The Basic Laws of Human Stupidity

Franco

Jedi Master
I read the web version recently and I think it highlights an issue with the way certain people do things.

Because some people are irrational you can't reasonably predict what they will do.

For instance, someone cuts you off in traffic, you zap them, they hit the breaks and run up to your car with a gun, kill you and spend the rest of their lives in jail.

Nobody gained anything and the person zapping the other crazy/stupid person could not predict that would happen as it doesn't make any sense.

I think the word "stupid" might cause issues for some people but I think it's a combination of low intelligence mixed with extreme selfishness.

There are many people with low intelligence who are nice people.

Anyways, from what I understand the author mostly wrote the content in a joking way and it was only meant to be viewed by a small amount of professors, it took them something like 50 years to get him to actually publish it.

I think "idiot" is probably more accurate than "stupid".
 

l apprenti de forgeron

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
I think the word idiot can serve well too (even in the ancient Greek etymology idiot shows be someone destroyer of society, for not involved in politics and just goes about his selfish business). The interesting thing is that both stupid or idiot can not change, they are what they are. Unlike the "imbécil" in Spanish (moron maybe would be the translation) that's who still can not read/write. But in this case s/he can learn, grow and change.
 

EmeraldHope

The Living Force
I think that the word stupid in this article can also be seen in a different context as well. "Programs" and "Stupid" can be interchanged in many instances. As we know, a deep seated program can be triggered and will run no matter how much one may intellectually know better oftentimes. For the majority, they do not even know of "programs", so it would seem "ignorant" would perhaps be better than "stupid". In any case, it makes one an agent of chaos and puts everyone at the mercy of the " random"


Pathology though, is always an agent of chaos, and will always put others at the mercy of the random. The only protection is awareness, which also cures the ignorance little by little. It is also a great cure for the "helpless"outlines in the article as well.
 

Arwenn

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I thought it was an interesting article. The dumbing down of the populace mentally and emotionally, the carb-rich diets that are the norm and fluoride poisoned waters obviously don't help with being able to think clearly.

It also got me thinking about Laura's article on OPs here, where the Cs mention that about 50% of the population consist of OPs, who are between densities, have no souls or higher centers as such, and are a drain on normal souled individuals' energies, as well as the information on psychopaths.

Actually, I thought that if one inserted 'psychopathy' for where the article mentions 'stupidity', it would be a pretty succinct description of pathologically afflicted 'humans', except for law number 3. For example, as per Carlos's 5 Basic Laws (comments and emphases in brackets are mine):
1. Always and inevitably everyone underestimates the number of stupid (psychopathic) individuals in circulation.
2. The probability that a certain person be stupid (psychopathic) is independent of any other characteristic of that person. (for e.g. some psychopaths can be animal lovers)
3. A stupid person (psychopath) is a person who caused losses to another person or to a group of persons while himself deriving no gain and even possibly incurring losses. (not always true when it comes to psychopaths)
4. Non-stupid (normal) people always underestimate the damaging power of stupid individuals (psychopaths). In particular non-stupid (normal) people constantly forget that at all times and places and under any circumstances to deal and/or associate with stupid people (psychopaths) always turns out to be costly mistake.
5. A stupid person (psychopath) is the most dangerous type of person.

In particular, his discussion of the power of stupidity is pertinent to the topic of psychopathy. For example, he says
It is not difficult to understand how social, political and institutional power enhances the damaging potential of a stupid person. ...Essentially stupid people are dangerous and damaging because reasonable people find it difficult to imagine and understand unreasonable behavior

Al Today said:
As I have always said: "Ignorance can be taught where stupidity is genetic".


It is my firm conviction, supported by years of observation and experimentation, that men are not equal, that some are stupid and others are not, and that the difference is determined by nature and not by cultural forces or factors. One is stupid in the same way one is red-haired; one belongs to the stupid set as one belongs to a blood group. A stupid man is born a stupid man by an act of Providence.

