose)
Who contribute to society and who leverage their contributions into reciprocal benefits
Who pursue their own self-interest even when doing so poses a net detriment to societal welfare
Who contribute to society but are taken advantage of by it (and especially by the "bandit" sector of it)
(lose,lose) Stupid people
Whose efforts are counterproductive to both their and others' interests
Note about (lose, win) Extreme altruists and pacifists may willingly and consciously (rather than helplessly) accept a place in this category for moral or ethical reasons.
There is a 5th category represented as (0,0) of ineffectual people.
Corollaries First Law, by Giancarlo Livraghi
In each of us there is a factor of stupidity, which is always larger than we suppose
When the stupidity of one person combines with the stupidity of others, the impact grows geometrically – i.e. by multiplication, not addition, of the individual stupidity factors
The combination of intelligence in different people is more difficult than the combination of stupidity
See Also: A Short Introduction to the History of Human Stupidity by Walter B. Pitkin
Comes from the Latin verb stupere, for being numb or astonished, and is related to stupor.
Stupidity is a quality or state of being stupid, or an act or idea that exhibits properties of being stupid.
James F. Welles defines: The term may be used to designate a mentality which is considered to be informed, deliberate and maladaptive
Wilfred Bion considered that psychological projection created a barrier against learning anything new, and thus its own form of pseudo-stupidity
Otto Fenichel: People become stupid ad hoc, that is, when they do not want to understand, where understanding would cause anxiety or guilt feeling, or would endanger an existing neurotic equilibrium
Jung: it requires no art to become stupid; the whole art lies in extracting wisdom from stupidity. Stupidity is the mother of the wise, but cleverness never
Welles distinguishes stupidity from ignorance; one must know they are acting in their own worst interest. Secondly, it must be a choice, not a forced act or accident. Lastly, it requires the activity to be maladaptive, in that it is in the worst interest of the actor, and specifically done to prevent adaption to new data or existing circumstances
Kurt von Hammerstein-Equord
I divide my officers into four groups. There are clever, diligent, stupid, and lazy officers. Usually two characteristics are combined. Some are clever and diligent - their place is the General Staff. The next lot are stupid and lazy, they make up 90 percent of every army and are suited to routine duties. Anyone who is both clever and lazy is qualified for the highest leadership duties, because he possesses the intellectual clarity and the composure necessary for difficult decisions. One must beware of anyone who is stupid and diligent - he must not be entrusted with any responsibility because he will always cause only mischief
Kurt Freiherr von Hammerstein-Equord (26 September 1878 – 24 April 1943) was a German general who served for a period as Commander-in-Chief of the German Army. He was an ardent opponent of Hitler and the Nazi regime.
The Three Friends of Stupidity
From Part Four of “The Power of Stupidity” by Giancarlo Livraghi 2002
Carlo M. Cipolla
Carlo M. Cipolla (August 15, 1922 – September 5, 2000) was an Italian economic historian
Published (in Italian) the title Allegro ma non troppo (1988) The Basic Laws of Human Stupidity
Stupid people act as a group, more powerful by far than major organizations such as the Mafia and the industrial complex, which without regulations, leaders or manifesto nonetheless manages to operate to great effect and with incredible coordination
Quote by Albert Einstein
Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the former quote in Gestalt Therapy Verbatim by Frederick S. Perls.
Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity
Among competing hypotheses, the one with the fewest assumptions should be selected
Occurs where people fail to adequately assess their level of competence — or specifically, their incompetence — at a task and thus consider themselves much more competent than everyone else. (people who are too stupid to know how stupid they are)
Competent people tend to underestimate their ability compared to others
Not Enough Know
A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. A small amount of knowledge can mislead a person into thinking that they're an expert because this small amount of knowledge isn't a well known fact
Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge
Without a clear indication of the author's intent, it is difficult or impossible to tell the difference between an expression of sincere extremism and a parody of extremism.
Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on or by imbeciles who really mean it (Laurence J. Peter)
Real stupidity beats artificial intelligence every time
How Not To Look Stupid
A study offers a scientific answer.
Balázs Aczél, a psychology professor at Eotvos Lorand University in Budapest is a co-author of a study, Aczél and his colleagues gathered 180 pieces of writing from the news, blog sites, and social media deemed as "stupid"
Researchers noticed 3 different types of behaviors most often deemed as stupid.
Their statistical analysis of the data found that people regard stupid action in three different categories:
(1) not maintaining a balance between confidence and abilities
(2) failures of attention
(3) lack of control
Examples of the 3 categories:
Aczél term is "confident ignorance," when someone is overconfident about their ability to do something. A driver refuses to ask for directions, and end up lost.
2. Lack of control
On a diet but buys cookies in the grocery store "just in case."
Your mind is wandering or thinking in other thing. Crash!!!
Researchers noted that more is needed to determine how much of their findings are influenced by culture and shared expectations.
The level of observed stupidity was dependent on the level of responsibility and the consequences of the action.