Flaubert, a famous French novelist in the 19th century, once said: The earth has boundaries, but human stupidity has no limits. For him, stupidity was everywhere: from the gossip of nosy middle-class people to the smooth speeches of professional scholars. Even Voltaire, the “father of French thought”, did not escape his critical eye. Flaubert devoted the last few years of his life to collecting thousands of examples of stupidity, and wanted to complete an “Encyclopedia of Stupidity”. Unfortunately, he failed to complete this great work in his lifetime. He died at the age of 18, and a considerable part of his sudden death can be attributed to the setbacks encountered in the research of this book.
Trying to record the stupid things that humans have done seems like a futile thing in itself, because almost everyone has done stupid things, even the most intelligent and knowledgeable people are no exception, there are so many stupid things, how can they be recorded ? This also raises an interesting question: Why do even the most intelligent “geniuses” and “elites” in the world often do stupid things?
IQ doesn’t stop stupidity
It turns out that IQ, the standard we usually use to measure intelligence, has very little effect on those unreasonable and illogical behaviors.
In modern society, scientists are always trying to use IQ tests to study human beings. This may be the best way to judge a person’s abstract reasoning ability: if your IQ is as high as 120, you can easily master the points; if your If you have an IQ of 100, you can learn calculus as long as you put in a lot of time and sweat; but if your IQ is only 70, then you will not be able to achieve any results in calculus anyway. In this way, the level of IQ can indeed measure whether a person is smart or not.
But in reality, people with high IQs are often deceived, do things that ordinary people think are stupid, and often ignore reality and stick to their own opinions. Insists that climate change is a hoax. On the contrary, people with low IQ are not as stupid as we imagined. Some people with an IQ of only 80 can speak several foreign languages. What is even more amazing is that one of the British people with an IQ of only 80 once planned and implemented a complex economic fraud.
How do we explain this apparent contradiction? Professor Daniel Kahneman, a cognitive scientist at Princeton University in the United States and the winner of the 2002 Nobel Prize in Economics, said that when we process information, our brains can use two completely different systems. IQ tests measure only one of these, the negotiative processing system we use when we consciously deal with problems. But in our daily life, we often act according to another system—intuition.
Intuition is firstly related to the experience and habits formed in our daily life, and has nothing to do with IQ, which cannot be measured by IQ tests. For example, when we see Germans, we immediately think of “serious”, when we think of Americans, we immediately think of “easy-going”, and when we think of Japanese, we immediately feel disgusted. This is the concept that we have been instilled for a long time. With such a deep-rooted concept, we will not use our brains to think seriously, and no matter how high IQ is, it will not be useful.
Secondly, people’s intuitive reactions are mostly emotional reactions without thinking, and emotionality is one of the biggest incentives for people to make mistakes. Feelings like sadness or anxiety can clutter our minds and prevent us from concentrating on our thoughts. As a result, we allow our emotions to make decisions, and our intelligence quotient can only be left on the sidelines.
“Functional Stupidity” in Collectives
Today, as human society is increasingly commercialized and organized, scientists have also discovered that stupidity is no longer a matter of individuals, it is a problem of social organization. Sometimes, when people with high IQ are organized together, they will do ridiculous and stupid things.
We all know that organizations in certain fields, such as well-known investment banks, public relations agencies and investment companies, only select elite talents when recruiting. However, scientists’ investigations found that after recruiting elites with high IQs, the company did not immediately put them in their respective positions to allow them to display their talents. Turning off” some aspect of your ability to think for yourself is what scientists call “functional stupidity.” Simply put, “functional stupidity” is the lack of critical thinking in employees. Because the employees of the enterprise do not question the decision-making of the enterprise and can absolutely complete any task assigned by the enterprise, this kind of “stupidity” has the function of improving the productivity of the enterprise and the organization.
Unfortunately, the training of “functional stupidity” often leads to disastrous results for enterprises and entire industries. Scientists have found that functional stupidity was an important factor in the 2008 financial crisis. Which one of those Wall Street elites has incredible wisdom? Before the financial crisis, each of them knew that there was a problem with the structure of mortgage securities and commodities, but they dared not raise these problems because of the discipline of the company, and they were afraid that the concerns they raised would weaken the authority of the upper leadership. cause yourself to be suppressed. This ultimately robs talented employees of unlimited potential of their logic when faced with practical problems.
Stupidity appears in people with high IQ will lead to greater danger, because they often shoulder greater responsibility. The higher a person’s IQ, the more disastrous the results of his stupidity.
Finally, there is another thought-provoking question: why didn’t human beings completely eliminate stupidity in the process of evolution? Most likely, some scientists say, superior brainpower comes at a price in other ways. For example, statistics show that people with high IQs are more likely to suffer from depression and have a higher suicide rate. Other studies have found that soldiers with higher IQs are more likely to die. This shows that if human beings evolve their intelligence to the point where they don’t do any stupid things, their emotions will be greatly suppressed, and there will be no outlet for them to vent. As a result, people will easily collapse and even die.
So there are more dimensions to the human mind than IQ.