Intelligent Stupidity

<quote from Real Faith & Reason>

Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote about the inner worldview. He refers to it as “stupidity.”

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; 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. ~ Letters & Papers from Prison

What Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote is true if we define “stupid” as “in a stupor,” which has nothing to do with mental processing power. For instance, intelligent people who learn false ideas are in a stupor created by believing false ideas, and they make those false ideas part of their worldviews. When the light in them is darkness, this darkness is great because this great darkness seems like light to them.

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