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Why are people so stupid????? Part 3

Sometimes when you ask this question, you don't mean Other People. You mean yourself. You mean things like - why do women (like me) always pick the wrong man? Why do I let myself get cheated out of what I deserve? Why can't I control my temper? Where the hell are my keys? And so on.

There are answers to these deep philosophical questions and we will summarize them in Reason #3.

Reason #3: It's not that you're stupid - you're just stupid!

This relates to reason #2 - which is basically the failure to see a reason syndrome. You think you are stupid when you do something stupid but you're not - you're just stupid not to realize you had a reason for doing the stupid thing. Make sense?

Let's say you are troubled by an ugly quality in yourself - prejudice. You are feeling particularly prejudiced towards Middle Easterners right now. And you have a divided mind as to whether that is a stupid reaction or not. Part of you feels quite emotionally strongly that it's not only not stupid, it's justified. But the other part tells you that hating Muslims is stupid and not a sensible solution to anything. Your own stupid, knee-jerk prejudicial reaction bothers you and confuses you.

Or you might be less philosophical and more practically self-centered, wondering for example, why you are so fucking stupid about investing. Not a quality you are actually publicly admitting to yet, but still you are looking at your investments and how much money you have lost and you are thinking - was I just stupid or what? If this is your first experience with investing stupidity, you might be inclined to justify it to yourself. But if you have been burned 3 times, you are beginning to tell yourself, I am just stupid about investments and maybe even wondering why you got the Stupid Investor Feature in your pre-installed brain software package.

In both cases, it is not that you are stupid, it's that you don't understand why you are reacting the way you are. You don't understand your own software, you don't understand the human software feature set. And that inclines you to think there is no reason why you should hate innocent little Muslim schoolchildren or there is no reason why you particularly got the Stupid Investor Feature.

In the prejudice case, you're just not aware of how your brain is hardwired for prejudice and under what circumstances it comes into play and what it's meant to do. Briefly, to illustrate, prejudice is built into your perceptual system in order to allow you to identify and wage war against strangers from other clumps. You are automatically endowed with features to allow you to divide up people into My Safe Clump and Dangerous Other Clump categories and to identify Dangerous Other Clump people by appearance and habits. This is because during the most formative years of your brain's evolution People From Other Clumps were the most dangerous things you could encounter. They were often basically within your eyesight in order to invade your territory, eat your food, kill your men, rape your women and slaughter your children. Basically.

You can learn more in the What's War Got To Do With It? FAQ. Suffice it to say you learned how to be prejudiced without effort because your ass was grass if you didn't. You needed to be able to quickly bond with your own clump and develop massive energizing quantities of hatred for Other Clump (Non)People and then kill them ruthlessly before they killed you.

So your reaction to Middle Easterners is just your brain doing its work and prepping you for danger and potential war and making you want to bond to your clump and hate Other Clumps. Pretty natural reaction under the circumstances. There isn't, in fact, anything stupid about it, which is why you feel it so strongly and disturbingly. Your brain has encountered an ideal circumstance for prejudice and is reacting accordingly. The question is, do you want to handle this particular situation by war and hatred and slaughter and all the rest of it or is that not looking like such a good idea to you?

If you are feeling sort of hopeful that you can avoid torching mosques in your city and running swords through Muslim women, then you want to acknowledge that the prejudice reaction is trying to protect you and while you are grateful for its input, you are inclined to explore other solutions at the moment. Your prejudice brain understands this. It knows why it's there. If this is not the appropriate time for war and prejudice it will stand down, just keeping a quiet guard in case its services should be needed again later. Where you get fucked up is when you beieve that just because it is expressing its opinion by stirring your emotions it must be right! - or that by contradicting your Social Brain's understanding of what is socially correct it must be wrong!

It's neither. It's just your brain and it's just trying to protect you from harm. Work with it and avoid harm. Since prejudice is stirred by strangeness, if it will help it get a more accurate assessment of the danger, then dose it with familiarity. This is the Reaching Out method of combating prejudice. It allows your prejudice brain to assess whether the Other Clump is dangerous or not.

On the other hand, no need to belittle it because you are not used to it and it's expressing some awkward opinions. You don't get any points for being politically correct and not understanding when there are serious serious divisions between you and Another Clump. The Muslim Clump in your neck of London may be seriously pissed off at Your Clump and rather vigorously exercising its group Prejudice Brain. This can be helpful information to know before the bomb goes off. Your Prejudice Brain is there partly to help you recognize that Other People are not necessarily You and they may have different circumstances and reasons to get pissed off. It's an adaptable little mechanism, but you will continue to think it and you are just stupid until you understand its reasons.And you may notice that people have been thinking the human Prejudice Brain is very very very stupid for some time now and yet, mysteriously, it hasn't actually gone away.


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