Why do smart people act stupid sometimes?

EvilRoy

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Oh I gotcha now. Being smart doesn't make you not a douche. More broadly, being smart doesn't make you immune to not thinking stuff through and in extreme cases can lead people to think "this is a smart thing to do, because I'm a smart person" as opposed to the preferred "I have thought this thing through and it is a smart thing to do, THEREFORE I'm a smart person".

If you ever end up going into research or hang around with PhD students/professors you start to see how they develop these weird blind spots. Gambling is like the easiest one to use to snag people on. Otherwise intelligent people will start talking all about how easy card counting is and how working out probabilities is no problem at a table, but then absolutely crash and burn in practice because they just sort of assumed being good at math would translate 1:1 to being good at actually putting card counting into practice. See also philosophy majors for a somewhat more insufferable option, where a person attempts to use simple logic puzzles to disprove things like relativity on the basis that they have been taught to ask interesting questions, but lack the experience or knowledge to apply that skill to anything outside of philosophy.

As a funny and benign example I watched an extremely smart grad student, knows about four languages and passed his candidacy exam (very difficult in his field) with flying colours, spend twenty minutes trying to turn on a concrete mixer that had one engine and one switch. He just looked right at it, didn't understand what he saw, and kept dicking around with the power bar and the lab breakers.
 

Satinavian

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Lil devils x said:
trunkage said:
You're assumption is that smart means smart at everything. That is generally not the case. A doctor usually can't be a mechanic and vice versa. Or a stock broker. Or an artist. It is highly unlikely that one person is 'smart' enough to pick up all these talents.
This is terribly false. Yes, people are not experts in all fields, but yes a doctor certainly can be a mechanic and an artist and often smart people are really good at many things, not just one. It is funny that you mentioned those exact things, because I happen to have skills in all of them and I am not even as smart as many of my colleagues. Growing up the daughter of an engineer who designed, built and raced pro stock cars as his hobby I was rebuilding carburetors at the age of 4, I sold my art to help pay my way through medical school so yea I actually can build a car, paint the returning of the knights from battle on it and practice medicine. I happen to be good at many other things as I do not like to do just one hobby, I am always learning how to do new things and move on once I mastered them, as I am not very fond of duplication and want to do a variety of things rather than just a few.
EvilRoy said:
Being smart at one thing doesn't immediately mean that a person is smart at another, or at the more extreme level being a genius at something doesn't make you an authority on anything else. As a society we have a weird habit of assuming a genius chessplayer for instance might have something worthwhile to say about politics or warfare. If they studied those fields they might have something decent to say, but chances are they haven't and don't. Going further, if someone really does have degrees and accreditation in engineering, law, medicine and poly science, chances are they probably aren't as good at any one of those compared to a person who actually just dedicated themselves to being good at one thing. 0
Smart people very often have some inerest in several of those complicated field.

But being smart is not the only thing needed to be a competent doctor/engineer/artist/whatever. You need time and practice to master any of that. Which is why nearly everyone only persues one of those fields as a professional career and stays an amateur/hobbyist in the rest of them. Because one of those careers takes up all the time a healthy lifestyle allows for education/job. They might have been smart enough for those other fields too, but never had the time to tackle them in earnest.
Smart people often are quite competent for laymen in fields beyond their expertise but they can't compete with professionals and might have some dangerous holes in their knowledge. Which is why you ask a professional for expert advice, not a smart person who dabbled in the topic.

Another thing beyond time and intelligence you would need for any of those fields is dedication. There are quite a lot of smart people who start several of those carreers but can't get a degree in any of them becausse they get bored and uninterested too fast. The smarter they are, the sooner they become bored, it doesn't really help here.
 

Callate

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There are a lot of different versions of "intelligence", and they don't necessarily bleed into one another. Something like "scholastic intelligence" versus "social intelligence" being one frequently cited example, but there are other divisions. Someone who is an aggressive and effective negotiator might not be particularly good at making and keeping friends. Being able to work the calculations and write the code for an unmanned spacecraft to make its way from one planet to another doesn't guarantee that you're very good at balancing your checkbook.

Everyone has their blind spots, which is a good reason to invest in a measure of humility, especially when presuming to judge other people.
 

Marik2

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Lil devils x said:
trunkage said:
You're assumption is that smart means smart at everything. That is generally not the case. A doctor usually can't be a mechanic and vice versa. Or a stock broker. Or an artist. It is highly unlikely that one person is 'smart' enough to pick up all these talents.
This is terribly false. Yes, people are not experts in all fields, but yes a doctor certainly can be a mechanic and an artist and often smart people are really good at many things, not just one. It is funny that you mentioned those exact things, because I happen to have skills in all of them and I am not even as smart as many of my colleagues. Growing up the daughter of an engineer who designed, built and raced pro stock cars as his hobby I was rebuilding carburetors at the age of 4, I sold my art to help pay my way through medical school so yea I actually can build a car, paint the returning of the knights from battle on it and practice medicine. I happen to be good at many other things as I do not like to do just one hobby, I am always learning how to do new things and move on once I mastered them, as I am not very fond of duplication and want to do a variety of things rather than just a few.

People are multifaceted, they do not just do or like one thing and usually do a great many things over their lifetime. This does not mean they necessarily do everything, but still there is no limit on things one can enjoy to do or learn about. Often smart people can do stupid things because people do not always take all data into account, speak without thinking or allow themselves to be influenced by emotions or "gut feelings" that are not necessarily rational. We can have experts in their own fields who say stupid things about their own field, but that is part of what makes us human. Humans are flawed and make mistakes. What makes someone smart often is the ability to learn from their mistakes and the mistakes of others and be willing to correct those errors and improve. We area always learning, changing and adapting in order to improve to hopefully make less mistakes. The reality is though we will always be flawed and make mistakes and we can only improve so much before we reach the age where we decline rather than improve and just hope that what we learned along the way helps others improve and advance more than we were able to in our short time.
You have a very interesting life.
 

Vanilla ISIS

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Because ALL people are stupid.
Some are just less stupid than others.
Even most geniuses are only good at 1-2 things and are clueless about the rest.
Also, Bill Maher is an anti-vaxxer, please don't call him smart.
 

BrawlMan

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Chewster said:
Bill Mahar isn't smart, for one.
Sick burn, and thank you. Honestly, I don't know why people like or respect that fuck nugget.

Vanilla ISIS said:
Also, Bill Maher is an anti-vaxxer, please don't call him smart.
I just learned something new today. Thanks Vanilla. And now Bill Maher credibility slips even further.
 

SupahEwok

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Smart people can be stupid because they don't base all of their decisions solely on intelligence and rationality, or because they just flat out don't care about certain or many things.. Smart people can appear stupid based on the fact that reality and human systems are near infinite in complexity and no one mind can take into account all possible data points leading into a decision, and the predilictions of the person in question tends to lead them to some data points whilst directing them away from others that others with their own predilections are lead to easily in comparison.

And sometimes, smart people can put their trust into someone they shouldn't cuz nobody got time or energy to figure out everything about life, and come out stupid for it.

But maybe, just maybe, "smartness" isn't a real concept as it is commonly perceived; the ability to retain, process, and apply knowledge has a lot of moving parts that are variable between different people. We tend to call an excellence among all of them "intelligence", but nothing in that human data processing guarantees better decisions, merely better informed ones. People's decision making skills tend to be rooted in their values rather than their data processing, from my direct observation. Such values include the willing pursuit of knowledge, without which those data processing skills are wasted anyway.