Dave Stancliff/For the Times-Standard
Posted: 08/01/2010 01:30:22 AM PDT
Regardless of the way some of us act, no one is perfect. That's where stupidity comes in. Because we know we're not perfect we often try to cover up our mistakes, or even the mistakes of others. That's stupid because everyone knows their time to screw up will come. It's as inevitable as taxes and death.
I won't even attempt to number the stupid mistakes I've made in my life. I sometimes talk about my stupidest failures and joke about them, hoping to get a smile or laugh that could help take away the sting.
James F. Welles, Ph.D, the author of “Understanding Stupidity: an Analysis of the Unnatural Selection of Beliefs and Behavior in Institutions and Organization,” wrote that not all failures are stupid. It seems in a behaviorist's universe, there is no such thing as stupidity. Behavior, Welles asserts, “is simply (or complexly) caused, and the corruption of the learning process and limitations on a living system's ability to adapt are inherent in the process of life.”
An understanding of how stupidity affects us could make us better people. We call self-deception stupid because we ignore facts that could help or hurt us. For example, say you're a politician arguing there's no such thing as “Global Warming” and you find new relevant information that proves otherwise.
What do you do? Change your position to reflect the truth or ignore it to further a political agenda? If you do the latter, you are stupid, greedy, or you have a broken moral compass.
Facts enlighten us and result in clear thinking. Accepting facts is acknowledging the truth. To turn away from facts is stupid. But not everyone is interested in the truth.