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Tuesday, June 26, 2012


While enthusiastically granting that individual humans can, from time to time, commit the most inspiring acts of selflessness, generosity and kindness, these events are so inspiring partially because they are rare. Typically, humans are venal, self-centered and arrogant. I didn't start out as a misanthrope. But you all are talking me into it. This article is about arrogance, that is the arrogance of assuming that you are smart. You are not.

YOU ARE STUPID!!!! "I am not good at math." NO, you are STUPID!! "I don't test well.' Yes, that is because YOU ARE STUPID!! "I have emotional intelligence.' THERE IS NO SUCH THING!!! YOU ARE STUPID SO YOU RELATE WELL TO OTHER STUPID PEOPLE!! And here is my latest favorite, 'I rely more on intuition'. That is because YOU ARE STUPID!!!

The single most important thing that is interfering with your happiness is that YOU WILL NOT ADMIT THAT YOU ARE STUPID!! Republicans? STUPID!! Democrats? STUPID!! Hollywood personalities? INCREDIBLY STUPID. Can you take a partial derivative? IF NOT YOU ARE STUPID, STUPID, STUPID!!!. When someone asks you, who should be President, the correct answer is, 'I don't know. I AM STUPID!! I have no idea what the consequences are of one over the other.' Of course, you probably don't agree with any of this. But that is..... you got it.... BECAUSE YOU ARE STUPID!!

The world will be one of woe until and unless people, and the Professors, Pundits and Politicians need to be first in line, accept that THEY ARE STUPID and act accordingly. We need an Arrogance Anonymous and I think a twelve step plan. People stand up in front of their peers and say, 'I am Michael Ferguson and I AM STUPID!' You, of course, need to insert your name in there. I used my name, partially to not offend anyone else whose name I may have used. It would be true, but they may not like that I singled them out. However, mostly it was to communicate that this applies to me, too. Yes, I am vastly less stupid than you. In fact, I may be the least stupid person on the planet. More importantly, I am vastly less ignorant than you. BUT I AM STILL STUPID AND I KNOW IT!!


So what should a twelve step plan look like? We mentioned the first step. Get up in front of the mirror, look at yourself and say, "I am STUPID!" Yes, the emphasis is important. You need to have a deep, visceral reaction to it. It is not good enough to have an intellectual reaction. You need to feel this deep down inside of you. YOU NEED TO FEEL INTELLECTUAL HUMILITY! Everyone, and I mean everyone, should be constantly imbued with a sense of intellectual humility and absolutely nobody is.

Next, of course, you need to go to the people you have called stupid in the past and tell them, 'I am stupid too.' This is important. You don't apologize for calling them stupid. They are. Your error was feeling, saying or acting as if YOU AREN'T STUPID TOO!! Yes, you may be less stupid than they, but this is an act of humility. It is not time for you to YET AGAIN WALLOW IN YOUR UNDESERVED INTELLECTUAL ARROGANCE!!

When someone says something with which you are disinclined to agree, GOOGLE IT YOU MORON!!! Who the HELL DO YOU THINK YOU ARE!? God did NOT give you an encyclopedia for a brain. I can't TELL you how many times I have witnessed arguments that would not have survived one trip to a search engine. Either educate yourself before you disagree or SHUT UP AND ADMIT THAT YOU ARE SATISFIED WITH BEING NOT ONLY STUPID BUT ALSO IGNORANT!! I know far more than you do. I am vastly less stupid than you. Still, every time I choose to reply to someone, first I GOOGLE IT!! Because I AM STUPID!!

Every time you disagree with them ALWAYS perform a reductio ad absurdum. There is a good chance you don't know what that means, BECAUSE YOU ARE STUPID!! Even if you do know what it means, it just indicates that you are less stupid than most. With a reductio ad absurdum, you assume that the other person is correct. Then you try to get it to lead to a logical inconsistency. It is unlikely that you will succeed, because YOU ARE STUPID! But in the process you might get some glimmering of the reason the other person believes it. It does not mean that they are correct. Rather, it will open your eyes to the possibility that their belief is no more stupid than yours.

