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Bonhoeffer’s Theory of Stupidity

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Botch
Botch Posts: 15,738
I’ve never heard of this one before.  But, damn, how timely it is, and it explains a lot.  Worth its own thread.
 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ww47bR86wSc
 

___________
 

"jd vance has absolutely NO convictions; djt has 34."  Congressman Raskin, 21 July 2024



Comments

  • lousubcap
    lousubcap Posts: 33,043
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    The above should be required viewing and listening before any further third rail related posts by anyone.  
    Louisville; Rolling smoke in the neighbourhood. # 38 for the win.  Life is too short for light/lite beer!  Seems I'm livin in a transitional period.
  • Legume
    Legume Posts: 14,808
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    @Botch help me out and find some text sources, I can’t Youtube all day!
    Not a felon
  • HeavyG
    HeavyG Posts: 10,380
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    Bonhoeffer on Stupidity (entire quote)

       Written by Averett Jones on December 31, 2019 at 11:04 am (This week’s editorial is from Dietrich Bonhoeffer, one of my personal heroes.  Bonhoeffer was hanged by Adolf Hitler in 1945.) Taken from a circular letter, addressing many topics, written to three friends and co-workers in the conspiracy against Hitler, on the tenth anniversary of Hitler’s accession to the chancellorship of Germany… ‘Stupidity is a more dangerous enemy of the good than malice. One may protest against evil; it can be exposed and, if need be, prevented by use of force. Evil always carries within itself the germ of its own subversion in that it leaves behind in human beings at least a sense of unease. Against stupidity we are defenseless. Neither protests nor the use of force accomplish anything here; reasons fall on deaf ears; facts that contradict one’s prejudgment simply need not be believed- in such moments the stupid person even becomes critical – and when facts are irrefutable they are just pushed aside as inconsequential, as incidental. In all this the stupid person, in contrast to the malicious one, is utterly self-satisfied and, being easily irritated, becomes dangerous by going on the attack. For that reason, greater caution is called for than with a malicious one. Never again will we try to persuade the stupid person with reasons, for it is senseless and dangerous. ‘If we want to know how to get the better of stupidity, we must seek to understand its nature. This much is certain, that it is in essence not an intellectual defect but a human one. There are human beings who are of remarkably agile intellect yet stupid, and others who are intellectually quite dull yet anything but stupid. We discover this to our surprise in particular situations. The impression one gains is not so much that stupidity is a congenital defect, but that, under certain circumstances, people are made stupid or that they allow this to happen to them. We note further that people who have isolated themselves from others or who live in solitude manifest this defect less frequently than individuals or groups of people inclined or condemned to sociability. And so it would seem that stupidity is perhaps less a psychological than a sociological problem. It is a particular form of the impact of historical circumstances on human beings, a psychological concomitant of certain external conditions. Upon closer observation, it becomes apparent that every strong upsurge of power in the public sphere, be it of a political or of a religious nature, infects a large part of humankind with stupidity. It would even seem that this is virtually a sociological-psychological law. The power of the one needs the stupidity of the other. The process at work here is not that particular human capacities, for instance, the intellect, suddenly atrophy or fail. Instead, it seems that under the overwhelming impact of rising power, humans are deprived of their inner independence, and, more or less consciously, give up establishing an autonomous position toward the emerging circumstances. The fact that the stupid person is often stubborn must not blind us to the fact that he is not independent. In conversation with him, one virtually feels that one is dealing not at all with a person, but with slogans, catchwords and the like that have taken possession of him. He is under a spell, blinded, misused, and abused in his very being. Having thus become a mindless tool, the stupid person will also be capable of any evil and at the same time incapable of seeing that it is evil. This is where the danger of diabolical misuse lurks, for it is this that can once and for all destroy human beings. ‘Yet at this very point it becomes quite clear that only an act of liberation, not instruction, can overcome stupidity. Here we must come to terms with the fact that in most cases a genuine internal liberation becomes possible only when external liberation has preceded it. Until then we must abandon all attempts to convince the stupid person. This state of affairs explains why in such circumstances our attempts to know what ‘the people’ really think are in vain and why, under these circumstances, this question is so irrelevant for the person who is thinking and acting responsibly. The word of the Bible that the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom declares that the internal liberation of human beings to live the responsible life before God is the only genuine way to overcome stupidity. ‘But these thoughts about stupidity also offer consolation in that they utterly forbid us to consider the majority of people to be stupid in every circumstance. It really will depend on whether those in power expect more from people’s stupidity than from their inner independence and wisdom.’ -Dietrich Bonhoeffer, from ‘After Ten Years’ in Letters and Papers from Prison (Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works/English, vol. 8) Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2010.

    “Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.” ― Philip K. Diçk




  • Legume
    Legume Posts: 14,808
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    That’s too long, can you summarize?
    Not a felon
  • Botch
    Botch Posts: 15,738
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    ___________
     

    "jd vance has absolutely NO convictions; djt has 34."  Congressman Raskin, 21 July 2024



  • Ozzie_Isaac
    Ozzie_Isaac Posts: 19,566
    edited December 2022
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    Legume said:
    That’s too long, can you summarize?
    1. Stupid people are more dangerous than malicious people.
    2. Smart people can be stupid.
    3. Stupid grows in groups.
    4. Stupid people are more willing to follow a singular person with a strong personality.
    5. Stupid people will cast aside all their beliefs and moral compass to follow that singular person.
    No philosophers so thoroughly comprehend us as dogs and horses. - Herman Melville
  • Legume
    Legume Posts: 14,808
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    So who is Bonhoeffer and why does he use so many words?  Politician?
    Not a felon
  • lousubcap
    lousubcap Posts: 33,043
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    I never met Mr Bonhoeffer.  I'm not that old.  Just read it and weep!
    BTW- he was jailed-one can only hope that CHEETO lands in the same place.   B)
    Louisville; Rolling smoke in the neighbourhood. # 38 for the win.  Life is too short for light/lite beer!  Seems I'm livin in a transitional period.
  • Botch
    Botch Posts: 15,738
    edited December 2022
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    lousubcap said:
    BTW- he was jailed-one can only hope that CHEETO lands in the same place.   B)
    He was also hanged, two weeks before the Allies overran the concentration camp.   
    We can only hope...
    ___________
     

    "jd vance has absolutely NO convictions; djt has 34."  Congressman Raskin, 21 July 2024



  • JohnInCarolina
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    I prefer Hanlon's razor: never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.  
    "I've made a note never to piss you two off." - Stike
  • nolaegghead
    nolaegghead Posts: 42,102
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    I see stupid people

    everywhere

    and the worst part

    littlepeen doesn’t know he’s stupid
    ______________________________________________
    I love lamp..
  • Ozzie_Isaac
    Ozzie_Isaac Posts: 19,566
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    The Kanye Fuentes, vs Alex Jones feud with Trump as a mediator is amazing to watch. If you still support Trump, then you support racism, sexism, homophobia, genocide, illegal business activities, and the destruction of the constitution.  Not to mention the stealing TS/SCI docs to show to your buddies.  If you deny any of.the above, I recommend watching:

    https://youtu.be/GxAu7BTZQRY

    No philosophers so thoroughly comprehend us as dogs and horses. - Herman Melville
  • Botch
    Botch Posts: 15,738
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    ^^^ That's a good one, too; thanks!  
    ___________
     

    "jd vance has absolutely NO convictions; djt has 34."  Congressman Raskin, 21 July 2024