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Stupidity As Someone Else's Resource -- Why It's Important To Be Smarter

Updated: May 10

""From what source does Ignorance spring? Not from lack of knowledge, but lack of desire for it" -- John Duran


Stupidity is quite the sensitive topic, because no one likes being called stupid, including people who are stupid. Vocabulary dot com defines stupidity as "The quality of being stupid. It’s the opposite of intelligence."

It further explains that "Being stupid has to do with not understanding things, not learning from past experiences, and generally not using your brain, so stupidity refers to this quality. Saying that someone did something because of stupidity is an insult because it means the person really should’ve known better. Riding in a shopping cart tied to the back of a car and zinging around a parking lot would be the result of some serious stupidity."

As usual lately, I will provide sources. And yes, the example that site gave is quite on-point. So, in terms of definition, we can agree that stupidity is just a poor quality of intelligence. With or without the potential to become more intelligent, the stupid person is dumb because they lack the intelligence to make wiser decisions and learn from their mistakes.

Therefore, if we want to be wiser, we must also act more wisely, and in order to do that, we must improve our cognitive abilities. If we do not improve these abilities, not only will they remain unimproved, but they will also deteriorate with age. Hence the importance of stimulating our brains with intellectual content. I believe that reading philosophy can certainly help with this endeavor, making philosophy relevant even today. As does reading in general, of course.

Of course, the point of improving our intellect is to avoid becoming stupid. Stupid mistakes can cost our own and our loved ones' lives, and it is one of the reasons we feel regret—so that we can avoid making these mistakes again. Fictional villainy, as well as real-life one, is defined by thinking in a competent manner.

Stupidity may also be used as a criticism against democracy. It is a counterargument that claims that the "masses" are too dumb to choose what is wise for them when it comes to politics. It is a criticism that can be abused by power-hungry figures, to conceal their true nature and trick their voters with their manipulations. And since the masses might not be as wise as they should be, they might continue to make the same poor choices over and over again. And it tis through their incompetent choices that make democracies turn to kakistokracies.

If the masses were smarter, they might choose candidates who are more suited to what they deserve. However, is it in the interest of the government for its citizenry to be smarter, when it can be used against its interest to stay in power? Therefore, it might be in the best interest of a democracy's current government to keep the education system poor and insufficient. Doing so can prevent the quality of intellect needed to have that government be elected out of power. If not replaced by elections, then by unwanted protests that disrupt work and public order.

Intellect is something that can intimidate because it can give us the ability to have power over others by outsmarting them, and even remembering things they forgot about a long time ago. An unintelligent populace is, therefore, a less threathening one. Geniuses can be more solitary as a result.

The education system is not necessarily there to make you a smarter being. It can be regarded as an institution whose point is to make you an obedient, submissive citizen. It is one that rewards you for obeying and punishes you for protesting orders and assignments. Such a system has the power to reduce the competency of the next democratic generations, as it punishes you for doing things a democracy allows you to do. From protest to non-conformist thought, to one's freedom of expression. It was only long after I graduated that I realized that I wasn't as smart as I was told, but I digress.

A dumb person will continue to walk into walls when there are doors available. They may realize their mistakes, but since they are unwilling or incapable to reflect on their misdeeds, they will continue to walk into walls to get to the other side of the building. This is an analogy that is not as clear if we apply the same logic to reality.

Try to look at things on a general scale and in the long term, like a mastermind would. Think with these two parameters in mind and you can greatly reduce the chances of walking into the same walls. Understand that you are not alone in an environment, and that other people should be estimated in accordance to their worth to your efforts. No, humans are not tools, but they can be either useful or harmful. Ignore this external potential, and you will run into another wall several times

Some people or organizations might have an interest in you remaining less-than-wise. That's how scammers make a living, after all. If they educate you on how they trick you, they basically give away their trade secret. In general, if you give away your trade secrets, you will be "shooting yourself in the foot", so to speak. Secrecy is key to survival against competitors and customers who remain ignorant of your valuable secrets.

For instance, it would be dumb of a villain to tell their secret plan to the hero, because they might use it against them. Even if the hero is about to be defeated for good, giving away your advantage might not be wise, should reality subvert your expectations, and run away from your clutches. And as we know, people like you and I are not exactly prophets, are we?

And I quote a sentence from the original evil overlord list:

"When I've captured my adversary and he says, "Look, before you kill me, will you at least tell me what this is all about?" I'll say, "No." and shoot him. No, on second thought I'll shoot him then say "No."

Why give information to an enemy? And yes, when you are being used, you can be seen as an enemy, not necessarily a trusted ally.

Actually, it is quite dumb to feel offended when you are called stupid. I am only saying this because you can see it as an indication that more learning is required. The choice of giving in to our feelings of insult, is ours, and therefore, our fault of feeling deeply insulted. I'm sorry.

Logically, looking at the potential and striving to have it is better than crying over an impractical feeling of insult. That's part of the rationale presented in the Universal Businessman theory of mine. This is not toxic positivity, it's just a better way to prioritize your reactions. Surely it's more productive to learn than to deepen the impact of feeling offended?

One of the stupidest things you can do is to just settle with your stupidity, or with your current, poor quality of intelligence. Why? Because if you won't dedicate some time and energy to learn, you will remain with the same, lower quality of cognition. Stay with this lower quality, and you'll make the same mistakes again and again, and your ignorance will be abused by those with hidden agendas. And staying stupid is done by not desiring to be more knowledgeable.

One of the reasons I'm a philosopher is because I am a student of reality. I'm not only doing this for extra material for articles. I'm also doing this to better myself as a person, given that knowledge deserves to be a virtue. And acting in accordance to the truth, allows us to make not only more-informed decisions, but also smarter ones.

Knowledge deserves to be a virtue because knowledge can also be translated to power. It can give you expertise, it can improve your current performance, and it can even grant you an advantage over your competitors in whatever field of life you're invested in. It can even make you a more moral being, by understanding better how to show empathy and compassion to those who are in pain.

Why, then, not get smarter, when this effort can clearly help you and others? The smarter you get, the less likely you'll get used without being aware of it. The reason is because your current stupidity can be someone else's asset. Keep it in mind and strive to improve your intellectual qualities whenever you can.

And the only, potentially-universal obstacle in that path, is a lack of self-discipline.

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Tomasio A. Rubinshtein, Philosocom's Founder & Writer

I am a philosopher from Israel, author of several books in 2 languages, and Quora's Top Writer of the year 2018. I'm also a semi-hermit who has decided to dedicate his life to writing and sharing my articles across the globe. Several podcasts on me, as well as a radio interview, have been made since my career as a writer. More information about me can be found here.

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