Re: smart-stupidity/levity

Wed, 9 Nov 1994 20:28:56 +1200

YET another dumb question initiated by a little in house field work.

Ethnographic context: Coffee break, final exams.
Two MA (anthropology) students letting it all
"I recon we are stupid because were stuck here doing anthro rather
than something simple like computer science. Trying to make sense of
people rather than rational machines.'
"yeah, both focus on cybernetic systems but what we're trying to get
a handle on is the whole of human existance, that must mean that
we sure are more intelligent than those number crunchers."
"...anthro deals with complexity a whole order beyond."
"Yeah, wish I was stupid; only stupid people can happy.
"Yeah they cna't see all the complexity that gets us depressed about
When you combine this conversation with an earlier one between a
proffessor and a group of MA students in which the answer to the
Question. "what made you choose Anthropology over other human
sciences?" was "Because Anthropology was the hardest subject we could
find-it posed a challenge. One could very easly be compelled to ask:

Are Anthropologists smart; stupid; or both?
followed of course by the question: are budding anthropologists
just plain stupid? or should that be naive?
These are important questions to the lowly graduate student emulating
the hermit, or dervish according to temperament.

John Waldmann