Is it better to be smart or dumb?

Chris points to an article that I saw talked about in the New York Times or some such place in the somewhat distant past. It reminds me of a story that my wife tells about when she was young and her sister asked her grandfather, “Papa Ali, is it harder to be smart or dumb?” His reply (more or less) was “It’s harder to be smart. You see, dumb people don’t know they’re dumb, so it doesn’t bother them. But the smart people have to deal with the dumb people.”

The implication, though, of this article is that the answer really is “neither,” because if dumb people don’t know they’re dumb and think they’re smart instead, they’re going to get just as annoyed by the supposedly “dumb” people they deal with.

As for me, I take no position as to which category of people I fall into. Safest position to take…

25 thoughts on “Is it better to be smart or dumb?

  1. Darren Neimke

    Nice thoughts Paul. It’s an interesting topic I think: how does one measure ones Rank in the queue 🙂 I think that the problem exists, essentially that the Queue is not strongly typed and, therefore finding the correct IComparer is made much tougher!

  2. Anand

    Paul, that is a very dangerous position to take. Becoz, acording to your rule, the dumb are the ones who do not know they are dumb(so the smart do know they are smart).
    So if you dont know what you are, you are obviously dumb…:-)
    (Disclaimer: I have not read the article yet…)

  3. Scott Mitchell

    I think people know if they are dumb or smart. Those less intelligent know they are less intelligent, but try to compensate for it. I’ve worked with people who were pretty low on the IQ scale, and those folks, I’m certain, knew their intellectual position. Kind of makes you feel sorry for them.

    It’s just like those who aren’t very attractive know they aren’t, they don’t need someone telling them that.

  4. Nitasha

    I belive that it is better to be dumb. I have came to this answer by thinking of what iv seen around me. Smart people get in to more troble cause if they do something wrong then the are blambed just like that or if there to smart it seems that normal people like us are afried of it and put them down, don;t leason. But i also belive that if you are to dumb youll get no attention and not have a family of there own, to be loved by someone else, and only felt sorry for. That is how I fell.

  5. Genuine

    It’s better to be smart. But it is more important to be a kind person than a mean person. A smart person who is a jerk gets no where. If you are super nice with a good personality, it will compensate for the fact that you aren’t a math whiz or musical genius. But i’ll have to say that smart and nice and a personality is the best combination. Best of both worlds if you ask me.

  6. cant remember

    i do bleive that the smarter people of this worlds tend to vbe smarter than me for a cvariorty of reasdond many of whic i cannto seem to comrpehaned for one way or gthe other, however i must plailky insist that you move out at once maadme a i am sick of your nonsense and wish nolonger to be bothered yby you. thank and you good afterrnooon.

  7. Barsha_Hamal

    What a profoundly pathetic question! What do you think should be the answer? Well, by now you all must have guessed what I will most definitely opt but there’s an exception that I would never undermine: At times there’s nothing better than "playing" dumb.

  8. Mr B

    I would choose smart. They know what they want and how to get it and because you are smarter that most the competition for domanance and position is hardly competitive.

  9. Peets

    I would always rather be smart because choosing to be dumb just points out your own stupidity. And for those who argue some people are just dumb, thats stupid in itself. No one is born dumb. Though some people are born with handicaps and limitations they are not born dumb within their own status. So it is a choice, and therefore not dumbness or stupidity, but blatant ignorance.

  10. Lisa mathew

    Better to be smart to understand the dumb people. The dumb don’t know, they are stupid. They argue with you all the time.

  11. ASINGH

    unfortunarly, dumb ones think they are smart, cuz they are too dumb to figure out that they are dumb. and smart people think they are dumb and constantly doubt themselves. if only it was the other way around……..

  12. Ana

    OMG! Don’t get me started on this. I googled "How to Deal with Dumb People" and found this. Glad I did. Hold on tight to your seat guys…time to rant.

    I work with the dumbest, most ignorant, woman ever!The ironic thing is…she doesn’t realize it! Well, maybe she does and tries to compensate for it by being arrogant. She always has to have the last word, even if it is something totally irrelevant to what we were discussing. She also tends to just make up sh*t up when it suits her. I have on many occasions wanted to scream in her face…"you stupid cow, shut your pot hole and die of a heart attack, you dumb animal, you retarded snake in the grass, you derelict, you completely usless imbecile, can’t even use gramatically correct English, check your facts before ever speaking to me ever again".

    Aahh… I feel much better already. Wish I could say these things to her face. Thanks for reading or maybe I’ve lost you all at "time to rant". : ) : )

  13. Nelson Nkavandu

    Being dumb can prevent you from being much better that you are and can make you immune to integrate yourself in a work environment, socially and it can, also, help you to become a second class fellow. You guys need to think about that.

  14. Little Old me

    Do we classify people, whom are not able to type a simple post without typo’s and in decent English, also as dumb?

