I hate to use that word. Stupid. It’s insulting and derogatory. Suggesting someone is stupid implies that they are stupid about everything, that their intelligence can be measured completely by one thing they have said or done.
I have done some stupid things in my time and I have said some stupid things. (I’m not actually going to tell you what they are. That would just be stupid. I don’t need to be laughed at again for the same ‘crimes’.)
How did I know what I had said or done was stupid?
Well, sometimes people told me. Brothers are bastards, at times.
Sometimes, I knew, all by myself. I’m not stupid.
What did I do when I realised the error of my ways or words?
Blushed, was usually first.
Think, was next. ‘Shit, did I really just say/do that?’
Apologise, sometimes came next, depending on the circumstances.
Learning something new often happened. Checking my erroneous facts. (Should have done that in the first place).
Acquiring or adopting a new life lesson. ‘I’ll never say/do that again.’
Large doses of common sense usually prevail when we have done or said something stupid. We learn from our mistakes.
I am also stupid about a fair number of subjects. I know next to nothing about physics or chemistry or astronomy. I am sometimes fascinated by information on these subjects but I don’t really know enough to have an intelligent conversation with an expert. I would be able to ask lots of (quite possibly stupid) questions. I would be able to take on board certain facts. I might even learn something.
But I’m not overly interested in any of those subjects enough to really crave more knowledge. So, I guess you could say, I choose to remain stupid about them.
Is there a difference between chosen ignorance and stupidity?
Perhaps that depends on who is defining the two or whether they choose to see them as one and the same thing.
I do see them as interchangeable, at times. I am ignorant/stupid about given subjects.
As opposed to, I am ignorant about a subject but I’m not stupid enough to say that I know anything worthwhile knowing about it.
Intelligence levels have been measured in many ways for years. People take tests to enhance their own perception of how intelligent they are compared to the rest of society. (Or to feel totally deflated, depending on results.) Membership of Mensa is quantitative of IQ but misses so much other information. There is no qualitative judgement of a person’s variety of intelligences.
A truer definition of intelligence might be observed by studying humanity as a whole or watching individuals in action, carrying out skills that leave you stunned at a person’s ability. They may or may not score highly on an IQ test that, by definition, only measures one aspect of a person’s being.
Emotional intelligence is not taken account of. Does it take account of creative intelligence? Is there such a thing as spiritual intelligence? Or physical intelligence?
I choose to see intelligence in the skills and abilities and personalities and traits of a person.
But that doesn’t mean to say that we all cannot be stupid, at times. (I’m still not telling.)
Which brings me back to my original question. Can we, or should we, legislate for stupidity?
Our central and local government does it a lot.
It creates laws that govern everyone even while many people would not have done that deed in the first place.
Case in point. A number of years ago a ruling was passed in the city where I live that drinking alcohol in public was banned. This was meant, as you can imagine, to prevent people from swigging cider and cheap wine as they walked along public highways and byways. It did not, in fact, have the desired effect. Those people who were going to be stupid enough to become wasted in a public place still did it. They found ways to circumvent the law. They’re not that stupid.
What it did manage to achieve was another altogether different aim.
Anyone who chose to go to a public park, for instance, to picnic and share the delights of flavoursome cheeses, crusty bread and a bottle of red, was now breaking the law if they did so.
Perhaps law enforcement officers would have used their common sense and ignored the crime if they had happened upon said picnic. Perhaps not. I’ve never been brave enough to test it out.
Ahh, those previous delights of yesteryear; mulling over life and its ultimate meaning with my best friend, while we munched and squaffed of life’s little pleasures. All gone.
Now, I think that’s just stupid.
I may never want or have the opportunity to picnic in a park with my best friend again and partake of Bacchus’ fine wares.
But, I’m not selfish enough to deny others the carefree pleasures of youth and the memories those times create.
So, while Jack and Jill (apologies to real Jacks and Jills) are ‘getting wasted’ and ‘out of their heads’, a whole generation of youth, not to mention ‘auld yins’, are missing some innocent pleasures and breaking the law if they choose to flout it.
Stupid? Well, I think so.
Passing a law, such as the above, attempts to deal with one tiny aspect of a problem. It doesn’t prevent it. It doesn’t solve it.
There are laws being added to the statute books ad infinitum. Much against the advice and measures once advocated by Lord Palmerston. ‘A little law reform,’ was his answer.
Can we or should we legislate for stupidity?
We’re all guilty of stupidity from time to time.
Usually, common sense prevails.
I vote for common sense.
With thanks to the above post for compelling me to blog about something that’s bothered me for years.