Note Making: Stupidity

Although stupidity is commonly defined as ‘a lack of normal intelligence’, stupid behaviour is not the behaviour of a person lacking in intelligence but the behaviour of a person not using good judgments or sense. In fact, stupidity comes from the Latin word that means ‘senseless’. Therefore, stupidity can be defined as the behaviour of a person of normal intelligence who acts in a particular situation as if he or she isn’t very bright. Stupidity exists at three levels of seriousness. First is the simple, relatively harmless level. Behaviour at this level is often amusing. It is humorous when someone places the food from a fast food restaurant on the roof of the car while unlocking the door and then drives away with the food still on the roof. We call this absent-mindedness. The person’s good sense or intelligence was temporarily absent. At this level, other than passing inconvenience or embarrassment, no one is injured by the stupid behaviour.

The next type—serious stupidity—is more dangerous. Practical jokes such as putting sugar in the salt shakers are at this level. The intention is humorous, but there is a chance of harm. Irresponsible advice given to others is also serious stupidity. An example is the person who plays psychiatrist on the basis of an introductory psychology course or doing a TV program on psychiatry. The intention may be to help, but if the victim really needs psychiatric help, an amateur will only worsen the situation.

Even worse is the third kind of stupidity. Kind people, who would never injure another living being, stupidly throw away a box of six-week-old kittens along a country road. Lacking the heart to kill the poor things, they sentence them to almost certain death from wild animals, infections exposure or from the wheels of a passing vehicle.

Yet they are able to tell themselves that they will find nice homes or ‘animals can get along in the wild’. Another example of this kind of stupidity is the successful local businessman who tries to have as many office affairs as he can get away with. He risks the loss of his business and his home. He fails to see that what he is doing is wrong. His, is the true moral stupidity of a person not willing to think about the results of his actions or take responsibility for them. The common defence of a person guilty of stupidity is—‘but I didn’t think’. This, however, is an inadequate excuse, especially when serious or harmful stupidity is involved.

Q. Based on your reading of the above passage, make notes on it, using headings and subheadings. Use recognizable abbreviations, wherever necessary. And a format you consider suitable. Also supply an appropriate title to it.

Facts about Stupidity

  1. Definition
    1. common def.
      1. lack of normal int.
      2. behaviour without good judgement/ sense
    2. author’s def.
      1. behaviour of normal int. not acting brightly
      2. has 3 levels
  2. Levels of Stupidity
    1. 1st level
      1. simple
      2. harmless
      3. often amusing
      4. absent-mindedness
      5. no one is injured
    2. 2nd level
      1. more dangerous
      2. intention is humorous but chance of possible of harm are
    3. 3rd level
      1. worst
      2. moral stupidity
      3. unwilling to take responsibility of ones act

Abbreviations Used

  • def – defined
  • int. – intelligence
  • 3 – three
  • wrst – worst

Q. Write a summary of the passage in not more than 100 words using the notes made and also suggest a suitable title.

The most common definition of stupidity is lack of normal intelligence and a behaviour lacking good judgement. The author defines it as a behaviour of normal intelligence. It has three levels. The first level is simple and harmless. It is often amusing and nobody is injured with it. Also, it is caused due to absent–mindedness. The second one is more dangerous. Here, the intentions are humorous but the chances are high that somebody might get hurt. The third level is the worst. It is more of moral stupidity. And there is an unwillingness to take responsibility of one’s actions.


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