Great quote AI! :D
 

Thomas Alan

The Living Force
Cyndi said:
I think that the word stupid in this article can also be seen in a different context as well. "Programs" and "Stupid" can be interchanged in many instances. As we know, a deep seated program can be triggered and will run no matter how much one may intellectually know better oftentimes. For the majority, they do not even know of "programs", so it would seem "ignorant" would perhaps be better than "stupid". In any case, it makes one an agent of chaos and puts everyone at the mercy of the " random"


Pathology though, is always an agent of chaos, and will always put others at the mercy of the random. The only protection is awareness, which also cures the ignorance little by little. It is also a great cure for the "helpless"outlines in the article as well.

I thought your equating stupidity with programs was very insightful, Cyndi. If a thought, emotion or behavior does not help anyone, others or ourselves, why give it energy? That, of course, would be stupid.

Of course, programs are often instantaneous so we have to be alert to them. Why am I doing this? Does it help at all? Why continue with it?

Cleaning the machine helps make us less Stupid!

Mac
 

HiThere

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Laura said:
These are Cipolla's five fundamental laws of 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.

Sounds about right to me. :)
 

Keit

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Mac said:
Cyndi said:
I thought your equating stupidity with programs was very insightful, Cyndi. If a thought, emotion or behavior does not help anyone, others or ourselves, why give it energy? That, of course, would be stupid.

Of course, programs are often instantaneous so we have to be alert to them. Why am I doing this? Does it help at all? Why continue with it?

Cleaning the machine helps make us less Stupid!

Mac

Yes, insightful indeed! It surely helps to understand Gurdgieff's idea of everyone being some kind of idiot, with a specific chief feature! And how often, particularly if we are unconscious of our inner workings, we sabotage our own efforts despite seemingly good intentions.
 

Laura

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I like the comparison of the genetically stupid to psychopaths; there's some merit in that. At least for a lot of them.

But there are some generally ignorant people who appear to be stupid but it's not incurable if they can get over the Dunning-Kruger effect and acquire some insight.

Here's an article that offers some clues as to why many people think and do stupid things:

Why we do dumb or irrational things: 10 brilliant social psychology studies

Synopses - you can link to the actual articles/studies by going to the link.

1. The Halo Effect: When Your Own Mind is a Mystery
The 'halo effect' is a classic finding in social psychology. It is the idea that global evaluations about a person (e.g. she is likeable) bleed over into judgements about their specific traits (e.g. she is intelligent). Hollywood stars demonstrate the halo effect perfectly. Because they are often attractive and likeable we naturally assume they are also intelligent, friendly, display good judgement and so on.

2. How and Why We Lie to Ourselves: Cognitive Dissonance
The ground-breaking social psychological experiment of Festinger and Carlsmith (1959) provides a central insight into the stories we tell ourselves about why we think and behave the way we do. The experiment is filled with ingenious deception so the best way to understand it is to imagine you are taking part. So sit back, relax and travel back. The time is 1959 and you are an undergraduate student at Stanford University...

3. War, Peace and the Role of Power in Sherif's Robbers Cave Experiment
The Robbers Cave experiment, a classic study of prejudice and conflict, has at least one hidden story. The well-known story emerged in the decades following the experiment as textbook writers adopted a particular retelling. With repetition people soon accepted this story as reality, forgetting it is just one version of events, one interpretation of a complex series of studies.

4. Our Dark Hearts: The Stanford Prison Experiment
The famous 'Stanford Prison Experiment' argues a strong case for the power of the situation in determining human behaviour. Not only that but this experiment has also inspired a novel, two films, countless TV programs, re-enactments and even a band.

5. Just Following Orders? Stanley Milgram's Obedience Experiment
What psychological experiment could be so powerful that simply taking part might change your view of yourself and human nature? What experimental procedure could provoke some people to profuse sweating and trembling, leaving 10% extremely upset, while others broke into unexplained hysterical laughter?