    (See previous posters)

  15. Nelson Nkavandu

    We don`t classify people as being dumb or clever through his or her writing capacities. Being dumb is being you, Mr Little Old me.

  16. Conductor

    The only justified answer to Little Old Me’s question is a resounding YES!

    Being smart is great. I recently orchestrated a move from one apartment to the next in such a fashion that it saved me and my roommates nearly $200 by waiting to move into the new apartment right when the lease started. Since I was in charge of setting up the move date, and since both of them wanted to move in a few days early to have enough time for the move, they exploded at me for screwing up the move date. We’re moved in and they’re both still indignant over the situation but unaware that it wasn’t all an accident. Of course, the move went smoothly. They have no clue. Maybe their problem isn’t intelligence but just a lack of foresight. I don’t even think they know we saved any money. Either way, it was great.

  17. Pondering

    I am amazed that this topic is being commented on for years now. Now I guess I’m not the only one wondering which one is better. I live in a country called the Philippines & most people here are dumb. I am a Filipino (what its citizens are called) but nevertheless it’s the truth, most, not all, are dumb.

    I am amazed & irritated that the public transportation in my country waits for passengers in the middle of the streets, causing traffic for everyone. A walking-distance location will take you at least 30 minutes by car (1 mile). If you honk on them the passengers will give you a mean look like it’s your fault. How much more stupid can you get?

    The politicians elected here are the worst as well because the voting population is dumb. I always wish that the tax-payers will only be the ones who get to vote but the tax-payers comprise only 10% of the population, the others live in poverty, probably because of stupidity. The politicians topping the polls are obviously useless & use the media to trick the people. Stupid tv shows are topping the ratings as well. Everytime actors team up as lovers in a movie or tv show the media creates a buzz that they are dating in real life, which the stupid people believe, of course, after the movie or show is over, people always find out that they never dated in the 1st place but the viewing public still believe the media everytime.

    I wanted to leave the country soon, hahaha! But I was thinking, should I be lucky to have such dumb people around me? Is it an opportunity for advancement? Or will you get a heart attack when you lose all your patience?

    Someone I know whose car got hit by a jeepney (a local PUV that is an embarrassment to the country) was being blamed by the jeepney driver saying he was blaming the latter just because he’s rich. He said something like ‘you’re like that coz you’re rich’ to which the car owner replied ‘well, you’re poor coz you’re like that’


  18. Joe

    I love dumb people. Dumb people make it so much easier for me. If people as a whole were smarter, that would make me average. Average gets you a little house in the suburbs, and average looking, semi-chunky wife, and mediocre kids. Fortunately for me, I don’t have to endure such a lackluster life and am glad there are so many dumb people stumbling in my path and taking down the weeds as they fall.

    So, it’s better to be dumb.

  19. Per

    I’m intelligent and I’m, if I quote an earlier comment, a "math wizz". I have nothing against people who don’t know much about math because I know that there’s prpbably something they do better then me. What I dont like is when they’re not awate of them being bad at math and they get all jerk about it. So I guess you could say I hate people who dont know they’re dumb. I got a theory about why they dont know they’re dumb. They dont analyze the situation. You could say they’re narrow minded and that they cant see thing from other perspectives. One thing I would like know is if its their fault or if it isnt(like a biological reason). Once you know this you could do a few more conclusions.

    I am not english and Im typing this from my iPhone so theres a high risk for misspells. Hope I made myself clear! Its hard to explain in words. Words are but big blocks in a curved world….

  20. Tio

    It is definetely better to be dumb. They don’t have to think about anything or wonder at night. They also do a lot of stupid things and play around a lot which gets them noticed by girls. If the dumb person in question is attractive then he/she would have no problem to ask their mate out because they don’t think about consequences or anything for that matter. Dumb people don’t think or worry but still live happy and content. That is why it is better to be dumb.

  21. coldarc

    smart people have to worry about dumb people all the time. dumb people think smart people are dumb because they cannot understand what a smart person say. you have to dumb you self down to their level for them to understand what you think. dumb people think smart people talk gibberish because it doesnt mean enything to them. dumb people take everything literally. when a dumb person is wrong, he never look up in a encyclopedia to actually learn what he didnt know, instead he just argue until he get angry and want to hit you with somthing hard and try to he´s opinion into your head at all cost. its better to be dumb because if you dont understand enything, there is nothing to worry about in life.

  22. Tin

    It is better to be intellegent, but significantly harder. Also, a hole in you’re system is that you have forgotten that then the smart people have to deal with the dumb people who think they are smart (infuriating). Back to my point, intelligence (arguably) leads to success and wealth and a happier lifestyle in general. The hard part along with suffering the idiots is the fact that smart people inevitably begin contemplating what life means because they are aware of the problems of the world. The common saying is “ignorance is bliss”.


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