Now, that is only four steps, but I can't think of another eight. That is because, I am sure, I AM STUPID!!

As an aside, to all of you in 'high IQ societies', I suggest you change the designation to 'low stupidity societies.' I said this a couple of decades ago, 'I am not sure that IQ tests are an accurate measure of intelligence. But when you see the questions a person must get wrong in order to score 100, you understand that they are a very effective measure of stupidity. In fact, it should be inverted and renamed Stupidity Quotient."

Someone suggested that there should be a 'National Stupidity Day.' I think that is a wonderful idea. You take the day off and use it to contemplate just how STUPID you are. For example, consider this. You limped through High School Algebra and then avoided Math. Now you blather on, with not a hint of equivocation, about the Federal Reserve or unemployment or the affairs of nations or tax policy. SHUT UP!! THESE ARE ALL MUCH HARDER THAN HIGH SCHOOL ALGEBRA. YOU ARE STUPID. AND YOU ARE IGNORANT. YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT AND YOU ARE POLLUTING THE CIVIC DISCOURSE WITH YOUR INANITIES!!

Now, if you completed a couple of years of college level calculus, a year of statistics, and learned linear algebra, the above does not apply to you. But I assure you, you are still stupid and ignorant. I can say this because I have that much math and more. Yet, I am still stupid and ignorant. We will just need to consider something else on National Stupidity Day. Believe me, there will be no shortage of options.

In the evening the whole family will sit down to a feast of crow and relate for one another the stupid things they have thought, done or said in the prior year. If entered into with the proper attitude we can all get a great chuckle out if it. If we don't see the humor, well, it is time to visit Arrogance Anonymous.

I would like to suggest in the U.S. that National Stupidity day be the first Monday in November. If you don't understand why, it is a wonderful opportunity for you to reflect upon your stupidity.

Another person suggested that a single day is insufficient. I guess they imagine something like the extended Jewish holiday of Hanukkah. I suppose we could call it Moronukkah. While not endorsing the idea, I am not going to argue vociferously against it either. It is very doubtful that we, as a species, will ever be overly aware of our own stupidity. That is just not how we humans roll.


Yes, I was taught to suffer fools gladly and believe me I tried. In the end, however there were just too many of them. I don't mind the stupidity, really. It is how we humans are. I don't even mind the ignorance when people 'fess up to it. But the problem is that people are too stupid to understand that they are stupid. They think they are smart because the other animals on this planet are even dumber. Humans - the least stupid animal on the planet. You should place this statement some place prominent lest you forget it.


  1. Hey.. that was hilarious... ROFL - you can google that acronym.

  2. I like it. Whenever I start feeling superior I just think about the great minds throughout history and I feel pretty stupid. But then I think, compared to the general population....

  3. Here is the real kicker, Radiorobert. They were pretty dumb, too. All you need do is read some of their biographies to appreciate that these people by and large had a few great insights that peaked out from a general haze of 'I have no idea what is going on.'

    Once a girl said to me, 'For being so smart, you sure are dumb.' I replied, 'Human intelligence is asymptotic below smart.' She said, 'I don't know what that means?' I said, 'Well, see? There you are.'

  4. Radiorobert, why are you comparing yourself to the general population? Why not compare yourself to ducks? Smart isn't, or at least shouldn't be, defined on a curve. You get things right, you are smart. Get things wrong, you are stupid. You, like I and everyone else, get things wrong. A lot.

  5. I like it. We could all use a dose of humility. Much of life either doesn't require all that much intelligence, or is beyond the reach of human intelligence. Even in the slice that remains in between, we all think, say, and do some pretty stupid things. Stupidity and folly are commonplace parts of humanity to which none of us are immune. We need to remember that.

  6. Thank you, Fast Richard. I like how you bound our life experience. Most of it is comprised of the obvious or the imponderable. Perhaps that is why there is not much evolutionary reward for additional brain power.

