OR, the toilet spoke and I understood the truth
Thank you for writing this. This has been on my mind the last year or so as I’ve studied the works of Elinor and Vincent Ostrom. They stood between a mainstream economics and political science that believed people unable to govern themselves. They (especially Elinor) thwarted the popular prisoner’s dilemma conclusion that only radical markets or top-down interventions could solve collective action problems. They believed deeply in the capacity of regular citizens to work together to solve problems.
Every human being is capable of something astounding that no AI is capable of yet: creating true novelty.
The notion of intelligence, especially when measured as IQ, so profoundly misses the point of how amazing human minds are.
Thank you 🙏 this is one of the most hopeful things I have read in a long time...thanks for reaching into my “echo chamber “ and giving me a little shake!
One thing that makes people seem stupid is The Curse of Knowledge. When you know something it's almost impossible to understand what it is like to not know it. For example, I am currently listening to the Bone Valley podcast about a miscarriage of justice in Florida, and all I can think is, "geez these yahoos in Florida are complete idiots, what are they doing putting the wrong man in prison when it's so obvious?" But of course, I know some key facts that the participants didn't know (but should have...)
There's been a lovely positive vibe on many substacks I'm subscribed to of late. I wonder if it's because this gang are all meta contrarians, and the educated position currently seems to be that people are stupid and everything is terrible. Articles like yours today leave me feeling far more refreshed and optimistic, and it's been a joy to find sources of news and information that give you a lift, rather than always hitting you down. Thank you!
"If a blob disagrees with you, that's because it’s a big dumb sack of gelatinous ooze." This is precisely why we should NOT argue with people we aren't deeply connected with and why social media has convinced us, incorrectly, by sheer inundation with blobs, that the world is full of stupid people.
Your post reminded me of something Chesterton said(I'll be paraphrasing due to laziness), 'There are two types of things in life, things that a person should only do if exceptional like composing an opera and things that everyone should do for themselves whether they are good at them or bad, like composing a love letter. Democracy is simply the belief that the really important things(presumably including running the country) fall into the latter category.'
Perhaps only tangentially related but that is what your post made me think of.
The know it all never learns. The know it all thinks people are stupid.
I wholeheartedly agree, proving that you are NOT stupid!
I would replace “people are not stupid” with “people are doing the best they can at the time.”
Your link for "naive realism" links to the thesis, in the philosophy of perception, that we are directly aware of the things we see (eg trees), something that's surely true (esp if the alternative, as the article says, is the—crazy!— thesis that we're directly aware of our mental representations of trees instead). Probably you meant to link to the page on naive realism in social psychology (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naïve_realism_(psychology))?
I've been inhaling cognitive distortions through Freakonomics and associated reading of behavioral economics. I love the topics, but it has changed how I view other humans (this has also changed through years of working in psychiatry). I do view other humans as stupid, and this is disheartening if not terrifying. Thanks for challenging my paradigm! I've loved your newsletter! I would be appreciative if you would check mine out. I'm looking for feedback on how to improve it. Thanks Adam!
Brilliant piece! Thank you Adam. You tickled my brain today. I gave up thinking people were stupid when I decided to adopt a live and let live philosophy. Before that, I attacked others for their idiotic ideas and pummeled them with the shortcoming of their cognitive bias. But alas, I had to keep looking up which C.B. fit their deficiencies and too often found myself within the problem. Humans are like that.
Lovely text - and if ever come to Brazil, please let us know!
seeing others as merely stupid is a first step toward a dehumanisation of them; of seeing them as something _less_ than human. your piece is a lovely corrective to that rather sinister idea. cheers
The human brain has what, 90 billion neurons? Yep the top selling book, perhaps of all time, is Prince Harry's. As many people have pointed out in the past, most humans live because a small fraction of others are at the controls, making discoveries in science, medicine, and keeping most of the others from killing themselves.