STUPID? NOT ME? NOT YOU? RIGHT? WRONG. We are each stupid in our own way. So stop feeling holier than thou when you shine and someone else seems like  tarnished coal. This topic, however, lets a Cranky Old Lady rant and that means I don’t have to head to the target range to keep from shooting someone. Cranky Old Husband is happy about that.

Topic #331: Is there a cure for stupidity? If you had a million dollars to reduce stupidity where you live, how would you spend it?

T.H.White’s Merlin said in The Once and Future King:

We find that at present the human race is divided into one wise man, nine knaves, and ninety fools out of every hundred. That is, by an optimistic observer. The nine knaves assemble themselves under the banner of the most knavish among them, and become ‘politicians’; the wise man stands out, because he knows himself to be hopelessly
outnumbered, and devotes himself to poetry, mathematics, or philosophy; while the ninety fools plod off under the banners of the nine villains, according to fancy, into the labyrinths of chicanery, malice and warfare. 

Political correctness says all people are born equal, there are no stupid people, no child should be left behind and if one appears stupid the  fault lies in  personal laziness, bad parenting, or bad teaching. And yes indeed those can play a part.  But that is just a way to avoid the issue and damaging to all.

Cranky Old Lady remembers when the terms moron, imbecile, idiot thrived; now it is developmentally challenged, learning challenged, needs more time.  Cranky Old Lady also remembers the time when work was work and you did what you had to do to get paid.  The idea of loving your job for anything by the pay check was still buried somewhere in a vault designed to protect us from stupid ideas.

Sounding like a Tea Party candidate.  Your thinking that way wants me  pull out my pistol. Seeing me that ways, says you judge people far too quickly and that is just plain stupid.

I am a bleeding heart liberal and have spent my life trying to be a do-gooder.  My more conservative husband calls me socialist.  He was once a bleeding heart liberal, but aging has lead him astray.  I earned liberal points protesting Viet Nam.   I am a licensed therapist but preferred working on the Hard Knock Streets of the South Bronx instead of making much more money sitting in a cozy office while  listening to the complaints of the worried well.  I can sleep with  my eyes open and that might have made private practice possible.  Be wary of therapists who put you on a couch and sit where you cannot see them. If you hear them snoring, tip toe out and don’t pay them.

So back to the question.  For a baby born with half a brain, until  stem cell research figures out how to add more gray matter, some will always think at a lower level.  That is reality.  There are other realities.

Some are not stupid, but learning disabled–mostly reading blind or math blind.  Some, Cranky Old Lady is one, she suffers from Dygraphia –which is difficulty get thoughts down on paper particulary via long hand.   The acquisition of a computer and word processing program in my thirties meant handwriting difficulties were solved.  Also meant I got help with the stupid little errors that drove some teaches, professors and ultimately the editors of my two books crazy.

Others stupid little errors don’t get caught  anyone who reads my posts will attest to and that will the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

I am also in the 5% of the population as measured by most tests of intelligence,  which are now get a bad rap, deservedly so as many are culturally biased.  Nevertheless, I am in the percentage of people covered in most IQ tests.

But here is another not so well-known fact.  The great student of how children thing, Piaget–who had at first a very small sample for studying–his two children–saw children as moving through four stages, each with its own way of learning and thinking.

  1. Magical thought–he called it pre-operational, operation meaning the ability to think.  Those caught in magical thought think dreams are real, dolls are real, the tv screen holds thousands of little people, traffic lights are controlled by elves pushing switches to make it tell you to stop or go, and Santa Clause really drives his reindeer all around the world and pushes himself down every child’s chimney.  Feelings rule magical thinkers.  Mommy says don’t do something, Mommy is bad.  Mommy gives you a cookie, Mommy is good.  And there lies another  important point, a magical thinking child actual thinks Mommy is too different people.   The therapists call this “splitting.”  Splitting is one of the main the symptom those who garner the psychiatric  label Borderline Personality Disorders.
  2.  Concrete thought–A child has moved to this stage when he or she know longer believes in most of the above.  That occurs at about the age of six.  Most cultures recognize this fact which is why seven-year olds can tend sheep on their own, or are sent to school.  The learning, however remains limited and thought is essentially based on “What Mommy  and Daddy along with  people in round you say and what you experience personally.   Concrete thiners  cannot think in a broad “what if”objective fashion as can the scientist. Asking for the definition of the Golden Rule often gets interpreted as “Do unto others as they do unto you. To the concrete thinking this means: “You hit me, I hit you.”
  3. Abstract thought as described by Piaget is mainly the ability to transcend feeling  based thought.  An abstract thinker is like a scientist and can develop lots of ideas and then test and think about which of those ideas are true.   Abstract thinkers can think about what others think more objectively.  Teens are supposed to be able to do this and often a sign they are thinking objectively is thinking parents are stupid.  When kids realize, as did Mark Twain eventually, parents are not stupid that is a sign abstract thought is in the driver’s seat.

