Accidental Essay on Stupidity

So I accidentally wrote an essay on stupidity in response to an article about stupid people having more friends. My accidental essay was responding both to the main article and a comment claiming it was more about introverts vs extroverts. I think I make sense here, and for this being a stream of thought, I feel it’s share worthy.

It’s obviously a subject where generalizations can’t convey the reality, even closely (yours or the article’s). People with large friend groups exist for a myriad of psychological and social reasons. Additionally, stupid is a fairly broad term. I’m stupid in regards to a lot of subjects, but I’m also above average intellectually in regards to others. The social value of what we’re individually stupid or smart in varies widely. So before one could make a claim like this they first need to establish how they are using stupid.

Someone who is an expert on Beanie Babies but inept in regards to history has what society would deem misplaced intelligence or knowledge.

A person who is an expert in quantum physics or mechanical engineering but unable to understand social norms and their application provides more legitimate value societally but also little socially.

Those are just two acute examples, but point to the complexity of stupidity.

That said, the most common understanding of stupid is someone who rejects facts in favor of personal belief. Additionally, who we genuinely see as intellectual are those capable of understanding and explaining complex subject matter, as well as being able to conduct sound independent research.

Given how social circles form when enough people share common interests, and given how our society values the superficial over the substantive because the substantive is mentally exhausting for most people, it’s theoretically plausible to claim stupid people have more friends because the majority of people (scientifically speaking) suffer from confirmation bias on some level, which is a form of self-imposed ignorance.

Those who suffer from it more extremely, those prone to truly delusional belief systems, tend to feel ideologically marginalized as facts become more available and contradict weakly formed worldviews. As their reality comes under attack by the best, most accurate version of reality, they often engage in certain defense mechanisms, not short of surrounding themselves with only those who believe what they believe.

Insecurity causes people to overcompensate in extreme ways. The reality is it’s difficult to maintain genuinely strong relationships with a large circle of people, that is unless you’re all united behind a specific cause or ideology.

When you look at who tends to have large social circles, religious people are high at the top of the list. Religious people, depending on how extreme they accept their assigned ideology, likely fit the definition of stupid I used earlier, the one about rejecting verifiable/objective facts in favor of belief.

I didn’t intend to write this much, but because tone is lost on the internet and because ego is always on the line, I overcompensated by carefully explaining my point in excessive detail.

TL/DR: Strength in numbers is a classic animalistic defense tactic used by individuals who would otherwise be at a disadvantage if left on their own. Humans are animals, and many humans are stupid to varying degrees. The smarter the individual, the more independent they should be and less likely to maintain largely superficial friendships for self-preservation or validation.

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