I am from Mexico and moved to America and what I found is that the normal in America is to be stupid. The grand majority are just plain stupid, now I compared it to Mexico (I lived in city and in 'high/educated' people (I put it in ' ' because the reality is that is relative) and the normal was to be stupid too, now don't get me started in the 'poor' areas). So, my question is: Are people stupid in general or culture, nationality, social class, play a bigger role? If so, why are there more stupid than intelligent?

*Note: When I refer to stupid or intelligent I am refering to the kind that Socrates meant, that the wise men were the ones who accepted ignorance and worked on it, the stupid were the ones who didn't care or thought they were intelligent.

** I don't feel intelligent or superior, but I try to be reasonable always.

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I think I would need to know what 'smart' looks like!

I think, generally, that I am a rather 'smart' guy, but know that, with some ease, that I could name several examples of my own occasional nuttiness.

When I have been called a 'fool/idiot/crazy', it seems to either come from people that have their own way(s) of doing things, or my own self talk/observations. If you want to be called a fool more often, just be rather creative in the presence of other dolts that want you to sweep the floor 'their way'. I was once considered a fool because I used too much celery in my Turkey dressing, or used trail-mix!

I have known my share of very creative people that have no significant formal education. For them 'reality' has been a very effective teacher. Sadly, getting enough real world experience might depend upon not winning the Darwin Award too soon!

Elon Johnson: I suspect you are actually an intellectually superior person.  I also am, and this is not to boast but to advance a positive and often assisting reality. I denied this in high school when I tested with an IQ of 172 by saying I was just lucky. Must have made good guesses, but the truth was obvious. I was three years younger than my peers.

In my old age now, I like to think those with a superior intellect can often assist those who lead with confusion and ignorance, and they should be vocal but not arrogant about their abilities. I have never looked at others with disdain but with the commonality and appreciation of life that all humans are offered.

I attempt to help but as a psychologist I can easily discern the reason few accept--often in anger. Allow me to offer a supreme example: When I lived in Mexico for a few years I sincerely appreciated the Mexican people as they have no difficulty accepting assistance that makes their lives easier. I was on my 57 foot ketch with my wife and a useless helper who knew too much to learn and nearly ran us into a fifty foot rock. I kicked his lying ass off and stayed a while in La Paz, the capital of Bahia California Sur. A great city near the end of the peninsula bordering the Sea of Cortez.  

Anyway, at one dock I watched a person (American) attempting to start a small outboard engine. For a half hour he pulled and pulled on the starter rope with no results.  Those tiny engines are two-strokes and ultra simplistic. Other than a main seal leak, plugged carburetor, or fouled plug they will usually fire off and very quickly. (Yes there can be other difficulties but I have never seen a problem that could not be easily fixed--even a bent rod!) I went over and politely mentioned that I was extremely familiar with the intricacies of the obstinate beast he was attempting to get running, and could I offer assistance?  His reply... only the sternest scowl imaginable and back to cranking, ignoring me. I immediately knew the problem from the fuel smell permeating the air. 

So, I left.  later on, I saw him throw the small motor on the dock in disgust, kick it, and stomp off. I returned to the boat in his absence hoping to find someone aboard that was more amenable to assistance than he. Sure enough, a wife aboard had about had it with Joe Jerk. She allowed me to get it running, and of course it just needed full throttle and the choke off. I had it going in about six pulls and it ran reasonably well. It did need an adjustment to idle well, but that was all.

Then I instructed his wife on how to start it every time. Two strokes are easily started with the right combination of throttle and choke. There is seldom need for more than four pulls to see them light up (if in running condition with adequate compression, spark, fuel and no nasty leaks). 

When he returned, the motor was back on the dink and I had opened the port to hear any conversation. "Who put the fooking motor back on" he growled. his wife answered as I had instructed, saying she did. That's when el moron challenged her with "OK, then you can start it too!"  and she did on the first pull.

What happened next was unfortunately too typical of some men when their abilities are taken into question. He ripped it off the dink and threw it in the ocean asking his wife "Can you dive too?"  Then he was off to get drunk I presume.

