Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Bless of Stupidity

For a long time, I thought that stupidity was the enemy. All the crisis in the world, the credit card household finances, the marketing victims, the cult sheep… all that looked like the result of not enough thinking, not enough data, and the lack of scientific method.

But then again, who is going to buy municipal bonds? Who is going to have children on their own, even with all the liabilities associated and the cost of education? Who is going to vote? Who is going to drive that brand new car out of the dealership so I can buy it for 20% less some months down the road?

I’ve been served for stupidity as much as from the smartest products of humankind. If not for stupidity, nobody would take care of my childhood without collateral. Without stupidity, I wouldn’t have a free college education in my country to get pay better in another one that doesn’t tax its business so heavily (to pay for free college education). Without stupidity I wouldn’t enjoy the products of so many endeavors that operate with poor margins or loss, nor would I have the advantage of technologies subsidized for overinflated stock prices. And let’s face it, without stupidity more than 80% of IT professionals wouldn’t have absolutely anything to do.

We complain about reality TV, ethnic wars, budget deficits and congressional lockdowns; but after getting over the first rush of indignation, we realize what is in front of us: a vast ocean of opportunities. Stupidity is better than crude oil: we never run out of it. You don’t need to cheat or lie, not even mislead. People will defend their own fallacies with their lives and force bills into your pockets.

But beyond the parody and the sarcasm, who is to deny that love can’t be smart? The selfless service to another human is the key for survival and one of our strongest evolutionary advantages. So if we get too clever, we face extinction.

This paradox seems to be a matter of semantics. When we talk about smarts what we really mean is “individual” smarts. The concept of a group that is collectively smart is not that obvious. By been individually stupid and collectively intelligent, we guarantee the survival of the species above any particular individual, just as our cells die anonymously for the wellbeing of the whole body.

Conscience is the misleading factor in this equation. Because we are individually (not collectively) conscient, everything we perceive is absurd. Of course, it's personally absurd, but superb in the aggregate. Since we don’t have the capacity to enjoy as a group, we suffer as singularities, just as a clumsy spermatozoid bouncing against a sterile wall who finds no consolation in the idea that “one of us is going to make it”. But he keeps swimming because he has no idea; we do. So we stop, we think, and by thinking we quit trying, and by doing so, kill the whole system.

Stupidity seems to be necessary for the survival of our species. A system composed of selfish smart individuals will cancel itself by logic. Stop complaining about the irrational population and bless them as the key element of our long-term resilience.