What a mess we make when a person’s worth is measured by their perceived intelligence. The “smart” ones strive to distinguish themselves and the “stupid” ones struggle to get by. It’s precisely a stupid mess, both cruel and irrational. How could anything thrive in such bitter soil?
We have begun to realise that there is more to intelligence than was believed back in the glory days of phrenology, eugenics and IQ tests. Now we recognise different kinds of intelligence and tend to accept a more open-ended concept of human potential. This is well and good: our ability to appreciate others increases as our understanding of intelligence becomes more complex. But it doesn’t go far enough to break the “smart-is-good/stupid-is-rubbish” bind. While the fundamental mistake is to think that there is a quality by which some people can safely be deemed more worthwhile than others, I am here today to praise stupidity.