Review of “Homo stupiens”
James F Welles*
Corresponding Author: : James F Welles, Ph.D., P.O. Box 17, East Marion, New York, USA
Received: April 09, 2018; Accepted: June 14, 2018; Published: March 09, 2019;
Citation: Welles JF. (2019) Review of “Homo stupiens”. J Psychiatry Psychol Res, 2(1): 67-68
Copyrights: ©2019 Welles JF. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


“Homo stupiens” presents a new cognitive model for human behavior built on the original assumption that people are stupid. Evidence abounds for this assumption–see the evening news–but as it flies in the face of the Darwinian proposition that behavior is adaptive, some skepticism is in order. For any objective critic, it is best to start with the author’s definition of stupidity:

Stupidity is the learned inability to learn: That is–a normal, dysfunctional learning process which occurs when a schema formed by linguistic biases and social norms acts via the neurotic paradox to establish a positive feedback system which can render behavior irrelevant and carry detached actions to maladaptive excesses.

The article is an extended development of this definition and is broken down into three sections: 1) Epistomology; 2) Social Factors; and 3) Ethics.

The epistomological model is based on the schema–a cognitive construct which is shaped by life experiences modified by language. Language imparts values to experiences on a linear continuum from good to bad, and this process is identified as in inherent positive feedback mechanism which tends to promote maladaptive behavior due to the neurotic paradox. This, in turn, is a psychic mechanism which causes short-term, immediate positive reinforcement for behavior which is long-term detrimental to the individual and species: a drug addiction is a good example in that is satisfies the user’s immediate need on his/her path to destruction [1].

Social factors reinforce this cognitive model when parents and group leaders provide behavioral examples of successful conduct which may conflict with stated values: lying pops to mind as a convenient example of this process in that no large-scale, serious reference group is explicitly built on lying, but every group features it as an intrinsic part of the system [1]. Groupthink is also enlisted as a means to destructive ends in that most people over the age of ten senses it is in their best interest politically to hone their thinking and behavior to the standard set by the powerful leaders of the community.

Oddly, ethics–the weak system of control systems–is enlisted in the cause of reducing stupidity, in that unethical behavior characterizes it in the first place. Put simply, the world would be an Eden of everyone behaved ethically, but too few do. The essence of humanity is on display in the fault line between what we say and do. Invariably, every civilization has a code of conduct which is mocked by its members–particularly in leaders. The human mind evolved to accept this discrepancy and thrive in the midst of inconsistency and self-induced confusion.

Many conveniently placed examples are scattered throughout the text provided unnecessary support for the presumption of human stupidity. One is the existence of special intelligence agents who skulk around spying on each other and us. It is hardly necessary here to point out the obvious inconsistency of a culture based on Christian values which bestows on a group the license to kill [1].

However, to prevail, we need to do so and do and glibly ignore the fact that stupidity makes it easy for us to kill for Christ when occasion calls for it.

On the intelligence front, another example provided is that of Union General George McClellan, who insisted the rebels facing him always greatly, outnumbered him. His intelligence units obligingly provided reports which confirmed his views, facts to the contrary being conveniently omitted. The current penchant for dot gathering by contemporary analysts fits the model as well. Computers excel at processing dots. They can do all kinds of things with them, so we gather dots albeit to the detriment of building a multi-dimensional model of the world.

The model of stupidity presented focuses primarily on the intellectual processing of information in organizations and institutions. In this context, it is disturbingly convincing. It definitely goes against the conventional grain of contemporary psychology that humans are adaptive to their environment. Rather, the standard presented is that we adapt to our own value system, which becomes a positive feedback mechanism leading us off to our own selected demise. The reader is left to provide examples from his/her own life experience–the shaping of American politics by lobbyists is a modern classic of this principle as is the overpopulation problem of Catholic Mexico. The stupidity in such cases is that it is impossible to correct the blatant errors in such situations, and we all have to live, as best we can, with that [1].

1.       Welles JF (2016) The future of stupidity and vice versa. J Psychiatry Psychol Res 1: 24-45.