Science Says “Smart People Are Idiots”

Right off the bat, congratulations on being in the top eighty percentile. We can read, and that puts us well ahead of the seven hundred million adults that can’t (I know the pictures are pretty, but focus. Focus!). Let’s bump us up a few more pegs for knowing what a percentile is as well. You’re smart; you know it; and I’m so so sorry… turns out this is bad news. Smart people are idiots.

Don’t panic!!! You’re obviously one of the exceptions. For God’s sake, quit panicking. Quick mental test:

In a lake, there is a patch of lily pads. Every day, the patch doubles in size. If it takes 48 days for the patch to cover the entire lake, how long would it take for the patch to cover half of the lake?

You said 24, right? Good, that means you’re smart. Unfortunately, the right answer was 47. I’m afraid you may be suffering from a condition called smart-idiot-itis, an affliction on the rise amongst intellectuals. See, because you’re smart, your brain immediately heard “half” and “48” and karate-chopped out a quick 24. Oops, this mental shortcut is called dysrationalia. Dysrationalia afflicts 100% of people who, when asked the question “how much dirt is in a hole 6 ft. by 3 ft. by 9 ft?” answer anything but zero, zero dirt (There’s no dirt in a hole, silly). Dysrationalia is the leading cause of smart-idiot-itis.

Don’t take my word for it. According to a long string of individuals with PhD’s, MBA’s, and various other impressive acronyms, “smart people are stupid.” The idea they present about our educational system can be summed up nicely in this quote by one of the said intellectuals (Michael Sherman):

Smart people believe weird things because they are skilled at defending beliefs they arrived at for non-smart reasons.

Essentially, smart people are used to being smart people, so they assume they’re right, because usually they are, even when they aren’t, right that is. Wow, that’d make more sense if I was one of those smart people, but if I were, it’d be wrong apparently. Thank you, brain.

It seems to boil down to something called the bias blind spot. Everyone is biased, and everyone who is biased believes they are not. This is why it’s so obvious when someone else is doing something stupid, but our own dumb actions confound us. Since we’re stuck in our own heads, when we put our briefcase in the dishwasher last week, or tied our shoes and completely forgot we’re not wearing pants yet, we don’t see ourselves as the bumbling morons we all are from time to time. It’s because of the cloud of justifications and excuses always swirling around our heads.

Sorry to say it, but being aware of this makes no difference, apparently. Currently, medical science has no cure for smart-idiot-itis, short of a lobotomy. As research into this horrible affliction progresses, should a cure be found, how could we ever trust these brainy buffoons anyway?

For more information on this disease, see Daniel Kahneman’s “Thinking, Fast and Slow.” If you think you may have smart-idiot-itis, seek medical attention immediately, and cross fingers that your doctor didn’t nail his hand to his refrigerator for no apparent reason.

 

Sources:

Literacy Rate (worldbank.org)

Why Smart People are Stupid (The New Yorker)

Rational and Irrational Thoughts (Scientific American) 

Dysrationalia: Defects in Real-World Intelligence (Talent Develop Resources)

Why People Believe Weird Things (Michael Shermer)

We Struggle With Objectivity: The Bias Blind Spot (Psychology Today)

Cognitive Sophistication Does Not Attenuate the Bias Blind Spot (ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)

Thinking, Fast and Slow

A Note on the Top 1%: Psychopaths or Superhumans?

 

A few days ago, we looked into the coming rise of a new species being developed by the technocrats; it’s nigh. Spectacular as this notion is, as it turns out, the next stage in human development has already arrived, interlaced inconspicuously amongst us, as though “They Live” were a documentary.

Doesn't anyone have a goddamn stick of gum?!

Doesn’t anyone have a goddamn stick of gum?!
http://www.releasedonkey.com

You see, everyone loves a good ethnic slur, but under our thin veil of cultural, linguistic, economic, and pigment differences, it’s understood that we’re all one collective unity of mankind. Hi, brothers and sisters. So with the utmost love and respect for all y’all round the globe (minus Canada, America’s ceaseless punchline), we can all join hands in an orgy of discrimination against the one group that’s not like the others. Proudly, I’ll stand on my soapbox of an anonymous keyboard and proclaim something we’ve all long suspected, but never voiced: “yuppies aren’t human.”

…Literally… Let me explain

If there’s one thing I’d gleaned from my last stint in the psych-ward (like you didn’t suspect), it’s how, like an uncured slab of beef, the lines between mental illnesses, unfortunately, are neither cut nor dry (consider the utter failure of the DSM). A great deal of consensus, however, stands in the psychologist community to where these muddied lines can be drawn, and the word “psychopath” is not a term bandied lightly, folks. A psychopath, apparently, is not always the image immediately drawn to mind of some knife wielding pariah, glazed in dried mustard and animal-semen (gross), prowling the subway adorned only in a single strategically-placed pool-floatie, who passes the day lobbing “Jesus saves” paper-airplane pamphlets at jaded urbanites. Nah, he’s probably wearing a silk tie, Gucci perhaps.

