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Why are 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!

 

Reason #2: 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 just saw.

Like 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....'

Here's why 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.

So 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 them subside.

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!

Strangely Inserted 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! Idiots!

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.

This 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 so on.

Your personal 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.

Another Special 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 it anyway.

On to Reason #3: It's Not that You're Stupid, You're Just Stupid!

Deep Philosophical Question - would it be stupid to click on to the next page....

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