Wednesday, July 25, 2012

On Human Stupidity

A wise man once said, “Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I am not sure about the former.” That wise man went by the name of Albert Einstein and he is considered to have also said, “The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits.”

I have no idea what Einstein meant by stupidity, but I understand it in a sense that transcends the modern surface-level acceptance that stupidity applies to those who are not able to achieve a high score on some test or obtain a degree or other such arbitrary measurement of one’s intelligence. 

Human stupidity is mostly expressed in people’s extreme level of arrogance and specifically the belief that we are invincible, powerful, and the ultimate rulers on the third planet from the Sun in the Solar System. We use resources as if they are limitless, we act as if we will live forever, we treat others and the planet as if they are made of indestructible materials, and we excuse all of the above as if that would make a difference to the negative impact we have on everything around us. Some of us comprehend that taking anything for granted on a personal level might have unpleasant consequences; not many, however, realize that taking anything for granted on a global level will have dire consequences. Then one day we wake up and wonder what happened. If that’s not stupidity, I don’t know what is.

Modern advances in science, technology, and quality of life supposedly suggest that the human being has evolved into a high-functioning and successful organism. However, when I look around and take note of the damage done and being done, I often wonder if instead of moving forward, we are unwittingly moving backwards and becoming less human. What is truly scary is that as Einstein realized years ago, human stupidity has no limits and just when we think that we can’t make things any worse, we surprise ourselves yet again. 

-      Krasi

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