I Believe in Stupidity

January 21, 2008
By Johnson Peng, Siberia, ZZ

I believe that the smarter we get, the dumber we really become. After all, as we become more adept and proficient everyday in doing things that we could have never done before (like wireless communication, artificial lighting and space travel) the more we seem to bring condemnation unto ourselves. It is thus ironic that while it is commonly acknowledged that creatures of high intelligence will adapt to construct things that will aid in their own survival, we (that is the human race) have not only failed to achieve that aspect of adaptation, but have rather become more adapted at doing the exact opposite: we have constructed enough clever devices to guarantee our own extinction.
Over the past few months, I finished a series of books including Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, The Stranger by the existentialist Albert Camus, Antigone by Aristotle, and The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde. But more significantly, I finished Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood and feel all the more compelled to discuss my theory on human stupidity.
In Margaret Atwood’s speculative fiction, humankind has been eliminated by a pandemic virus caused by scientific research. Throughout the novel, the protagonist is the only remaining human being left on Earth and is left to fend for himself and find purpose in an irrational and timeless world. The book is very powerful in its criticism of human greed and curiosity and predicts the frightening outcomes of our inevitable corruption. As Margaret Atwood puts it herself, “it’s not if it is going to happen or not, the question is “when it will happen”. Our world is bound to be destroyed by our ingenious creations.
This book has made me fully realize the dangerous potentials that we as human beings hold. Alas, we should be proud nevertheless, for we are geniuses, just like Wil.E.Coyote is from Looney Tunes. We fill our brains with complicated equations and ACME explosive plans to chase an ever elusive dream that keeps running away from us. We feel proud and accomplished, for we can destroy what took God seven full days to create in but a few short seconds with seven nukes.
In the end, it is still our intelligence (which has always been our strongest virtue) that will cause our ultimate downfall and ironically, lead us to our own destruction. Perhaps if we only slowed down our minds, we can escape from the frightening prognostications of Margaret Atwood and accelerate our true progresses towards survival. After all, take a look at the Roadrunner. He never seems to worry much about anything and yet seems to do just fine; much better than the Coyote at least who always calls himself the “ultimate genius”. I thus have to make my statement and declare that stupidity is a virtue all humans alike should seek. For the best of our survivals, we should all study the Importance of Being Stupid. And Margaret Atwood is right, “no brain, no pain”, and when “the proper study of man” becomes not man, but “everything”, all f***ing hell breaks loose.

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