"People Are Idiots"

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"People Are Idiots"

Postby Armand » Tue Mar 28, 2006 13:11

09:12 < mushy> my dad gave me the best words of wisdom since i was very little to this day
09:12 < mushy> it was simple
09:12 < mushy> "people are idiots"
09:12 < mushy> thats all
09:12 < mushy> and it seems to be correct


This is something I'd like to hear people's opinions about. Do you think people indeed are idiots? Are they born idiots or are they raised into it? Are there groups of people less idiotic than some? Define "idiot"! Do idiots have the chance to become something else? If so, then does this apply to everyone or just chosen few? What are the consequences of being an idiot?

My own thoughts about this particular issue have greatly changed over the years.

And think carefully about what you say, or think, this matter has severe effects on many things~

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Fowles on the Few and the Many

Postby Mortis » Tue Mar 28, 2006 16:01

Ah, the classic folk division between "the I" and "the others", the individual and the masses. Perhaps concentrating first on the relationship of the internal (self) and external world would clarify the focus of the topic.

I realized there is a strangely compelling parallel between this thread and what I'm preparing to present as a topic, so in order to feed the flames, I'll offer you a short quote on Fowles' concept of the Few and the Many:
Unless the Many can be educated out of their false assumption of inferiority and the Few out of their equally false assumption that biological superiority is a state of existence instead of what it really is, a state of responsibility - then we shall never arrive at a more just and happier world (1981, 10).

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Postby nobile » Thu Mar 30, 2006 07:08

Imo, people are raised to become idiotic, or at least to not think all the consequences of their actions, therefore being idiots. I mean, not that kids have that hability and they are taught the other way, but more like they don't and they should be taught to think more, and if they aren't taught that, they become idiots... Don't know if I'm making any sense here x)
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Postby Armand » Thu Mar 30, 2006 14:16

You were making some sense... I think! But it was interesting how you defined 'idiot', "someone who does not think about all the consequences of their actions." Would you really say that equals idiotism? (Don't get me wrong btw, I don't have a definition myself yet so)

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Postby nobile » Fri Mar 31, 2006 10:16

Well, someone who doesn't think of the consequences of their actions is an idiot imho, don't know for sure if that is the only concept of idiot, but that is the only one I can think of right now... I mean, idiot != stupid, stupid is someone who can't think at all... And actually, I don't think that there is a person that is truly stupid, everyone has a different type of intelligence...
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Postby Armand » Fri Mar 31, 2006 14:29

I think mushy's father was telling the truth. Though we can't conclude anything about his wisdom from that, it all depends on what he himself meant by saying what he said. But the line itself is true - people are idiots. Not just some people.

I used to think some people are simply idiots, just not getting it, and probably never improving. They were lacking biologically, their brains and genes were just less good than those of other people. Natural selection would take care of them. Continuing on these lines lead me to think that if all this is true, then fascism is justified, breeding people is even better, and that taking advantage of the less endowed was just how nature works.

I still think that's how nature works, but I no longer think it is what men should do. Lest we be nothing other than animals, that is. Animals are cool and cute and all, but they have no morals. We have the chance to be something different, but it's not a given, it's a potential. And thus far, we seem to still be animals more than anything else.

Now, although I still acknowledge the stupidity or idiocy or foolishness of people, I don't think it's anything to be taken advantage of or to laugh at, at least seriously. If we claim to know something better than someone else, then we have the responsibility to transmit this wisdom, or shut up. If it does not sink in, it is us who need to try harder, not the 'silly' one. But keep in mind, 90% (if not 100%) of this sort of teaching is knowing you are teaching the right things.

'The sage who suppresses his best aphorism: cut off his hands, for he is a thief.'

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Postby Mortis » Wed Apr 05, 2006 12:06

Nobile's thought pattern of idiocy through failure of seeing consequence is interesting in the sense that causality has been a hot potato in philosophy as long as human beings have been able to see that "what we see" might not be "what is".

David Hume's idea of causality was that no matter how may times you hit the light switch and see the lamp turned on and off, you still can't know for sure whether a lamp will be turned on the next time you do it.

Now what if I were to propose that psychological factors might have to do with our ways of treating patterns of consequence in everyday life. You all know the extent of what people go to in trying to maintain values and remain in denial.

What nobile mentioned, then, would seem to be a byproduct of self-denial; All of us are, after all, taught to think logically in schools: we all know mathematics, we've learnt history, biology and so on. We know the "facts". We are expected to be able to draw logical, result-oriented conclusions of our actions.

But when we talk of the individual, such a calculative approach to life seems to have a negative effect on a weak psyche: "What if I drink this pint of beer? How many brain cells will it destroy? How will it affect my thinking? How can I get home? What will my wife think of me? Will I spill this beer on my clothes?" and so on! You dismiss such a pattern of thought and just pour the gold down your throat and -hope- you don't screw up too bad! Where's the logic?