6. Why We All Stink as Intuitive Psychologists: The False Consensus Bias
Many people quite naturally believe they are good 'intuitive psychologists', thinking it is relatively easy to predict other people's attitudes and behaviours. We each have information built up from countless previous experiences involving both ourselves and others so surely we should have solid insights? No such luck.

7. Why Groups and Prejudices Form So Easily: Social Identity Theory
People's behaviour in groups is fascinating and frequently disturbing. As soon as humans are bunched together in groups we start to do odd things: copy other members of our group, favour members of own group over others, look for a leader to worship and fight other groups.

8. How to Avoid a Bad Bargain: Don't Threaten
Bargaining is one of those activities we often engage in without quite realising it. It doesn't just happen in the boardroom, or when we ask our boss for a raise or down at the market, it happens every time we want to reach an agreement with someone. This agreement could be as simple as choosing a restaurant with a friend, or deciding which TV channel to watch. At the other end of the scale, bargaining can affect the fate of nations.

9. Why We Don't Help Others: Bystander Apathy
In social psychology the 'bystander effect' is the surprising finding that the mere presence of other people inhibits our own helping behaviours in an emergency. John Darley and Bibb Latane were inspired to investigate emergency helping behaviours after the murder of Kitty Genovese in 1964

10. I Can't Believe My Eyes: Conforming to the Norm
We all know that humans are natural born conformers - we copy each other's dress sense, ways of talking and attitudes, often without a second thought. But exactly how far does this conformity go? Do you think it is possible you would deny unambiguous information from your own senses just to conform with other people?
 

Voyageur

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Posting here as it was the only thread referencing Sherif's studies as Laura cites below:

Synopses - you can link to the actual articles/studies by going to the link.

Why we do dumb or irrational things: 10 brilliant social psychology studies

3. War, Peace and the Role of Power in Sherif's Robbers Cave Experiment
The Robbers Cave experiment, a classic study of prejudice and conflict, has at least one hidden story. The well-known story emerged in the decades following the experiment as textbook writers adopted a particular retelling. With repetition people soon accepted this story as reality, forgetting it is just one version of events, one interpretation of a complex series of studies.

So, this played out on a radio talk I was lietning to about this Robbers Cave Experiment (and a second experement one on its heels, Robbers Cave State Park) including crossover to the Lord of The Flies experiment (that was happening at the same time yet unknown to each experimenter). It all begins with the psychologist, Muzafer Sherif, as mentioned above, who had grants from the ever meddling social behaviorist group, the Rockefeller's.

What was interesting in the radio show is it featured a new book on the subject by Gina Perry (writer/psychologist) titled The Lost Boys: Inside Muzafer Sherif's Robbers Cave Experiment. The article mentions Doug Griset, and you can also hear or read his side as he was one of the young boys (later became a Judge) in the experiment - here are a few small transcript quotes from Griset and Perry:

DOUG GRISET:
In 1953 only seven years after the Germans were able to get little kids to shoot at people. Of course this would be much more on the minds of anyone than it is today. In its time I can see why they were interested in when they could cause children to become angry and violent to the point of truly harming, even killing others. However, and this is where I back off a little bit - what they did, we knew the counsellors, was set up a plan to prove a point rather than letting circumstances play out and see what happened and what point was proven. They had an idea. They wanted us to fight each other and they did everything they could to create that situation is that the right way to find out how to prevent children from shooting other people? I would say no. I would say smart adults manipulate the 10 and 11 year old children way too easy.

and


What did you do with the information he gathered from that first experiment?

GINA PERRY: Well he didn't do anything with it. He mentioned that experiment very briefly in two publications and didn't explain further than one footnote that talked about it being called off early. He didn't explain what had happened. So his staff wanted him to publish the results of the 1953 study and one of them in particular, Herbert Kelman, was very eager because he felt that what had happened was a very exciting event. It wasn't what they intended. And it certainly didn't fit their hypotheses. But he felt that it was very exciting that these groups had come together spontaneously finding a peaceful resolution. And so he was eager to publish. But in Sherif's view the experiment was a failure. And he wanted to forget about it and move on.