  7. MICHAEL !!! YOU ARE NOT STUPID !!! I am not stupid. Sometimes we do stupid things. What you have posted here is wrong. It is but a "tale told by an idiot. Full of sound and fury signifying NOTHING." Yes we need a strong dose of humility at times, but don't you see what you are doing? In psychology it is called "projection." You are projecting your insecurities out on everyone else. You are a GREAT MAN and I have always admired you even if I have disagreed with you on numerous occasions such as this one. False humility is just a cover for depression. Come back to our Grandiosity Club, our true home! Sorry, I had to put it the way I did, but I thought you needed to hear it. Feel free to upbraid me anytime I get in a rut like you seem to be. Hope I didn't make you too angry, but a little anger can be a good thing.

    Very truly your friend,

    Stupid :)

  8. I will have to agree with Jim in this occasion. You are just covering a depression with an alleged and tainted 'humility appeal'.

    While admitting one is stupid is an act of courage and humility, doing so too often can be a waste of time. Some things are better left implied.

    If anything, people lack the tools. We have recently developed these tools: computers, search engines, intelligent algorithms, edutainment, meta-programming and such. Self-improvement can only become better mastering these tools. While lazy people will still find excuses, the truly devoted will finally possess what was required for the knowledge and wisdom to flourish.

    1. To the first part, I disagree. This is about you being stupid, ignorant and arrogant. I only stress that I, too, am stupid so that I can emphasize that we all are.

      As to the second, I have an enormous library at my fingertips at all times. It is almost magical.

  9. I do appreciate your comments Michael. They certainly ring true, at least for me. I can not comment on the universality of stupidity, as I've not spoken to all of earths' inhabitants. Of course how would I judge, as by my own estimate, I'm pretty stupid anyway. I'm not being facetious, and hopefully not sanctimonious either.

    Ones own stupidity is frankly not a funny matter. The best we can do is to struggle to learn as much as we can via books, classes, search engines and other people. The high IQ world provides no sanctuary for wisdom, which in part must be based on some knowledge and intellectual "scaffolding."

    "This above all: to thine own self be true "

    Rich Stock

  10. I cant compare my intelligence as respectable as its remarked prior to my conveyance of particular issue of the hear and now, to those of a mathematician or a polymath.

    But from my experience as a socialite, I am quite willing to endorse that Mike Ferguson is in fact beyond social acuity, he walks and talks an embodiment of intelligent design proven constantly and fluidly buy his humble demeanor.

    I can stand and say as an individual in support of intelligence to beget benevolence, ending ignorance to end malevolence, he could possibly be "The least ignorant person alive". Hands down.

  11. No, no depression, no projection. Truly, I find that sometimes I have learned something and when I go back to use it, it is gone. I have found that, often, I think I have properly assessed a problem only to realize at a future date that I had misapprehended it. I can only surmise that many times I do not come back to use something learned that is no longer there. So, I never learn that it is gone. I can only surmise that there are many things that I think I have assessed properly but that are wrong and that I never have the insight to correct.

    I am intensely aware that my brain functions poorly. Yet, I also know that it functions far better than most. I am properly impressed with the insufficiency of my intellect and, as such, am profoundly vexed by the assertion made by some of my intellectual inferiors that they are, indeed, smart.

    I actually don't like the terms smart and stupid. Rather, I say that our brains do not function properly. Recently we had the problem (just one of many) that goes like this. There are two envelopes. One has twice as much money in it as the other. You choose one, open it, and it has $100 in it.

    You may now either keep the envelope that you have or switch to the other one, sight unseen. What should you do? This is really an extraordinarily simple problem. Yet most people get it wrong. Our brains do not function properly and, for many, it doesn't function properly in a big way.

    Again, we are all stupid. Most of us are extraordinarily stupid. No depression, no projection. Just a fact.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. What the beauty of the internet and technology is that we can now record properly our own stupidity, just to marvel at it as soon as 2-3 months later.