We are, in a theoretical sense, able to process the world like this. In practice, it would seem that a rather natural psychological defense mechanism takes hold.

Now as for the original concept of "idiocy" in all of this, would it be too boisterous to then draw a conclusion that "self-initiated ignorance" is what we're mostly aiming at, and seems to be at least a form of "idiocy"?

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Postby Armand » Wed Apr 05, 2006 16:34

Perhaps it would be more convenient to approach the question through negation - what most certainly is not idiocy? Who are not idiots?

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Postby Mortis » Wed Apr 05, 2006 18:01

That's a rather conclusive approach, but we may very well go towards that direction.

However, I'm quite puzzled by the fact how we all skipped over the most important part of the whole discussion, so let's go backwards a little and return to the original concept: What kind of different, ordinary meanings can you think of for the word "idiot"? Smile What kind of things can you describe as "idiotic"? What kind of a mode of being is it? Temporary? Relative? Momentary? Something else?

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Re: "People Are Idiots"

Postby Armand » Tue Feb 06, 2007 22:34

Atm I'd describe idiotism as "Internal Ignorance & Hypocrisy"...

That means stuff like going against one's own principles out of ignorance, or refusing to raise from the state of ignorance out of principle (or fear), etc. I don't mind if people are for example christian, racist, materialist... as long as they fully understand what they're messing with! In my experience, that is rarely the case. Majority of people admit to never having even thought of issues that have crucial impact on the label they use on themselves. A christian often refuses to consider the many contradictions that one bumps to when contrasting the Dogma with Reality. A racist usually unwittingly raises materialistic values as the basis for judging the quality of a race. A materialist rarely practices what he preaches - not many of them can honestly claim to not care about fluffy imagined irrational values like the gay thing called "love". As long as one is honest with oneself, one can be a sodomite for all I care. Until that, they're just idiots Cool

Of course, since the definition is internal and based on one's very own (not that very many of us have our own) principles and ideas, any attempt at calling another person an idiot is just an assumption. But what the hell, that's what we are all about atm, so no worries there~

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Re: "People Are Idiots"

Postby Darkelth » Sun Aug 31, 2008 18:28

We all are idiots. If not all the time, at least every while and then.
Don't have the energy to explain. You can explain if you want to though. :)
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Re: "People Are Idiots"

Postby Nickelplate » Sun Sep 07, 2008 05:35

I think that the lack of personal responsibility that is taught to children these days as a result of over-liberalization breeds a lack of desire for self-improvement. A child whose parents protect him from the consequences of his actions will never seek to change his actions, because to him there is nothing wrong with them.

And just the same: in the american school system, instead of focusing on improving children's knowledge levels we are only worried about maintaining a modicum of self-esteem. The reasoning is as follows:

If the child does not meet requirements, he will feel badly about himself and will sustain emotional scars. Therefore, we must lower the requirements to make sure that no child will be traumatized.

However, we have only succeeded in lowering the requirements for everyone so that children who would otherwise be intelligent and working to their full potential, need only give a minimal effort to meet requirements and can put their minds to mischief. The general attitude of laziness in our school systems has ensured that "No Child [is] Left Behind!" but only by leaving everyone behind enough that they all finish with lower scores.

I think that in general, people are idiots. Most people I have met or have heard of do NOT have my respect. It's not so hard for me to keep my shit together, why is it so hard for EVERY OTHER DRIVER ON THE ROAD. Why is it so hard for people in this country to stay alive? We now officially have warning labels on watermelons telling folks to remove the rind before eating. And instruction on carpeting telling the homeowner to "install with fuzzy side up."

We have worked too hard against natural selection and now we will all pay.

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Re: "People Are Idiots"

Postby Mephs » Mon Sep 08, 2008 03:02

Hey all, first post/rant:
You could certainly dissect the population and say that they are idiots today, but, and forgive a little hyperbole, but I remember reading that the average person learns more information in a single daily newspaper than the average person would have in their lifetime in the 17th century.
My point is not of course that we have much more knowledge at our fingertips than ever before, that is a given. However, the problem is the distraction and reenforcement of our ideas, especially through the internet. Chomsky made a good point when asked how the general population could ever keep abrest of things like geopolitics and the economy while living their own lives; no, its rare that you'll encounter someone who knows every member of NATO, or of any important event in history, but at the same time, ask a regular sports fan any year, any team and they can rhyme off stats like their ABC, not just committing to memory, but understanding them. Idiots are not void of information. That might sound patronising but I'm getting there.
Now look at TV. TV wasn't THAT bad, if there was something you didn't like on TV you would probably wait for something you did like to start, sitting there in a zombie state. That of course limits you to the bounds of the current TV shows political discussion.
The likes of StumbleUpon.com (a personal favourite) gives you the opportunity to thumb up or down things you like or dislike. If I like an article I get more like it, if I don't I get less. This sounds like perfect web-browsing. Now as an outsider of American politics, I might have felt it quicker, but because I am 'left' socially and I'm politically minded, I am at least 1:4 (1 political rant for every 4 good stumbles) barraged with "PALIN DID A BAD THING" articles by the SU engine. Suddenly, everywhere "PALIN SHOOTS DOWN POLAR BEARS" etc. Then I thought back, during Obamas campaign, I saw the same kind of shit happen to Obama. So I look back on those articles and sure enough, there are articles about "Obama's wife called baby momma", "He's a Muslim" etc. I'm hearing the same shots fired, but I'm sitting in the same position on the table. I thumb up all these articles as valid "news" without looking at the obvious angle.

