Re: I'm stupid, im smart, im just plain crazy, doda-doda

Fri, 11 Nov 1994 16:23:04 CST

Richard Wilk's post about the Italian economist's scholarship on
stupidity reminded me of a book I was mailed a few years ago (by the
author) in response, if I remember correctly, to a request from
me for literature on self-deception. The author is James F. Welles,
and the title is _Understanding Stupidity: An Analysis of the
Premaladaptive Beliefs and Behavior of Institutions and Organizations.
(1986, Orient, NY: Mount Pleasant Press, ISBN 0-9617729-0-5).
I never did read it all the way through, but just flipping through
it it looks like it has some interesting insights into reasons for
stupidity. For example, the author says that "this book is based on
two fundamental contentions: we cannot really understand ourselves
without understanding stupidity, and if we understand stupidity, we
will understand ourselves." Well, maybe I'm stupid, but I think that
makes a certain amount of sense.

The same author has also written _The Story of Stupidity: A History
of Western Idiocy from the Days of Greece to the Present_ (also
Mount Pleasant Press). I don't have the book itself, but the
table of contents looks like a lot of fun: Greek Stupidity, Roman
Stupidity, Medieval Stupidity, Stupidity Reborn, Stupidity Reformed,
Reasonable Stupidity, Enlightened Stupidity, Industrial Stupidity,
and The Age of Arrogance.


Lee Cronk
Assistant Professor
Department of Anthropology
Texas A&M University
College Station, TX 77843-4352
Office: 409-847-9254
Fax: 409-845-4070