Some more facts about stupid versus not stupid.

  1. Tests and studies across all cultures show that as many as 50% to 70% per cent of all adults never move beyond concrete thought.  These tend to be followers who believe what others say with passion and loudness.
  2. When you move from magical thinking to concrete thinking and hopefully to abstract thought the other ways of thinking come along as baggage.  Einstein probably thought magically much of the time.  It was probably the root of some of his creativity, but he wasn’t stuck there and could think about his thoughts and test them out.
  3. Trauma, stress, and severe concussions or brain injuries  kill abstract thought.  Sometimes the death of this more advanced ability is permanent, sometimes not, often fluctuating.  I think it better explains some mental health disorders better than bad genes or bad parenting.

End of one lecture, here is the next.  Remember Cranky Old Lady was a professor and as Cranky Old Husband likes to note “You love professing. ”  As if he doesn’t.

  1. When all around you seem stupid, probably it is a sign you are very smart, but don’t know it.  Took me almost fifty years and a husband who, despite his crankiness, valued my brain.  Dysgraphia was also a major factor in disowning my smarts.  And yes, if some errors in my blogs become visible to me when reading them later, shame  paints  my cheeks a rosy red.  Lucky  I am a stubborn, keep at it old lady otherwise would have given up learning in the second grade.  Also lucky I do not have Dyslexia as reading was a factor in surviving emotionally.
  2. A major problem lies in the veneration of intelligence, marks, and academic achievement.   Yes, we need bright people, but let me remind you that most leaders are smarter than the “average bear” as Pooh would say.  Cranky Lady does not don’t think the leaders of the world have done much for civilization.  Too many think only about  feeling powerful, or richer or better than any one else.  Too many don’t give a hoot or three hoots about other people, which is really stupid.  The world will not survive if we don’t work together–one for all and all for one.
  3. Stupid cultures  are a bigger problem than stupid people.  And yes much of our Born in the USA  culture is stupid.  Think, however, and realize our culture is not nearly as stupid as those that call for killing someone who rejects the dominant belief of those in power.
  4. The media encourages stupidity.  Making fun of parents,  any one over thirty of in power; promoting a win all attitude;  pushing spending, spending, spending ;publishing mis-information as the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth;  and finally, encouraging the  divisive ranting of bright people saying stupid things. damages all.

How would I spend a million dollars, I would promote kindness as the key attribute of intelligence.  Sadly, it would probably take more than a million dollars to change people’s thinking about what really matters.

Stay strong, share, care, and thank you for reading, press like if you liked, comment if you wish, help me stay strong.

Love you all, stupid or not.


  1. I was about to ask what triggered this tirade when I saw at the end that it is one of the Daily Post prompts… Have we become more stupid or less so? I guess it depends on who we are talking to. The internet has definitely exposed more of what we say and do for all to see… It’s anyone’s guess. I love your responses. 😉

    • Daily Post didn’t like it. First they deleted it. So I re-posted it. First time I followed your directions and got the text and the picture. After it was deleted and I rescheduled it, it only came up as a picture. lt is most likely a machine, but makes me a bit paranoid. Trying to post on the daily challenge less and see if that is the problem. My vanity says I am offering much more than some of the stuff that gets posted three or four times–mainly a machine filling pages.

      You have renewed some of my faith it what I have to offer. Thank you.

    • I do think the internet has the capacity to reduce ignorance which is different than the capacity to think critically. Also sadly affirms the fact that accepting the validity of your opinions remains the way most people go.

      Thank you again. You are in one of Merlin’s wise people. In the end he did fairly well as an artist. Hoping the same for you.

Agree or disagree, comments are always welcomed.

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