This is the problem. People are in general NOT idiots, and while there will always be true idiots, there are plenty of selective idiots. I count myself in their for good or ill. As the internet advances we get more information but more polarised, since we have the ability to select what we like but neglect to get a healthy dose of what we hate.

The perfect metaphor for the future intellectual is a morbidly obese person; yes you take in an enormous amount and retain it, but it isn't balanced and despite your 300lbs you're still somehow malnurished!

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Re: "People Are Idiots"

Postby Darkelth » Mon Sep 08, 2008 14:39

Knowledge is not the only thing bond on idiotism :)

of course we have more knowledge about things. But does it make us smarter? We know much of the history, people in 19th century didn't. And we also have more history than those then. But what does it give us that we know something? What is the purpose of gathering knowledge? We are idiots, if we don't know things. But aren't we idiots, when we really need to gather the knowledge? What do we do with the knowledge? Why do we need it?
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Re: "People Are Idiots"

Postby Nickelplate » Sun Sep 14, 2008 03:47

You can take in, store, and regurgitate any bit of information you like, in any quantity. But it is that knowledge, and the ability to apply it practically, and the recognition of analogy and relation between one datum and another that makes a person "smart" rather than just "info-retentive."

Por Ejemplo: A person can know that the word in english is "water" and the same word in german is "wasser." But a person with more intelligence rather than just info-retentiveness, can see the german word "besser" and at least infer that it translates to "better" and in such a case they would be correct.

The cognitive powers of logic, deduction, and inference are the greatest strengths of any mind considered to be "smart;" logic being chief among those as it dictates the other two and is in fact the "programming language" in which the universe is written.

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Re: "People Are Idiots"

Postby Armand » Sat Oct 18, 2008 02:30

The original posting was one of my earliest here, and it shows <:(

Sure, people have very varying levels of intelligence (which could be generalized as the ability to use logic). However, I feel that most of the time when people call someone else stupid or an idiot they don't refer to that. Most of the time, if it is obvious that a person is lacking in the clinical ability to understand something, we feel pity more than anger. At least I do, and having observed grouped children at my previous job, I claim they do as well.

I think that when using the words stupid or idiotic, people generally refer to the negative end of the wisdom scale. If someone lacks common sense or makes a... stupid choice in a social situation, he's being... stupid. A lawyer or a rocket scientist can be a total moron, a jerk, a dick or just plain ol' idiot. Ask the wives.

So, to answer the original question according to my current views: I think people are idiots more or less often. Doesn't mean that an effort to guide them to the light would be fruitless, however!

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Re: "People Are Idiots"

Postby Armand » Sat Oct 18, 2008 03:03

Oh yeah, there was also this line that prompted me to write a separate post in addition to the one sticking with the original subject:

Nickelplate wrote:The cognitive powers of logic, deduction, and inference are the greatest strengths of any mind considered to be "smart;" logic being chief among those as it dictates the other two and is in fact the "programming language" in which the universe is written.


I find this a fitting analogy, in a way. Programming languages are absolute in the way that they only accept commands they understand, and were made to understand. Anything not written in that language and the correct syntax is simply ignored, and will not show up in the actual program. When one wants to understand the way a program functions, it is indeed essential to know the language it was written in to get the details.

However, the language a program is written in has absolutely no connection to why it was written. Assuming a part of the program was trying to make some sense of the why, its best bet would be to look at the big picture, at the perceived patterns and results the program was exhibiting. When someone points at the moon, you don't look at the pointing finger, as the zen saying goes (bluntly put).

What I'm saying is maybe somewhat in line with David Hume's classic: One cannot derive "ought" from "is".

I would only apply that to the interpretation of direct connections, however, and not necessarily even those, if one is perceptive enough.

PS. I also bumped into another line of his when looking for that previous one (which wasn't a direct quote). It's not elaborated in any way, but is again maybe somewhat in line with how I view things:

David Hume wrote:We speak not strictly and philosophically when we talk of the combat of passion and of reason. Reason is, and ought only to be the slave of the passions, and can never pretend to any other office than to serve and obey them.


Don't get me wrong though, I'm not a big fan of classic philosophy (or rather, philosophers).