STUPIDITY - what is it. 5 laws of human stupidity

Stupidity. Professor of economic history Carlo Manlio Cipolla believed that there is nothing more dangerous than stupid people. There are many of them, they are irrational, with their actions they complicate the lives of others, while not receiving any benefit for themselves...

Back in 1976, UC Berkeley economic history professor Carlo Manlio Cipolla published an essay in which he described the basic laws of what he perceived as the greatest existential threat to human civilization: stupidity.

Fools, according to Cipolla, have a number of distinctive features: there are many of them, they are irrational, with their actions they complicate the lives of other people without receiving any benefit from this for themselves, which only contributes to an increase in entropy in society.

It is impossible to protect yourself from stupidity. So smart people have to work even harder to compensate for the damage done by their stupid peers. In general, nothing has changed...


Let's get acquainted with the five main laws of human stupidity that were derived by Cipolla:

The fact that a person is stupid or not stupid does not depend on his other characteristics.

Cipolla believes that stupidity is a value that remains constant in all communities. Each community, which is characterized by a certain racial composition, gender, level of education, level of income, has a fixed percentage of stupid people.

There are narrow-minded people among scientists, among participants in the World Economic Forum in Davos and among representatives of the UN General Assembly. There are stupid people in every nation on Earth. So how many fools live among us? This is unknown. And in any case, any assumption we made would almost certainly violate the first law.

Quotes about Stupidity

Audio: The most famous aphorisms of great people (collection: part No. 2) Quotes about the stupidity of people, quotes about human stupidity, quotes about stupidity and fools, ...

* A causeless quarrel is a sign of stupidity. (author unknown)

* Prosperity always makes fools arrogant, and a carefree peaceful life weakens the strength of the spirit and easily directs it to carnal temptations. Abelard Pierre

* Most people are stupid, and everyone fools around in their own way. Erasmus of Rotterdam

* In childhood, a fool thinks only about his father and mother, in youth - only about his beloved, in old age - only about children. He never has time to think about himself. (author unknown)

* A person loses everything over the years: youth, beauty, health, impulses of ambition. And only one stupidity never leaves people. Ariosto Ludovico

* Among fools there is a certain sect called hypocrites, who constantly learn to deceive themselves and others, but more than others than themselves, and in reality they deceive themselves more than others. Da Vinci Leonardo

* It’s a fool to fuss all over the place after starting a trifle; the smart one stays calm while taking on 3a a great task. (author unknown)

* Stupid people, avoiding vices, fall into the opposite. Horace Flaccus Quintus

* A fool who knows his own stupidity is thereby already wise, and a fool who imagines himself to be wise is truly, as they say, a “fool.” (author unknown)

* A fool knows only what has happened. Homer

* A fool complains that people don’t know him well, but a wise man, on the contrary, complains that he doesn’t know people. Confucius

* It is a fool who, among the dancers, starts dancing himself. Lucilius Guy

* Fools are rich in sleep rather than in wealth. Basil the Great

* Fools notice only people's faults and do not pay attention to their virtues. They are like flies that try to land only on the inflamed part of the body. Abul Faraj

* It is best for a stupid person to remain silent, but if he knew this, he would not be a stupid person. Saadi Muslih ad-Din

* Stupidity creates states, supports power, religion, government and court. And what is all human life if not the amusement of Stupidity? Erasmus of Rotterdam

* Giving advice to a fool only makes him angry. (author unknown)

* A fool can never bear that he is what he is! Brant Sebastian

* If a wanderer does not meet someone like himself or better, let him strengthen himself in solitude: there is no friendship with a fool. (author unknown)

* He who is stupid and understands this is no longer stupid. Sir Publius

* He who is stupid does not benefit from the advice of a wise man. Sir Publius

* It is better to listen to the arguments of smart people than to the instructions of fools. Daniil Sharpener

* You can’t make a dead man laugh, and you can’t teach a stupid man. Daniil Sharpener

* Wise nature has shrouded babies in a veil of stupidity, which, enchanting parents and educators, rewards them for their efforts and gives the little ones love and care. Erasmus of Rotterdam

* It is vain labor to admonish a person who believes that he is smart. Democritus

* There is nothing in the world more courageous than stupidity. Menander

* There is nothing more absurd than stupid human prejudices and more vulgar than hypocritical severity. Petronius Arbiter Gaius

* Oh, without a doubt, a person in trouble is especially worthy of the compassion of the kind, stupidity is the root of all misfortunes, and therefore it is the most terrible misfortune. (author unknown)

* Oh, save me from the misfortune of listening to a fool somewhere or looking at him and talking to him! Don’t let me experience the heavy oppression of living together with him! (author unknown)

* The fire is doused with water, they are covered from the sun with an umbrella, and they are saved from illness with medicine. There is a remedy for everything, but there is no remedy for stupidity. (author unknown)

* While a person is full of vitality, he forgets about inexorable death, which he cannot avoid meeting. Therefore, a fool does not ask important questions about the real problems of life. Everyone thinks that they will never die, although at every step they are faced with reminders of death. (author unknown)

* He who admits himself to be a fool has the right to be considered a sage, And whoever insists that he is a sage is precisely the fool. Brant Sebastian

* I consider it extremely stupid to choose something that is not the best to emulate. Pliny the Younger Gaius

* He who is unreasonable in life and behaves like a liar, who cannot keep secrets, finally perishes. Nizami Ganjavi

* Although only stupid and stupid people are not naturally capable of surprise, the ability for it does not always go hand in hand with the degree of spiritual talent. Descartes Rene

* A person who has become stupid from superstition is the most despicable of people. Plato

>> Quotes about stupidity...

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There is no one more dangerous than a stupid person.

And as a consequence: a stupid person is more dangerous than a criminal.

We cannot defeat fools. The difference between societies that collapse and those that prosper lies in the percentage of intelligent people who are their members.

Progressive communities, despite a certain number of stupid people in them, also have a significant proportion of smart individuals, those who, through their actions, compensate for all the damage that is caused by stupid people.

Declining societies have the same percentage of stupid people as progressive societies. But the percentage of simpletons and criminals who are inclined to do stupid things is much higher in them.

Cipolla sums it up this way: “Such changes in the composition of the non-stupid population inevitably lead to an increase in the destructive power of the faction of stupid people, which makes the actions of members of society less and less logical. And then the country starts going to hell.”

What it is

In simple words, stupidity means the lack of ability to apply thinking and logic when solving relevant problems and life situations. In the colloquial version, the word stupidity is used to describe low intellectual abilities, the inability or unwillingness of an individual to analyze a circumstance or behavior that is inappropriate to the situation.

Although the stupidity of people has another important psychological aspect - emotional. Emotional stupidity is a phenomenon of emotions, noted by the fact that under the pressure of powerful emotions a peculiar defect in thinking can appear.

Signs of stupidity appear when emotional reactions weaken, mental coldness or indifference appears.

Even when it is common for many people to experience emotional outbursts at the time of tragedy or when life is threatened, such an individual will remain impartial not due to the ability to control himself, but due to a complete lack of experience.

Without appropriate therapy, emotional stupidity, developing, leads to changes in the personal sphere.

At the same time, the individual develops a high degree of vulnerability in areas where others would easily tolerate it. An example of an individual’s emotional stupidity would be a hysteria over the fact that someone forgot to congratulate him on his birthday or a staged “performance” in the form of ostentatious irritability in a public place.

Stupid emotional people do not understand what is happening to them, but everything immediately becomes clear to those around them; it is enough to simply evaluate the facial expressions, gestures or words of such a person. Abnormal reactions and constant stupid emotional outbursts make an individual unpredictable to everyone. A stupid person allows himself to violently express his emotions; does he not think that it is more expedient to do without “spectators”?

By drawing attention to his person, a stupid person thinks that his emotions are interesting to those around him, and by letting off steam, he involves other people in everything that is happening. And all this is done under the pretext that he is simply overly emotional, he was born that way.

From the outside, such behavior looks quite unsightly, especially if this is the behavior of an adult who does not want to control the “internal volcano” of anger and rage. After all, it’s not at all difficult and quite simple to cope with the situation when, for example, a taxi doesn’t arrive or your spouse messes something up.

An adult must be able to control himself. Each individual accumulates experience of emergency situations throughout his life. Your failures should serve as experiences from which you can draw the right conclusions. This is necessary in order not to release your negative emotions into the outside world. A person who does not think does not draw conclusions and is led by his emotions; he takes his emotions for granted.

The question arises of how to relate to emotions in general. On the one hand, emotionality is important because it indicates vital activity. On the other hand, emotions make it difficult to think and often lead to committing stupid things. And often the splashing out of emotions is associated with the inability to control oneself. For this reason, a person’s feelings are thoughtlessly demonstrated. This is expressed in hysterics and complaints. You should get rid of this bad habit, since such behavior in society is perceived as stupid.


Hieronymus Bosch. Extracting the Stone of Folly

The canvas depicts an operation to remove the stone of stupidity from the brain, which takes place in the lap of nature.

The Dutch had an expression “to have a stone in your head,” which meant “to be stupid, to be out of your mind.”

In Bosch's time they believed that a madman could be cured if the stone of stupidity was removed from his head.

At the top and bottom of the picture there is an ornamental inscription that reads: “Master, remove the stone. My name is Lubbert."

Lubbert is a common noun. Denotes a weak-minded person.

However, despite the pleas, the master removes from the sufferer’s head not a stone, but a flower.

It turns out that this is a tulip, and in medieval symbolism a tulip meant stupid gullibility.

The fact that one should not trust what is happening is also evidenced by the closed book on the nun’s head and the funnel on the surgeon:

knowledge is useless if you are dealing with stupidity, and healing of this kind is quackery.

Jewish proverbs

1. A stupid person gives himself away when he jokes.

2. Talking a lot about wisdom is stupidity.

3. A smart mind hides, a stupid mind flaunts its stupidity.

4. If you see a wise man talking with a fool, know that two fools are talking.

5. A kind person is often mistaken for a fool.


1. A fool can be recognized by two signs: he talks a lot about things that are useless to him, and he speaks out about things that he is not asked about. (Plato).

2. There is nothing:

- stupider than the desire to always be smarter than everyone else. (La Rochefoucauld);

- more painful than the consciousness of the stupidity you have just done. (I. Turgenev).

3. You must beware of two things: your own stupidity and the wisdom of others. (E. Bern).

4. Stupidity is a gift from God, but it should not be abused. (Bismarck).

5. The more stupid things I do, the more popular I become. (J. Kennedy).

6. If you are smart and silent, then you act stupidly, and if you are stupid, then you act smartly. (Theophrastus).

7. Only two things are infinite: the Universe and human stupidity, but I'm not sure about the first. (A. Einstein)

8. It’s nice when everyone noticed that you said something smart, but when no one noticed that you said something stupid, it’s doubly nice.

9. God created women beautiful so that men could love them, and stupid so that they could love men. (F. Ranevskaya).

Mikhail Mamich

1. We do less and less stupid things over the years, but the quality of them increases.

2. If stupidity doesn’t fit in your head, it means it will definitely break out.

3. If wisdom does not come with age, then stupidity will accompany you throughout your life.

4. There are such small stupidities that you simply don’t notice them.

5. The chicken is not that stupid, it’s just that its life does not require special intelligence.

6. Not all stupid things are said out loud, some are done silently.

7. Don’t make an idiot out of me, I can handle it myself!

8. Don't stop there - there is still so much nonsense ahead!

9. It’s not easy to remain first among stupid people - they can get ahead of you at any time.

10. Nothing prevents you from realizing your own stupidity like confidence in your rightness.

11. It’s not so bad if stupidity comes into your head, but it’s not a problem if it slips onto your tongue.

12. I'm not so stupid as to consider myself smarter than others.


Treatise on Stupidity: An Advanced Course

I present it in a very abbreviated and simplified version.

  • loves simple and accessible formulas, aphorisms and catchphrases.
  • sick of his own exclusivity.
  • never believes in God. That is, he can sincerely believe that he believes, but nothing more.
  • believes in money, even if he believes that he believes in God. Because money is an understandable thing.
  • never thinks or remembers that he is a human being, but always remembers his human rights.
  • never thinks - he knows for sure. His conscious is insignificant, and his unconscious is grandiose.
  • loves to talk about morality, politics and problems of a universal scale, but solves the simplest everyday problems with great difficulty, if he solves them at all.
  • never admits that he is a fool. Because he's a fool.
  • always acts contrary to life experience, repeats his own and other people’s mistakes, steps on the same rake.

A fool cannot be convinced of anything. Stupid truths, stupid principles and stupid conceit are inherent in a fool.

His life goals are simple and clear. A fool must work in order to earn money and a pension in the future. You need money to take a break from work. A pension is needed so that you don’t have to work later, when you reach retirement.

End of stupidity

1. English philosopher Francis Bacon died after suffering from hypothermia in the cold. The carriage he was riding in ran over a chicken. Bacon got out of it to look at the victim. Then he ordered the coachman to gut the chicken and stuff it with snow so that it would last longer. While the coachman carried out his task, my lord watched him, shivering with cold and chattering his teeth. And the next day he developed a fever and died. Bertolt Brecht wrote about this story.

2. Jean-Baptiste Lully, a composer who wrote music commissioned by the French king, died from an excess of feelings. Once, during a rehearsal for another concert, he got so excited that he hit his own leg with a cane, pierced it and died from blood poisoning.

3. French singer Claude Francois died from electric shock when he tried to change a light bulb while standing in a bathtub filled with water.

4. The Greek philosopher Chrysippus gave his donkey wine to drink and then died of laughter while watching it try to eat figs.

Erasmus of Rotterdam. "A word of praise for Stupidity." (1511)

This is the main work of the great Dutch revivalist. Satire.

The idea of ​​writing the book came to Rotterdamsky during his trip to Europe, more precisely, on the way to England. It had not yet been expressed, but apparently there was already an interesting idea in the air that “English common sense is the inherited stupidity of our fathers” (O. Wilde). So, on the way to England, this is no coincidence.

In the first part of the book, Stupidity declares that it is precisely this that represents the essence of human nature. The second part describes the varieties of Stupidity, and the last one talks about bliss, which, by and large, is also Stupidity.

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