Identifying a Stupid Person

“…a stupid person causes damage to others while deriving no gain, or even possibly incurring losses. We invariably underestimate the number of stupid individuals in circulation as the probability that a certain person is stupid is independent of other characteristics or credentials (e.g., they can have a Ph.D. or be President). We (the non-stupid) are vulnerable to the stupid and their actions as we find it difficult to imagine and understand ā€” or to organize a rational defense against ā€” an attack that lacks rational structure or predictable movements. Or, as Friedrich Schiller put it, against stupidity the gods themselves fight in vain.”

-Scott Galloway, “Stupid.” January 8, 2021

Also, we are all, at one point or another, a stupid person. The trick is to reduce the duration and frequency. See also: Hoodoos, Sucking Black Holes, Psychic Vampires, The Unhappy & The Unlucky, Toxic People, Narcissist’s Prayer, etc.

6 thoughts on “Identifying a Stupid Person

  1. :). I have been on a rabbit hole adventure after watching The Social Dilemma….reading a book from one of the people interviewed in it “The Age of Surveillance Capitalism” by Harvard prof. Shoshana Zuboff
    The other day I listened to someone who mentioned both and suggested The Hype Machine by
    MIT prof Sinan Aral. All of this to say I see a strong link between how we (at least I) have been brainwashed, the polarity of ‘us and them’ the illusive definition of truth and perhaps reasons for some of my ‘episodic stupidity.’

    1. Tangentially related to that space, I’ve heard good things about Andy Greenberg’s Sandworm, which I think will probably make interesting reading in light of the SolarWinds hack last year. It may be a bit too far removed from the problems of social media space for you, but I think it is good to keep in mind that the problems of social media tie into a new kind of warfare, one that will likely involve artificial intelligence and techniques we currently cannot even imagine.

    1. An unknowable secret to some. The Dunning Kruger effect reigns everywhere, and recognizing when we are being stupid is probably beyond the metacognition of the truly stupid rather than the merely episodically stupid.

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