AMT: So in 1954 he tries again with Robber's Cave in Oklahoma. How does the second experiment differ from the first?

GINA PERRY: Well it's probably one of the key ways that was different was that Sherif seeded the control and the management of the experiment to one of his graduate students...


It is pretty eerie what they tried to do to these kids (with a couple of variants) and Sherif worked his bias to get the results he wanted, and he did and did not; the first experiment was swept under the rug, as mentioned above.

Here is the segment on the Lord of The Flies experiment (brief):

A number of people have compared the Robber's Cave experiment with William Golding as Lord of the Flies. Golding did his own experiment using boys at around the same time. Can you tell us what Golding did?

GINA PERRY: Well yes I discovered this in my research that he actually took his class because he was a school teacher. He took his class of boys to a hill overlooking the source bricklaying called Fig Spree Ring and he divided the boys into two groups and had them fight on this ancient mound which was a battle ground. And he observed the situation so that he presumably could use it in his fiction. But you know he described the terrible cries that the boys gave when they were just supposedly play acting. And he said he had to actually cut it short because it got quite violent. And I went to the archives and looked through his material because I was hoping I'd find some connection because he was writing Lord of the flies at the same time that Sherif was conducting his experiments. And I thought there must have been some connection there but I could find nothing. It was just a coincidence that these two men on two different continents were using children to explore these notions about violence and war and course peace.



Here is the article (below) and the radio and full transcript segment here:




The Robbers Cave Experiment is lauded for demonstrating that conflict can be overcome by teamwork
CBC Radio · Posted: May 22, 2019 2:15 PM ET | Last Updated: May 22

doug-griset-lost-boys-cover.jpg

At age 10, Doug Griset was an unwitting subject in a well-known psychological experiment. Gina Perry writes about the study in her book The Lost Boys. (Submitted by Doug Griset/Greystone Books)




Listen25:14
Read Story Transcript
A judge who was part of a group of boys unknowingly subjected to an experiment in "realistic conflict theory" in 1953 remembers how they were goaded into competing with each other — with a knife offered as the grand prize to the winners.
"They had it up on the mantel in the little dining area where we all ate, and this was going to be the ultimate prize to each of the 12 members of the winning team," said Doug Griset, who was an unwitting participant in the experiment as an 10-year-old.
"I kind of remember the other kids feeling the same way, that this was gold. And that is so vivid that I think I can see it in my mind 60 years later."
The experiment
The study, known as the Robbers Cave Experiment, was the brainchild of Turkish-American social psychologist Muzafer Sherif. The study was framed as a three-week boys' summer camp, with one hosted in Middle Grove, New York in 1953 and a followup at Robbers Cave State Park in Oklahoma in 1954.

doug-griset-and-wife-june.jpg

Decades after the experiment, Doug Griset, pictured here with his wife June, became a judge. (Submitted by Doug Griset)
Sherif focused on how the dozens of boys — all between 10 and 12 years old — interacted with one another in a group setting during different manufactured scenarios. The researcher's goal was to demonstrate realistic conflict theory, which states that intergroup hostility is a result of competition, and that such conflict could be resolved if a group worked together to achieve a common goal.
"[The] theory says that conflict comes about between groups of people, not because it's part of our human nature, but because when you put groups of people together competing against one another, hostility and stereotyping is inevitable and — hostility and violence is a result of that," said Gina Perry, author of The Lost Boys: Inside Muzafer Sherif's Robbers Cave Experiment.
The boys were split into teams and offered the ultimate prize — a knife that displayed in the centre of their dining hall — upon beating their opponents in various challenges.
The researchers, posing as camp staff, worked to sow discord among the boys.
Perry cited one example wherein one of Sherif's assistants tore down a tent that one of the teams was staying in, trampling the campers' belongings into the ground. When the boys returned to the campsite, they presumed the opposing team had destroyed their campsite.
Later on, the boys were encouraged to cooperate in order solve a problem as a team, which they did, thus appearing to prove Sherif's theory.
Re-thinking the ethics
Sherif is largely remembered for the apparent success of this study, and its findings that conflict can be overcome by teamwork and cooperation. In the context of a post-Second World War era, this message was embraced for its positive outlook.

