The Basic Laws of Human Stupidity, by Carlo M. Cipolla:

  1. Always and inevitably everyone underestimates the number of stupid individuals in circulation.
  2. The probability that a certain person will be stupid is independent of any other characteristic of that person.
  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.
  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.
    • Corrolary: A stupid person is more dangerous than a bandit.

(via Jerry Kindall)

4 thoughts on “Human Stupidity

  1. Problem: these rules treat stupid people as if they were a class separate from a class of non-stupid people, when, in fact, most of us drift back and forth between the two. So the rules should include ways to determine which class a person is in at the moment.

    Having said that, I have encountered people whom I have never seen to be anything other than stupid, while never the opposite, so perhaps the two classes should be: always stupid and sometimes stupid? When and if we are stupid, however, I think these rules do apply.

    — The “Likes To hink He’s Only Sometimes Stupid” Prop

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