Archive for April 30th, 2011


The Importance of Being Stupid.

People make stupid choices every day. From really minor ones like, the time you ate the yogurt that was so old it actually tried to avoid the spoon. To kind of middle of the road ones like, deciding on the spur of the moment to stick what we will call an, appendage, in to the hose on a vacuum cleaner. Then turning the suction WAY up.  And then there are those stupid decisions which sometimes go on to become almost legendary.  After all just look at all those European leaders who decided, against all logic to get involved in a land war in Asia.

But leaving aside huge groaning tomes of military blunders, and leaving aside the vast terabytes of YouTube footage of people being incredibly stupid, seemingly stupid acts are often the most important for humanity.

When the first human left Africa for Europe it might well have seemed a really dumb idea to those who stayed behind.  Or what about the first person who climbed up on a horse.  Everyone on the ground that day, must have just been waiting for his foolish skull to be caved in by a well placed hoof.  Randomly putting growing things into your mouth must have killed a lot of early humans, but we did end up with a nicely varied diet due to their experimentation.

I often wonder about the first person to eat a coconut.  I mean come on, he had to have been dared to do it. I bet he even ended up with a really nasty dose of the trots, after he drank too much of the milk.

Organised religion too is a form of mass stupidity.  You willingly hand over control of vast swathes of your life, to the mutterings of some old guy who claims to have a hotline to the divine.  Yet organised religion, for all its inherent problems and even evils, is one of the most potent forces in any modern civilisation.  A force which had to have been instrumental in the forging of the earliest civilisations.

Stupidity is one factor that has shaped the human race as it stands today.  Yet it’s the very people who do the things regular societies name crazy, nutty, dare I say “stupid”, who push us forward.  They’re the people who trek across an arctic wilderness or sail around the world, solo.  Thus inspiring, the less adventurous members of our species, to step even just a little outside of their comfort zone.  It’s the people who willingly put themselves into little fragile metal craft to then ride a tail of fire into the heavens, who will be the ones to open up new vistas for exploration and colonisation.

Stupidity is important.  But it has to be a stupidity with structure and a well-intentioned guiding thought behind it.  Otherwise you’re just sticking, let’s call it an appendage, into a light fitting and throwing the switch.

So in honour of those brave few, who dare to stick their appendages into the wrong place and for the amusement of everyone else, I leave you with the immortal words of Weird Al Yankovic.  “Dare to be Stupid.”

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