I kept a huge homemade treble hook on a strong 3/8 line just for such things and with the wife's permission recovered it in a few minutes (shallow harbor, clear water, easy). Dumped the salt water out and rinsed it with the freshwater hose. Popped the bottom off the carb and did the same. Restarted it and had her warm it up completely. She could see me in the boat and I directed the warm up timing needed to blow any salt residue out.  It takes little more than that and I have done this many times over 18 years sailing.

Then I had her take it inside where it would not be visible to jerk Joe coming back from the local bar. I asked her to meet him when he arrived. As expected, I heard him say "Guess you caint dive, huh?" with sarcasm dripping from his ugly sneer. Her reply was amazing. "Oh I can dive, and I can start motors too" then she told him to wait and returned with the little motor. She said "Here, catch, and never make me do this again!" and threw the motor to him.  Then she told him to put it on the dink and stand back. He did, in a haphazard way obviously quite bombed.  

Then she stepped into the dink and turned the gas on , set the choke, and fired it again on the first pull. She blipped the throttle a few times and asked "That what you want or should I pitch it and you back in and sail away too?"

Bombed or not he got that message. The only real force in some men's lives--is their wives. 

It was wonderful and a few days later she brought over some cookies and a small pie. Said I had improved their relationship because he always considered her useless, and now he knew better. She was truly happy.She could start the motor and he couldn't.

What a difference attitude makes.

Appreciate your mentality and offer it to assist, not as an overbearing display of superiority, and there will be those who accept and those who are Joe Jerks. Just accept that "Yuh caint hep em all" and get on with those you can.                 

Sounds like you're a good man, John. I do hope you don't mind a minor correction - I, too, lived in Mexico for a number of years, and I know exactly the area you mean, it was on the other side of the peninsula from my own home. But it isn't, "Bahia California Sur," it's Baja California del Sur (Lower California, of the South) - the peninsula is divided into two states, Baja California del Norte, where I lived, and Baja California del Sur, where you obviously resided.

Speaking of intellect, I tried getting out of being drafted into the Army by failing the I.Q. test - they calculated the odds of getting all of the questions wrong but one, was so remote, that I had to have known all of the correct answers in order to miss only one. I outsmarted myself.

Early on, in order to fit in, I learned to play dumb - by now, I've had so much practice, it's second nature.

RE: "they calculated the odds of getting all of the questions wrong but one, was so remote, that I had to have known all of the correct answers in order to miss only one." - and yes, I realize that that statement is mathematically incorrect, but considering the oxymoron, "Army Intelligence," it was a comparatively accurate guess.

Early on, in order to fit in, I learned to play dumb - by now, I've had so much practice, it's second nature.

Mmm hmmm, and did your wife teach you how to start 2-stroke motors? Smallll world, ain't it...

No, Papi, actually, she burned up two engines before she realized that cars need oil.

Great story! I think I have the same attitude, even if my IQ is less than 172.

(Um, well, substantially less.)

I saw magician David Blaine doing street magic. He is acting a little odd as he is setting up viewing angles and throws high speed distractions as he is swapping the coin, card or dollar bill. The conclusion of most  of the people is that they have just witnessed supernatural powers. Some tricks were so simple I figured out what he was doing, the others were pretty much all revealed on the net. His selection of trickees is also very calculated. Some actually run away screaming voodoo.

The current zeitgeist seems to be one of anti-intellectualism. There is almost a celebration of the inane in the sense of the “Dumb and Dumber” or “Jackass” movie types.  There are stupid people everywhere who seem to take pride not only in their own stupidity but also in sneering at intellectual contributions from the educated. I will stop now as I already sense a long rant starting :-). I don't suffer them.

The movie from about 2007, 'Idiotocracy', does come to mind as a rebuttal to 'Dump & Dumber'. The movie seems to make a case for intellectual decay, and the need to prevent it. Sadly, it is unclear if the audience gets the point..;p)   


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