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The Triumph of Stupidity September 30, 2019

Posted by nrhatch in Humor, People, Word Play, Writing & Writers.

“The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves and wise people so full of doubts.”
~ Bertrand Russell

Hmm . . . he sounds certain of himself, but did he really say that?

I wasn’t sure so I did a bit of cyber digging to alleviate my doubts.

I found a nugget that suggests that Russell may have said something similar, but different:

“The fundamental cause of the trouble is that in the modern world the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt.”
The Triumph of Stupidity, Mortals and Others: Bertrand Russell’s American Essays, 1931-1935.

Hmm . . . he sounds cocksure about The Triumph of Stupidity, but did he really say that?

And does “the modern world” encompass the years 1931 – 1935?

Who was this guy anyway?  A fool?  A fanatic?  Stupid or Wise?  Cocksure or Uncertain?

To doubt, or not to doubt, that is the question.

Aah . . . that’s better!


1. Val Boyko - September 30, 2019

I appreciate your skepticism Nancy. Wise people follow their own inner guide.

nrhatch - September 30, 2019

Agreed. Look deep ~ the answers lie within.

2. colonialist - September 30, 2019

So sadly true. If only the idiots would display the doubt their opinions merit, and the wise the confidence of theirs.

nrhatch - September 30, 2019

We end up with the blind leading the blind while those with “true vision” stand on the sidelines.

3. Jill Weatherholt - September 30, 2019

I’m always a doubter… 🙂

nrhatch - September 30, 2019

Here’s one for you to play with:

The liar’s paradox, as evidenced in the following sentence: “This statement is false.”

Another variation would be, “Everything I say is a lie.” 😛

4. Kate Crimmins - September 30, 2019

Having second guessed my own (stellar) ideas more often than no, I totally agree with him.

nrhatch - September 30, 2019

My dad had a whole shelf of writings by Bertrand Russell ~ I might be wiser today if I’d taken the time to read them and ponder the imponderables.

5. Tippy Gnu - September 30, 2019

I don’t know. Maybe. But then again, if you always express confidence in your opinions, and double-down on them when questioned, you may end up becoming president. But then again, you may end up being impeached. Who’s to say what works best?

nrhatch - September 30, 2019

Your skepticism is to your credit, TG!

I don’t believe in astrology. I am a Sagittarius and we’re very skeptical. – Arthur C Clarke

anotherday2paradise - September 30, 2019

Good one, Tippy. 😀 😯

6. Alien Resort - September 30, 2019

Usually it’s Ben Franklin who says everything.

nrhatch - September 30, 2019

Yes! And Oscar Wilde. 😉

7. Ally Bean - September 30, 2019

I don’t know much about Bertrand Russell but he’s quoted often enough. I think that he may be right, he may be wrong. Maybe that quote isn’t a constant and is situationally relevant. Context is everything.

nrhatch - September 30, 2019

Reminded me of this quote:

“Everything you read [on the internet] is absolutely true except for the rare story of which you happen to have firsthand knowledge.” ~ Erwin Knoll

8. anotherday2paradise - September 30, 2019

I prefer your unearthed ‘nugget’, Nancy. 🙂 Let’s hope that we’re not living through ‘The triumph of stupidity’. There has to be a downfall and soon. 🙂

nrhatch - September 30, 2019

Wikiquote says this quote reflects Russell’s idea on the cause of the emerging Nazi rule in Germany at that time and not on trouble in general.

Interesting parallels, no? If only Hitler had been impeached before he started a war.

anotherday2paradise - September 30, 2019

Absolutely, Nancy. *sigh*

nrhatch - September 30, 2019

This song says it all:

9. Debra - September 30, 2019

It’s a good quote, even if inaccurately attributed. I like it because it lines up with my own thinking. And after all, isn’t that what’s churning the world these days? We like to stack the quotes in favor of our own beliefs–too often troubling! It seems like critical thinking as you’re describing your skepticism is primarily absent and opinions and “feelings” fly as fact. We’d all do a little better to ask more questions about the origin of “facts” we hear and swallow whole. But I’m not very hopeful, I admit. 😦

nrhatch - September 30, 2019

I agree with you, Debra. We are fed so much “fluff” that it’s difficult to filter it out from all the other “stuff and nonsense.”

Truth has become more and more elusive on the exchange.

10. Behind the Story - October 2, 2019

It’s something to think about. The wise person has doubts because he recognizes that most problems are complex. The fool has an edge. He can turn his idea into a simple phrase, and since he doesn’t see the holes in his reasoning, he can convince all those who love simple answers. The wise man needs a marketing expert.

nrhatch - October 2, 2019

You are wise.
I am SURE of that!

Very well put, Nicki. I expect that Trump has that edge ~ since he doesn’t see the holes in his reasoning, he can convince all those who love simple answers. Rather like Hitler did.

Oops . . . did I just get political?
Mea Culpa! 😛

11. L. Marie - October 2, 2019

Even wise people doubt from time to time.

nrhatch - October 3, 2019

Never trust someone who is too sure of themselves. 🙄

12. Tammy - October 7, 2019

Good of you to dig on behalf of all of us.

nrhatch - October 7, 2019

Thanks, Tammy. The older I get, the more I realize how difficult it is to get to the “bottom of it” and make sure you’ve got the “real dirt” and the “straight scoop.”

Rather than making it easier, the internet has mushroomed as a breeding ground for half truths and outright lies.

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