The Basic Laws of Human Stupidity

THE BASIC LAWS OF HUMAN STUPIDITY

by Carlo M. Cipolla

illustrations by James Donnelly

The first basic law of human stupidity asserts without ambiguity that:

Always and inevitably everyone underestimates the number of stupid individuals in circulation.

At first, the statement sounds trivial, vague and horribly ungenerous. Closer scrutiny will however reveal its realistic veracity. No matter how high are one’s estimates of human stupidity, one is repeatedly and recurrently startled by the fact that:

a) people whom one had once judged rational and intelligent turn out to be unashamedly stupid.

b) day after day, with unceasing monotony, one is harassed in one’s activities by stupid individuals who appear suddenly and unexpectedly in the most inconvenient places and at the most improbable moments.

The First Basic Law prevents me from attributing a specific numerical value to the fraction of stupid people within the total population: any numerical estimate would turn out to be an underestimate. Thus in the following pages I will denote the fraction of stupid people within a population by the symbol å.

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Author: Jorah Lavin

I grew up in New England, moved to the Carolinas in ’98 to start working at what was then a large regional bank and is now a really big nationwide bank.

I work doing intranet content management and intranet site management for said bank. After work, I watch movies & eat.

I’ve been studying Aikido since 2014, and I ride an old Honda Shadow. Someday I want to go skydiving.