people so stupid????? Part 2
Okay, you are
going to be sorry you asked - because stupidity is a painful subject.
But you're a smart guy - and you can take it like a man!
Other People Aren't Stupid - But You Are.
Many times you
will see someone else do something stupid and you will say to yourself
- 'That's stupid!' And you will have an emotional reaction to this
- a sort of jolt of disgust or contempt or unpleasantness or what
have you. And you will have this jolt for a good reason - it's your
brain's way of reminding you not to be stupid like the person you
if a drunk person of another nationality decided to drive a schoolbus
full of church children down the freeway at 80 miles an hour until
it jumped the barrier, flipped into the air, smashed itself down into
the ground upside down and killed all the people in it (innocent church
kids!) except the drunk driver - you might have a profound reaction
of disgust. You might be truly mad that such a stupid person was allowed
to exist, let alone get drunk and drive poor rural church kids to
their fiery, explosive, upside-down death. You might be really mad.
You might have a profound visceral stupidity reaction. This
is not stupid on your part.
This is wise
planning on the part of your body. It is mapping out for you what
you should and shouldn't do and it is making the learning stick by
attaching it to some emotion - which is very helpful in building memories.
So that when you are faced with a situation in which it's possible
for you to drink a lot of beer and then get behind the wheel of an
minivan with a packload of your kids and their friends inside - something
inside you - long before you pack up the camping gear, tells you to
stop drinking hours before you get behind the wheel of anything. Witnessing
other people's harmful stupidity is supposed to hurt - where you
start to stray into stupidity yourself is when you starting asking
the why question.
Like this - why
are people so goddamn fucking stupid! Why do they let people
like that on the road? Why do they let those people into the
country anyway? Those people ought to be shot and so on. You can often
tell when you are straying into this territory when you hear yourself
saying or thinking 'I don't see why blah, blah, blah....'
the why question or the I don't see why statement starts getting stupid.
Because often when you are formulating it what you really mean is
- There is no reason why people are so goddamn fucking stupid!
There is no reason why those people should be let on the road.
There is no reason why they let those people into the country.
In this analysis,
your brain is starting to lead you astray. There is a reason -
you just don't know what it is. When
you say I don't see why, what your brain hears is 'I don't want
to see why and I'm not going to!' When
you formulate the there is no reason analysis, what you originally
meant was - there is no good reason.... But you took a shortcut,
which your brain is very prone to do, because it favors action in
emotional situations over analysis. Speed over thinking. In fact,
the whole emotional complex makes reasoning difficult, the chemicals
interfere. Your brain is designed to believe that emotional situations
and reactions require quick response and it encourages you towards
these quick responses by making the emotions painful and the feeling
of action relieving.
now you have gone all the way from recognizing stupidity that you
want to avoid to deciding that an action like shooting people or preventing
anyone who speaks Spanish from emigrating to this country is the sensible
and right way to avoid the pain of overturned buses. And this is all
fine and good, it's just the way your brain works. When you encounter
a stupidity situation, you want to indulge yourself in an Aggressive
Action Solution in order to calm your chemicals down and make
Let's say you
think capital punishment is wrong and you hate it - and then there
you are watching a news story about a botched execution or someone
who was executed yesterday and proved innocent today or who had an
IQ of 30 and was executed or whatever gets under your skin. And this
upsets you because it's so goddamn fucking stupid! It makes
perfect sense in that moment to indulge an action solution in your
brain like putting all the people who believe in capital punishment
to death! Or having them all roast in hell when they meet their
maker! That'll show 'em, the goddamn fucking bastards. That's not
stupid - that's emergency brain management.
Where you get
stupid - and I mean really stupid - is when you get stuck on your
Aggressive Action Solution along with your I Don't See Why
Position or your There Is No Reason Analysis. If the stupidity
situation recurs, and it probably will, you will torture yourself
over and over again with painful and ineffectual anger which you will
be more and more tempted to alleviate with a very mean and very stupid
aggressive action solution. And all of a sudden you will be a Cuban
in Miami who favors cutting Castro off at the balls, which just so
happens to mean that thousands of little schoolchildren don't get
medical supplies all because you are a stupid dork! A very
human stupid dork, but still a stupid dork.
What you have
failed to realize is that human stupidity occurs for reasons. And
saying I don't see why, doesn't make the reasons go away. To avoid
your own stupidity you must seek them out. And now we have a handy
tip for doing just that!
Special Bonus Tip: Circumstance Analysis.
So much of human
perception is bound up in circumstance - physiological circumstance,
social circumstance, and environmental circumstance, that when we
process information we are inclined to think our circumstances are
just reality. If you and I are white males in Indiana with bad backs
and terrible acne, those circumstances are woven into everything we
perceive. And so we naturally develop a very common error of human
percetion - we think that everybody's circumstances are the same
as ours, they just act differently for some stupid (non)reason!
Thus white people
think black people are stupid for rioting. And black people think
white people are hatefully stupid for not understanding why they rioted.
Women think men must perceive from exactly the same circumstances
they do - but they just want to act like stupid men - because they
are stupid! And men think women are perceiving from the same circumstances
they are - except sometimes they are just stupid (and incomprehensible
to boot!) Teenagers think old people know what it's like to be a teenager
but insist on being incredibly fucking stupid about everything anyway.