gina-perry.jpg

Gina Perry is an Australian writer and psychologist. (Chris Beck)

"It was a very optimistic message for its time because it said peace could be engineered," said Perry.
Griset, however, doesn't remember the Robbers Cave Experiment in such a pleasant light.
"What they did, meaning the counsellors, was set up a plan to prove a point rather than letting circumstances play out and see what happened and what point was proven," he said.

"They had an idea that they wanted us to fight each other, and they did everything they could to create that situation … I would say smart adults manipulating 10 and 11-year-old children — way too easy."

 
What a wonderful little book. I had a blast reading it. It confirms my lifelong observations perfectly.

Essentially stupid people are dangerous and damaging because reasonable people find it difficult to imagine and understand unreasonable behaviour. An intelligent person may understand the logic of a bandit. The bandit's actions follow a pattern of rationality: nasty rationality, if you like, but still rationality. The bandit wants a plus on his account. Since he is not intelligent enough to devise ways of obtaining the plus as well as providing you with a plus, he will produce his plus by causing a minus to appear on your account. All this is bad, but it is rational and if you are rational you can predict it. You can foresee a bandit's actions, his nasty manoeuvres and ugly aspirations and often can build up your defenses.

This is why I prefer dealing with psychopaths (on a personal level) than with idiots. The psychopaths (bandits) will cause me harm by actions that can be predicted - actions that enrich them. The idiots, on the other hand, will cause me harm by something completely unpredictable that will not benefit anyone, thus it's impossible to defend against.

This is also why I see the ruling elite of the 1% psychopaths as less of a problem than the 98% idiots worldwide. We could overthrow the 1% in 3 days if the 98% weren't stupid.

This book also explains why when I get assigned a task and somebody asks me if I want someone to help me, I refuse (unless they specifically offer someone intelligent, which is extremely rare). I know that with the help of an idiot (most people), I'll have more work to do than if I do the whole thing myself, and it will take longer. Plenty of experience with that.

And, sadly, it is true that even though I expect idiots everywhere, I still underestimate them now and them. There's always something that I think nobody could possibly screw up, and somebody always shows me that they can, in ways totally incomprehensible.
 

Laura

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What a wonderful little book. I had a blast reading it. It confirms my lifelong observations perfectly.



This is why I prefer dealing with psychopaths (on a personal level) than with idiots. The psychopaths (bandits) will cause me harm by actions that can be predicted - actions that enrich them. The idiots, on the other hand, will cause me harm by something completely unpredictable that will not benefit anyone, thus it's impossible to defend against.

This is also why I see the ruling elite of the 1% psychopaths as less of a problem than the 98% idiots worldwide. We could overthrow the 1% in 3 days if the 98% weren't stupid.

This book also explains why when I get assigned a task and somebody asks me if I want someone to help me, I refuse (unless they specifically offer someone intelligent, which is extremely rare). I know that with the help of an idiot (most people), I'll have more work to do than if I do the whole thing myself, and it will take longer. Plenty of experience with that.

And, sadly, it is true that even though I expect idiots everywhere, I still underestimate them now and them. There's always something that I think nobody could possibly screw up, and somebody always shows me that they can, in ways totally incomprehensible.

Amen.

But, I don't like working with psychopaths. Sometimes they come across as really stupid too. Read Cleckley.
 

