Don't be stupid!
June 7, 2002 6:16 PM   Subscribe

Don't be stupid! Not in the sense of poor cognitive capacity, or low IQ, but more in the sense of lack of wisdom and foresight. Why do smart people make foolish decisions?
posted by aeschenkarnos (12 comments total)
The egocentrism fallacy: We foolishly come to believe that because we are so smart, the world does and should revolve around us.

Duh. Isn't this the kind of thinking that got Galileo in so much hot water. Have we learned anything?

Zen monks have been spouting the wisdom of non-ego for eons. Real news might be how they have found a way for people to adapt to that and actually cut down on stupidity. My belief is that while we continue to breed such and me me me obsessed culture we lose the ability to be calm and rational when faced with the fact that we ain't Jesus (which I think we are also led to believe :)
posted by velacroix at 6:42 PM on June 7, 2002

Jesus? Seems all that baby does is cry. That ain't me.
posted by MUD at 7:30 PM on June 7, 2002

Most of what Sternberg mentions is not stupidity, it's not even foolishness. He uses shoplifting as an example, but most shoplifting is not done out of the idea that you can't be caught (I assume), it's done on a gamble. In another article he used Clinton's lying under oath to be an example of stupidity, but I think embarrassment might be more accurate. I don't know, I'm not an expert, but the whole idea that you can classify everyone else's mistakes (lying under oath) and failures (caught shoplifter) as stupidity seems very egocentrist and "omniscient" to me, which incidentally are two of his own fallacies.
posted by Nothing at 7:54 PM on June 7, 2002

Regardless of the Jesus thing, no matter what this guy is getting paid it is way too much.
posted by velacroix at 8:00 PM on June 7, 2002

Don't be stupid!

But it's fun!
posted by jonmc at 8:28 PM on June 7, 2002

So, can the foolishness or wisdom of a given act only be assessed after its consequences?

Is it a statistical thing, eg if I do something that has a 95% chance of causing me harm and a 5% chance of bringing me a benefit, is that thing a foolish thing to do? What if it turned out that I was in the 5% who benefitted? What if I was unaware of the odds entirely?

Are 'folly' and 'wisdom' like 'good' and 'evil', and if so, do they have objective definitions or are they purely subjective?

posted by aeschenkarnos at 10:49 PM on June 7, 2002

Almost everywhere I've seen this topic linked the main focus has been on "smart people do stupid things" with a certain current of anti-intellectualism. I'd like to remind everyone that stupid people do stupid things constantly. Thank you.
posted by Mo Nickels at 5:02 AM on June 8, 2002

stupid people do stupid things constantly

... while smart people do stupid things much less frequently. No, thank you, Mo. Couldn't have said it better myself.
posted by kindall at 5:56 AM on June 8, 2002

But smart people often do stupid things with much greater panache.
posted by elgoose at 7:57 AM on June 8, 2002

Because most of the things we use in everyday life were designed by stupid people. Ask Jakob Neilsen.

Some might call me intelligent, yet I cringe at the thought of using a car wash because a lot of things just don't make sense. Let me stick to bits and bytes, that makes sense.
posted by wackybrit at 9:19 AM on June 8, 2002

I've always felt that being smart just meant having the ability of not doing stupid things.
posted by mikegre at 11:04 AM on June 8, 2002

At the end of the article, when he says "That would be the stupidist thing I've ever done," WHAT is he referring to? Or am I just stupid?
posted by Modem Ovary at 11:34 PM on June 11, 2002

« Older Some Driving Lessons.   |   Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments