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Basic laws of human stupidity.

I recently found this page by by Carlo M. Cipolla which Mr. Cipolla defined the basic structure of Stupidity and clearly defined it in 5 simple laws.

We always use the term “Stupid”  But how we use it and what we mean by calling a person stupid is a bit vague. After reading his article about Stupidity, I recently acquired a cleare picture about Stupidity in general.

Here are the laws he mention.

1. Always and inevitably everyone underestimates the number of stupid individuals in circulation.

Number of stupid people is always higher than we assume.

2.  The probability that a certain person will be stupid is independent of any other characteristic of that person.

Stupidity has no bounds every race, gender, age and social group has their own share of stupid people.

3. A stupid person is a person who causes losses to another person or to a group of persons while himself deriving no gain and even possibly incurring losses.

This one is the most important one, a criminal or a bandit gains by making other people loose things but stupid people has no gain or direction in their actions.

This part is directly from his page ( HERE )


It is not difficult to understand how social, political and institutional power enhances the damaging potential of a stupid person. But one still has to explain and understand what essentially it is that makes a stupid person dangerous to other people – in other words what constitutes the power of stupidity.

Essentially stupid people are dangerous and damaging because reasonable people find it difficult to imagine and understand unreasonable behaviour. An intelligent person may understand the logic of a bandit. The bandit’s actions follow a pattern of rationality: nasty rationality, if you like, but still rationality. The bandit wants a plus on his account. Since he is not intelligent enough to devise ways of obtaining the plus as well as providing you with a plus, he will produce his plus by causing a minus to appear on your account. All this is bad, but it is rational and if you are rational you can predict it. You can foresee a bandit’s actions, his nasty manoeuvres and ugly aspirations and often can build up your defenses.

With a stupid person all this is absolutely impossible as explained by the Third Basic Law. A stupid creature will harass you for no reason, for no advantage, without any plan or scheme and at the most improbable times and places. You have no rational way of telling if and when and how and why the stupid creature attacks. When confronted with a stupid individual you are completely at his mercy. Because the stupid person’s actions do not conform to the rules of rationality, it follows that:

a) one is generally caught by surprise by the attack; b) even when one becomes aware of the attack, one cannot organize a rational defense, because the attack itself lacks any rational structure.

4. Non-stupid people always underestimate the damaging power of stupid individuals. In particular non-stupid people constantly forget that at all times and places and under any circumstances to deal and/or associate with stupid people always turns out to be a costly mistake.

5. A stupid person is the most dangerous type of person.

Nature of the danger is very unpredictable and thus it very hard to predict or defend.

All in all the article was very good check it out in detail at -> THE BASIC LAWS OF HUMAN STUPIDITY by Carlo M. Cipolla


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