And old people think teengers face the same circumstances they do
- except that teenagers are just naturally stupid because they're
teenagers. And Palestinians think that Israelis must know exactly
what it's like to be Palestinian but they insist on being murderous,
thieving oppressors anyway because they're so fucking stupid and they
just like being that way because they're Israelis. And Israelis think
that being Palestinian must be exactly the same as being an Israeli
except that Palestinians are hateful murderous sub-human animals.
We're all convinced other people in different circumstances are
inherently different and stupid because they're not in our circumstances.
But we have it
backwards. We're wrong. We're stupid. Other People are actually
incredibly like us - they just have different circumstances.
Being like them is not like being like us - or they'd be more like
us! In other words, if you had the same circumstances, you'd act pretty
much the same way.
The guy who overturned
the bus had a reason - he was an alcoholic and his brain was fried
and he had limited or no education, no one to call and no money to
back him up, a low serotonin response to fear and danger, not much
of a social circle and not too much experience with judgment and responsibility.
If you'd never developed judgment and responsibility because your
serotonin was low and you were an alcoholic and your social brain
hadn't developed and you had little education and no one to turn to
and no money and no backup, you might goddamn well overturn a bus
yourself. You don't have those circumstances and you are very
very glad about that. But getting mad because everybody doesn't have
your circumstances and didn't develop your social brain isn't going
to give everyone your circumstances. Your circumstances didn't just
magically appear out of nowhere. If you want to avoid being stupid
and exercise your social brain smartness muscle, you will start looking
for the physiological, social and environmental circumstances that
trigger the stupid fucking stuff you hate with a passion. And you
will get to work on altering them.
is the Cure for Polio Principle. If people dying of polio upset
you and you decided to settle for the I Don't See Why Aggressive Action
Solution you might decide that people who die of polio do so because
they are just stupid and they want to! And the best Aggressive Action
Solution would be to round 'em up, herd them together, drive them
out of town and let them fucking die there. This is not particularly
unlike the initial reaction to AIDS. Not unlike the solutions various
societies have come up with for handling diseases they don't understand.
On the other hand,
if your social brain smartness muscle kicked into gear, you'd start
asking why do people get polio - what circumstance are they
encountering. And then you'd bust your ass for a vaccine by driving
your smartness muscle to exhaustion trying to figure out how the process
worked and how it might be stopped. Note in the above example how
the 'I don't see why people are so stupid' aggressive action response
did not lead to a cure for polio.
Your social brain
smartness cure for polio muscle is most likely to kick into gear when
the circumstances of the afflicted appear startlingly like your own.
Makes you nervous that does. If you are subject to raging PMS and
you see some story about a PMS-crazed woman stabbing her husband in
the neck, you are more likely to think 'hey, why don't we come up
with solutions to PMS problems and really try to understand that sucker
logically and smartly - how about it folks? Sounds like a good idea
to me!' As opposed to 'women with PMS are just stupid and weak and
wrong and bad and they ought to put them all in the gas chamber! And
stupidity reaction is geared quite a bit toward your ability to accurately
perceive the similarities between yourself and others (something some
of us have a great deal of difficulty doing, mostly because we are,
you guessed it, stupid) and whether you have appropriately
experienced the painful 'god that looks stupid, i sure never want
to do that' response. For example, in the PMS example above, if you
have not sufficiently shored yourself up by admitting how painful
it is and how you really really don't want to do something stupid,
you may get super-nervous and be even more judgmental of PMS. This
is the I'm in the Closet and Boy Do I Hate Gays response. When
you don't admit there is a good reason why PMS might make you
want to kill someone or why you might feel like fucking someone of
your own sex - you are helpless and trapped. You can't emotionally
remind yourself of how you want to act because you can't admit there
is a good reason why you'd want to act some other way. Acknowledging
the existence of reasons is essential.
Most of the really
really really bad stupid stuff societies do, like let's say lynching,
occurs because the society involved was too fucking stupid
to look for reasons. And so they got together in a clump to hate and
fear. People have a natural wariness about their brain's ability to
discern and apply reasons - and this is because - once again, you
guessed it, they are stupid. Many people are fearfully aware
of just how fucking stupid they feel and that fearful awareness makes
them pretty nervous. And in this case, they just want to implement
a goddamn aggressive action solution in a hurry to lower their stress.
They don't want to know why pedophiles molest children - they just
want the fuckers burned at the stake and driven out of their neighborhoods.
And this brings
us back to - strangely - to the Stupidity Works principle.
Because when a clump of people doesn't understand a danger and is
too stressed out and stupid to discern a reason, sometimes the only
fucking thing to do to protect the clump is to implement an aggressive
action solution. This may not be very good news for the people with
polio or schizophrenia or low serotonin, and in fact it is very bad
news for them, but when the clump whips into an aggressive action
solution and starts punishing and annihilating them, the clump survives
another day - until someone exercising their social brain smartness
muscle gets a clue and everyone can start acting more humane.
Bonus Tip! Be a humanitarian - get smart! Your immortal reputation
will be greatly enhanced. More people will survive and fewer will
be annihilated due to the Stupid Aggressive Action Response and more
people will breed, including stupid people and....okay, well maybe
that's not too convincing a line of reasoning, but go ahead and do
On to Reason
#3: It's Not that You're Stupid, You're Just Stupid!
Philosophical Question - would it be stupid to click on to the next