Psychopaths, in fact, while occasionally criminal masterminds, are masterful social chameleons, often indistinguishable from the crowd. Preconceived notions blown. A new theoretical analysis suggests that psychopathy is not merely a mental disorder, though, but rather the psychopath is a separate new sub-species of human altogether, a new animal. No joke. Sure, Patrick Bateman may lob revving chainsaws upon fleeing call-girls, but he wasn’t human, so it’s copacetic.  Evolution, it seems, just won’t take a day off. Psychopathy is categorized with traits of:

 

  • glib and superficial charm
  • grandiose (exaggeratedly high) estimation of self
  • need for stimulation
  • pathological lying
  • cunning and manipulativeness
  • lack of remorse or guilt
  • shallow affect (superficial emotional responsiveness)
  • callousness and lack of empathy
  • parasitic lifestyle
  • poor behavioral controls
  • sexual promiscuity
  • early behavior problems
  • lack of realistic long-term goals
  • impulsivity
  • irresponsibility
  • failure to accept responsibility for own actions
  • many short-term marital relationships
  • juvenile delinquency
  • revocation of conditional release
  • criminal versatility

To sum all that up, psychopaths (henceforth redubbed Homo PsychopathiusTM) are highly-intelligent, calculating, manipulative machines of self-interested ambition, lacking the capacity for conscience due to the inability to feel emotion. They are a manifestation of the cliché wolf in sheep’s clothing as a predator in white-collar work clothes, and these things aren’t human.

With an untappable spigot of raw uninhibited self-interest at its disposal, Homo Psychopathius often rises to the top of whatever organization/ field it sets its aim at. They are natural visionaries, innovators, and leaders of men, so it just makes sense that, statistically, the career with the highest propensity for psychopathy is nothing less than the CEO.

Over the last few decades, as you’ve undoubtedly noticed, the global power regime has shifted reigns from the uber-nation to the empire-corporation being the vaster colossus of influence. Our ruling class, then, are the highly-competent next stage in evolution, being more adapted for the major-leagues without the nuisance of those silly outdated oddities called feelings. Further still, note this list of the top ten careers Homo Psychopathius are found in, not forgetting the psychopath, more often than not, is at the forefront head of his field:

 

1. CEO
2. Lawyer
3. Media (Television/Radio)
4. Salesperson
5. Surgeon
6. Journalist
7. Police officer
8. Clergy person
9. Chef
10. Civil servant

Wait! Wait! Wait! Holy shit! What are you saying?

This thing is smarter than you, vastly more driven to power. It controls the companies you work for; it represents your legal system, decides what news you hear, tells you what to consume (down to a science), holds your life in its hands, arrests your deviants, propagates your religions, and it dominates your politics… oh yeah, and cooks your food (never trust a guy with a set of personally engraved knives, I guess).

We’re not alarmist here. Rather, I propose a happy compromise over this news: as successful as these things have proven themselves to be, rising to the apex of society, I offer that we humans dutifully permit this new animal to take the reins (cause it already has) as the new dominant species of the planet. You win, psychopaths. Game over. Anyway, our outdated human machine doesn’t mind serving as the structural base for your mighty overlord will. We’re more suited for playing Minecraft, masturbating, and following your orders. It’s kinda what we’re good at. If it’s not overly presumptuous of me to assume the diplomat between our 2 great peoples, let me be the first of my kind to say, “I vow my allegiance. All hail the morlocks! (I’m on board, guys. Eat someone else’s kids.)”

Fellow sapians, kinda brings the whole “Occupy Wall Street” thing into a new light, huh? Looks like the X-Men comics had it right all along: the 1% with all the powers really were the next stage of human evolution.

Take it; leave it; use it as an excuse to embrace your inner asshole.

Either way, let the hate mail commence.

 

 

 

Sources:

Wondergressive: The Singularity is Nigh Upon Us

I’m Here To Chew Bubblegum

Ari Shaffir: The Amazing Racist

Wondergressive: Impossible to Distinguish Sane from Insane

Wondergressive: You Might be a Psychopath

CBS: DSM New Psych Bible

People Claiming to be Jesus

Psychopath: a New Subspecies

Patrick Bateman

Psychopathy List

PubMed.gov: Genetic Risk for Psychopathy in 7 Year Olds

PubMed.gov: Corporate Psychopathy

Psychopathy and the CEO

Corporate Psychopaths and Global Financial Crisis

Corporate Psychopaths: Bullying and Unfair Supervision

MSN: 10 Sneaky Care Dealer Tricks

Who Runs the World: Global Corporate Control

Minecraft

Morlock

Occupy Wall Street