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How To Deal With Stupid People

Stupid people have an amazing talent to induce nerd rage in smart people.  How do we deal with them?  Perhaps we can deal with them by dealing with ourselves.

What is Nerd Rage?

While most definitions of nerd rage include the image of a German kid yelling at his computer, there is a more general rage that builds inside smart people when they deal with stupid people.

Do You Nerd Rage?

Do you feel like punching people in the face who:

  • Just don’t get the simplest idea.
  • Constantly use fallacious arguments.
  • Won’t change their mind even though you’ve proven them wrong.
  • Repeat the same tired argument that you’ve already dismantled last time you met.
  • Argue against the use of logic.
  • Misinterpret analogies.
  • Can’t abstract.
  • Argue against “book learning”.
  • Speak with authority on things they know absolutely nothing about.
  • Are proud to be stupid.

If you answered yes to any of the above, you may be a nerd rager.  Long term nerd raging can lead to high blood pressure, hair loss, insanity and even spontaneous combustion.  So it’s important to seek help as soon as possible.  Luckily, by following our Simple 4 Step Nerd Rage Program, you can be free of your nerd rage.  Our program normally costs $41.99, but we’re giving it to you now for FREE!

Step 1 – Acknowledge the Problem

Before we can arrive at a solution, we must first define the problem.  Since we’re smart people here, I’ll use a technical definition:  Stupid people piss you the fuck off.  Now that we have intellectual acknowledgement, it’s time for some emotional acknowledgement – we need to let it out.  I mean it.  Let.  It.  Out.  If you’re not sure how to do this, here are some suggestions:

  • Play the video at the top of this post and sing along — the lyrics are included for a reason.  Feels good, doesn’t it?
  • Microwave Pickachu.  Please don’t do this with a real animal (unless it’s already dead), no matter how tempting.
  • Write a rant about stupid people.

Now that we’ve cleared our mind and soul, we’re ready to think.

Step 2 – Introspect

“I’m smart enough to know that I am stupid.” – Richard  Feynman

The Law of Exponential Stupidity. You’re already pretty smart, so most people are stupider than you in comparison, and as you get smarter, there will be more and more stupid people in the world (relative to you).  To compound the problem, knowledge increases exponentially — smart people get smarter (because they know that they are stupid) while stupid people stay the same (because they don’t know that they are stupid).  As if that weren’t enough, consider Einstein’s quote:

“Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the the universe.”

If we let stupid people piss us off, we’re going end up like that German kid.  Fick deine mutter!!!

How much do we really know? If we imagine everything there is possible to know in the Universe, the knowledge set of any person who ever lived, smart or stupid, is infinitesimally small in comparison.

Nature.  We have genes that make us the smartest animals on the planet, so it’s not that far fetched that we have inherited genes that makes us smarter than other humans.  From this perspective, despising stupid people is as uncool as super models despising ugly people.

Nurture.  How much of our intelligence is a result of the situation in which we were born?  If I were born to a rural farming family that never encouraged intellectual development, would I not be a “stupid person” as well?

Self.  Then there are those that despite the odds, manage to develop the intellectual “spark”.  We like to think that I am smart because I persevered.  But is that spark really under our control, or is it a fluke quantum quirk somewhere in our brain?

These introspections are not meant to be assertions of truth, but tools to help us arrive at Truth.  All of them can be argued one way or the other and while any perspective may be equally valid, the question is which perspective is most helpful.

Step 3 – Shift the Paradigm

What about thinking of stupid people as an intellectual challenge?  When they don’t understand something, there’s a reason for it.  As tempting as it is to say, “Because they’re morons,” that kind of an answer is on the level of , “Because God said so.”  You’re smart, right?  Then figure out why they don’t understand.

What about the stupid people who are downright rude, anti-intellectual, and don’t want to learn?  “Why the fuck should I bother with those people?” might be a reasonable response.  But the psyche of an anti-intellectual and the factors involved in the motivation to learn can be studied and understood as well.  The best teachers are the ones we love the most; and we love them not because they have superior knowledge, but because they are able to cultivate in us the excitement and motivation to learn.

We can, in a sense, think of stupid people as children.  This is not to mean that we think less of them, or condescend (in my mind, condescending to children is not a good idea either), but like parents, we are in a position to teach with love, even when they are being stupid brats.  The parent recognizes bratty behaviour as a problem in education and takes responsibility to do whatever they can to correct it, for the sake of the child.

It may make us feel uncomfortable to think of other people as subjects of study, or as children.  That is our noble Self speaking.   I think this is the root cause of the frustration stupid people give us.  We want to think of them as equals, and in our mind it somehow translates to “intellectual equal”.  But they don’t have to be an intellectual equal in order to be equal in terms of capacity to share joy, suffer, love, and be loved.  It’s okay to use our brains and be smart in order to accomplish those goals.

Step 4 – Make a Difference

We can think that stupid people screw up our life, and it will be true.  The law of attraction dictates that this attitude will incur more conflict, anger and frustration in our life.  Boo fucking hoo.

Or, we can think that we are in a privileged position with the greatest power to shape the world around us for the better, and it will also be true.  If the smart people don’t do it, who will?  The stupid people?

Instead of focusing on our nerd rage, we need to focus on its consequences.

It’s Your Responsibility, Not Theirs

Michael Eric Dyson sums everything up beautifully in his essay Why I Am an Intellectual:

“It was Jesse Jackson who once remarked to me, ‘If you say something I can’t understand, that’s a failure of your education, not mine,’ and he was right.  No sloppy thinker or lazy rhetorician himself, Jackson knows the intellectual effort it takes to understand an idea so well that one can explain it to the learned and the layman alike.  To paraphrase Ecclesiastes, there is a time and place for every academic language under the sun — and for the jargons, obscurantisms, esoterica, dialects, glosses, and inside meanings that attend their path.  But there is also the need to write and speak clearly about important matters for the masses of folk who will never make it to class.”

Other good articles about dealing with stupid people:

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2 Responses to "How To Deal With Stupid People"

  1. I get that feeling when it comes to Homer, even though I do <3 that show. Animated satire, gotta love it.

  2. Homer is the best character on that show! =)

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