Stupidity Goes Unannounced

· October 28, 2017

Stupidity always puts itself in the front of the line, in order to be seen and admired. Meanwhile, intelligence is sensibly quiet, observing from a discrete corner. Ignorance is a strange illness. It never affects the one who suffers from it, only those around the sufferer. Often, stupidity goes unannounced.

La Real Academia defines this illness as “remarkable clumsiness.” Within the world of psychology, human stupidity has different degrees of “idiocy.” However, there is one degree in particular we want to focus on. This degree involves and extra ingredient: intention.

We have to admit, we have all done something stupid at some point. In these moments we have acted on impulse rather than reflection. These moments provide an excellent opportunity for learning or, perhaps, a reminder of childhood mischief. Something that stays in the past, that we look at from the perspective of maturity and personal equilibrium.

“Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience.”

Mark Twain

Nevertheless, there is another aspect of stupidity that we know well. Sometimes, we underestimate the amount of stupidity that surrounds us. Some people strive to appear lucid and perfect, but in reality are completely naive.  At the same time, there is nothing worse for an enlightened brain than when external stupidity affects it. Stupidity tries to make everyone’s interests and behaviors the same.


stupidity goes unannounced

All of us, in one way or another, have been victims of different forms of human stupidity. This can even include stupidity on an institutional level. Stupidity always appears without warning because it is always present. Let’s look into this more.

Human stupidity and intelligence

Often, we make the mistake of thinking that stupidity is associated with low intelligence. This is not the case. Intellectual ability has nothing to do with the actions, reactions, and daily outbursts we see so often.

The Eötvös Lornand University (Hungary) and Baylor University (Texas) completed a study in 2015 called “What is stupid? People’s conception of unintelligent behavior.” The results showed new aspects of human stupidity that were unknown up until that point.

The three types of human stupidity

First of all, the most common type of stupidity is associated with simple distraction. It happens to us very often. We make a mistake or act carelessly, perhaps hurting others in the process. This may seem harmless but be careful. Sometimes stupidity of this type is not due to an involuntary act, but rather a lack of effort, investment, or personal involvement.

The second level of stupidity is “lack of control.” It is very common in people with obsessive-compulsive disorders and/or with little self-control. There are different levels. However, in general this type of stupidity is often marked by high anxiety. It has a very negative affect on our internal environment.

Finally, the third level of stupidity involves obvious intentions. It is a self-proclaimed stupidity where someone chooses to accept the risks and start actions he or she knows will have negative consequences. Reckless driving, a mean spirited joke, a malicious word. . .

 stupidity goes unannounced man

Traitors to happiness

Based on what we have talked about already, we know stupidity is not always associated with low intelligence. So, perhaps we should look at it from a moral rather than intellectual perspective. 

Stupidity is both born and made. Stupidity is always around us: it is sold, inhaled, and spread. It is in television programs, fashion campaigns, and people who rise to fame without talent.

Fernando Savater explains that stupid people are really traitors to human happiness. They choose to be be foolish out of boredom. They start fights, insult others, or treat others carelessly just to see what will happen. As we can see, stupidity is much more than a bad habit.

Human stupidity goes unannounced

Carlo Cipolla, a celebrated Italian historian, has also studied the issue of human stupidity.  In his opinion, all of the evils of society came down to human stupidity and foolishness. His book, Allegro Ma Non Troppo, provides a breakdown of the characteristics of this kind of person.

It is worth bearing these characteristics in mind.

  • People underestimate the number of stupid people around them
  • A stupid person is not the same as someone with low intelligence. A stupid person is far more dangerous.
  • The actions of a stupid person have a negative effect on the people around them, and do not benefit the stupid person either.
  • One of the characteristics of stupidity is a passion for meddling in affairs the stupid person has no understanding of
  •  Stupidity is present in every level of society, but it has a special gravity among people who call themselves “intellectual” or “powerful.”