Tristan

Jedi Council Member
FOTCM Member
A pair of glasses were left on the floor at a museum and everyone mistook it for art

The teen behind the hoax had similar success with a baseball cap and a bin

Christopher Hooton​
Thursday 26 May 2016 10:17

Several visitors to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art this week were fooled into thinking a pair of glasses set on the floor by a 17-year-old prankster was a postmodern masterpiece.

“Upon first arrival we were quite impressed with the artwork and paintings presented in the huge facility,” TJ Khayatan told BuzzFeed. “However, some of the ‘art’ wasn’t very surprising to some of us.”


“We stumbled upon a stuffed animal on a gray blanket and questioned if this was really impressive to some of the nearby people.”


To test out the theory that people will stare at, and try and artistically interpret, anything if it’s in a gallery setting, Khayatan set a pair of glasses down and walked away.

Soon, people began to surround them, maintaining a safe distance from the ‘artwork’ and several of them taking pictures.

I like to think they imagined the floored glasses to represent the dumbing down of culture, or perhaps the viewing of life through a lens, possibly with a nice, lower-case title like 'myopia' or 'real eyes (real lies)'.

sub-buzz-16781-1464193979-5.png
 

MikaelYosef

Jedi Master
These are Cipolla's five fundamental laws of 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 tat 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.
A pair of glasses were left on the floor at a museum and everyone mistook it for art

The teen behind the hoax had similar success with a baseball cap and a bin

Christopher Hooton
Thursday 26 May 2016 10:17



Several visitors to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art this week were fooled into thinking a pair of glasses set on the floor by a 17-year-old prankster was a postmodern masterpiece.

“Upon first arrival we were quite impressed with the artwork and paintings presented in the huge facility,” TJ Khayatan told BuzzFeed. “However, some of the ‘art’ wasn’t very surprising to some of us.”


“We stumbled upon a stuffed animal on a gray blanket and questioned if this was really impressive to some of the nearby people.”



To test out the theory that people will stare at, and try and artistically interpret, anything if it’s in a gallery setting, Khayatan set a pair of glasses down and walked away.

Soon, people began to surround them, maintaining a safe distance from the ‘artwork’ and several of them taking pictures.

I like to think they imagined the floored glasses to represent the dumbing down of culture, or perhaps the viewing of life through a lens, possibly with a nice, lower-case title like 'myopia' or 'real eyes (real lies)'.

sub-buzz-16781-1464193979-5.png

I think the five fundamental laws of stupidity are applicable to this example.

1. Always and inevitably everyone underestimates the number of stupid individuals in circulation. : I am far from perfect - but I'm not a fan of modern art for logical reason. So many similar modern art museums rely on people to frequent them, to install meaning into the meaningless. If more people saw these institutions and the peripheral environments they create for what they were, one problem would be solved.

2. The probability that a certain person (will) be stupid is independent of any other characteristic of that person. : The people obsessed with the prankster's art are potentially good people, but likely have well-paying jobs that allow them to spend their free time engrossed in the ridiculous. A stupid person with enough money and free time will do many things that prompt incredulous head shakes from others, even if they are nice enough on the inside and mean well.

3. 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. : The losses to the people appreciating the 'art' might not be significant, possibly embarrassment at worst. For the pranksters, in their opinion it might be a gain - but really, it's a loss on a collective scale. If they attract more and more followers to 'like' their content, leading more people away from something potentially better, then surely that's a net loss.

4. 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. : I would like to think that I'm non-stupid, it is relative though. The damage that is most prevalent is wasted time and focus on this and similar things that aren't significant. The resources in dealing with something that personally offends somebody, or goes against their belief system, and the back-and-forth interactions that might come from it, can be great. There are so many side-path distractions today which can waste minutes, hours, days of peoples' time and ultimately shift them completely from their original path.

5. A stupid person is the most dangerous type of person. : There were 32k retweets and 36k likes for this non-story. Imagine if the people taking the photos and obsessed with the 'art' were famous, and they tweeted something about their interpretation it themselves? The influence on their millions of followers on social media can't be discounted.
 
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