The meta problem.

Friday, 30 January, Year 7 d.Tr. | Author: Mircea Popescu

This is a serious problem you could readily understand if you were smarter than you actually are by the following thought experiment : had I titled this article "The problems of stupid people" you, stupid as you are, wouldn't have read it.

Why not ?

I am curious as to what justification you profer for your own consumption, and if you are at all about being the smarter guy than you actually are rather than the stupid guy that you are in fact, you'll be curious too. No better way than this to find out how stupid you are, and why exactly than this.

So go grab a magic marker and write it down, on the very screen, right here : I wouldn't have read this article were it titled "The problems of stupid people" because ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___

Yes I'm serious, write on the motherfucking screen.

Done ?

Good. Let's pretend that you were not you, but some girl instead, and let's pretend this article isn't this article, but some math instead. And you wouldn't have liked it because "it is presented in a male perspective" rather than because "it's boring" which is to say you're stupid, because you already know you're not stupid.

How do you already know that ? Because some people, such as your mother, and your kindergarten teacher in preschool, and your kindergarten teacher in junior high, and your kindergarten teacher in high school and your kindergarten teacher in college (all three of 'em) plus a bunch of kindergartners online told you so. And how do they know ? They don't. So you know you're not stupid in the way stupid people know things, which is to say they heard them a lot, chiefly from people that aren't qualified to speak on the topic - the chief distinction of stupid people being a tendency to listen to "opinions" whether they are in any sense qualified or not. That's how advertising works, after all.

Now suppose you're not a girl anymore, and you're also not gay, which is how you know you haven't followed the thought experiment before : because knowing full well you're not gay, you clearly know you're not a girlie, and so that's that.

Welcome to being stupid. The meta-problem (of being stupid) is that you take as given items that then prevent an actual examination of reality. Has anyone ever "ruined" a movie for you by telling you how it ends ? Why do you imagine this makes a difference to you ? Suppose I were to tell you how fucking ends, does this ruin fucking for you too ? Why not ? Ah, because fucking you enjoy through a reflex pathway, which functions normally, whereas a movie you have to enjoy through your actual neocortex, which is stupid ? Cool.

And if you've read a summary you perceive no further incentive to read the book, and if you've read the cliffnotes you expect to get the credits, and if you've seen two news items and five tweets on a topic you perceive you have perceived "the consensus" on the topic (another way to say "summary", this "consensus", it's like the official cliffnotes for whatever book, the set the teacher himself uses) and are ready to opine on the matter (and even bring awareness among other stupid people that happen to be unaware of your resplendent stupidity) and so on and so forth.

This is your hell : you are stupid, and could be less stupid if only you put some work into it, except you can't do that because you already know you're not stupid. Just like fat people.


Anyway, all this I say by way of illustration, there's absolutely no reason you should be worried about any of it. You're not stupid nor are you fat. You're special.

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10 Responses

  1. Wait, are these the Dunning-Kruger cliffnotes?!

  2. Mircea Popescu`s avatar
    Mircea Popescu 
    Friday, 30 January 2015

    Nah, more like summerian tablets. In a language that can't be read.

  3. had I titled this article "The problems of stupid people" you, stupid as you are, wouldn't have read it.

    I can perhaps see why you think you trolled yourself: this is a shaky premise. Really, who doesn't want to read about themselves ?

    I mean, I'd read "The problems of jooz" just to see what the dumb fucking author had to say for himself, right before I ripped his ass apart across the pages of my blog.

    Maybe this is just me, but I take pleasure in hunting down retardation pointed in my general direction just so I can make an example of it and its author.

  4. Mircea Popescu`s avatar
    Mircea Popescu 
    Thursday, 7 April 2016

    I'm pretty sure it's just you.

    As they say in the biz, if you're reading it it's not for you :D

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