Stupid Is As Stupid Does

Stupid Is As Stupid Does


Cognitive Dissonance



The other night, Mrs. Cog and I streamed a movie about an obviously intelligent man (some might say brilliant) who constantly got himself into, and out of, tight spots and life threatening situations. The show was well written and entirely plausible, believable even. In fact, it reminded me of some people I know…and maybe even a little bit of me.

At one point near the end, Mrs. Cog turned to me and quipped, “For such a smart person, he’s really quite stupid”. I quickly rose to the characters defense, claiming it wasn’t stupidity that compelled him to do stupid things, but his huge out-sized ego that drove him into and out of trouble at every turn.

But my answer didn’t sit well with me, similar to a late night meal that sits in the belly rather than digesting. You just know there’s going to be trouble if you don’t promptly address it.

Of course Mrs. Cog was correct; this smart man was consistently doing stupid things. And as Forrest Gump famously said in the movie by the same name…”stupid is as stupid does”. Ultimately we are measured by our actions and not our intent, desire or intelligence. Regardless of our reason, if we’re doing stupid things we can rightfully be classified as stupid.

The truly amazing thing is those of us who act stupid rarely, if ever, recognize our own stupidity, particularly while performing stupidly. I certainly know this to be true for myself. I always have a perfectly logical reason for my stupidity, something I refer back to when I can no longer avoid the stark evidence of my idiocy. After all, one must sooth the ego when all else fails.

Speaking of ego, an honest and frank self assessment of those times when my stupidity runs wild tends to reveal my logical reasons to be mere facades, comforting lies to shield me from being self aware of me and my ego. And even when I am aware of the presence of my ego, ‘it’ convinces me ‘it’ is me. Or should I say I naturally assume it is me who is speaking to me.

To think the voice in my head is anyone (or anything) other than ‘me’ would be crazy. After all, to ‘hear’ or sense anyone/thing other than me in my head would be the very definition of schizophrenia. Since I’m not crazy, that voice must be me.



What exactly is the ego? We are informed it is “the part of the mind that mediates between the conscious and the unconscious and is responsible for reality testing and a sense of personal identity.” Our ego is “a person's sense of self-esteem or self-importance”.

So…there is a different part of ‘us’ that ‘we’ are not fully in control of which operates on a sort of independent basis from our conscious mind. Essentially it is a control or ‘reality testing’ program running in the background that has yeah or nay say over our sense of reality and belief system.

Wow! And we think we are free?

All I can say with any level of certainty is if I were someone (or group of some ones) who wished to control the general population, all I would need do in order to shepherd the sheep is to heavily influence the hidden ego residing within everyone. After all, we think ‘our’ ego is ‘us’. So why would we question its motive and process?

Think about that for a second or three.

I claim no deep understanding of the conscious mind nor what (or who?) the ego is. But quite frankly, if there are (mostly) unconscious processes operating in our minds we are either unaware of or mistakenly aware of, I’m not sure anyone can truly understand, let alone trust, what’s happening.

Considering some of my worst ideas sprang directly from my ego as perceived-to-be unparalleled brilliance, to assume my ego is my friend and benefactor is at best ridiculous and at worst suicidal. And yet that’s precisely what we have been trained and conditioned to do. After all, it’s normal and natural.

I have often said if everyone in the world were insane, insanity would be ‘normal’ and therefore the prevailing state of insanity would be considered sane. Explain to me how someone immersed within this hypothetically insane world would be able to recognize their insanity, let alone understand what ‘sanity’ actually is?

Most of my musings over the years have attempted to do precisely this, with varying degrees of success and failure I might add. The one thing I do know with reasonable certainty is this; no progress towards sanity can possibly be made if probing (meaning cognitively disturbing) out-of-the-box questions are not asked and an honest attempt made to answer.

Rinse and repeat as often as necessary. Which, based upon my experience, is very often.

In the mean time, for myself at least, I have come to deeply mistrust my ego and tend to think twice (or more) before following the advice that voice in my head is whispering in my ear. Chalk it up to introspection or simply the wisdom of years of experience, but when I feel an intense urge to do or say something, that is the signal the ego program is running and my conscious, deliberate and introspective mind has been switched off and is no longer functioning.

After all, regardless of how intelligent I may believe myself to be, stupid is as stupid does. Just ask Mrs. Cog about my track record if you don’t believe me. :-)



Cognitive Dissonance


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vato poco Indo_Expat Sun, 05/27/2018 - 20:10 Permalink

have thought about this quite a bit. whatever the answer IS, I can tell y'all for sure what it ain't: high IQ. smartest man I personally knew was my father, IQ est 175 give or take.

the most miserable, paranoid SOB on the planet, whose only enjoyment of life came from making others miserable, too. but just freakin' brilliant. his take? 'no absolute answers; too many variables. however, observation shows that much more often than not, the key to happiness and meaningfulness (?) and all that is just what the Bible and all the other old books said it was: family, duty, honor.'

that is, IF Life is actually something more than a tale told by an idiot. YMMV

In reply to by Indo_Expat

besnook vato poco Sun, 05/27/2018 - 22:21 Permalink

lol. you were a victim of the fallacy of genius. just because a person is really smart doesn't mean he knows anything. i was lucky enough to figure that out and found salvation in buddha because my brain can't acknowledge the god concept because it makes no sense. humility and the ability to realize what a ridiculously silly animal one is compared to the rest of the animal kingdom prevents me from taking too much very seriously(nobody injured, nobody killed means it is not that important) which has made all the difference in my life.

In reply to by vato poco

nmewn Indo_Expat Sun, 05/27/2018 - 20:34 Permalink


Maybe or maybe not...but someone as "worldly wise" as an ex-pat Marine NCO now living in Indonesia collecting monies from US taxation (unless of course, you were dishonorably might have noticed your simple spelling error is what actually prompted the exchange. 

But obviously not ;-)

In reply to by Indo_Expat

Indo_Expat nmewn Mon, 05/28/2018 - 07:09 Permalink

Something you will never experience, mindless millennial whelp. You would not meet the criteria for a mail room inserter at the Grinder or National Enquirer, let alone wastebasket dumper for an intern copy editor at the Pennysaver.

And it's expat, useless, worthless illiterate millennial zounderkite while your other fantasies are lacking both in originality and coherence as is all too common in the bulk of your branded purple-haired mutant, doomed generation of parasites on the ass of America.

As if you pay taxes, what a howl.




In reply to by nmewn

nmewn Indo_Expat Mon, 05/28/2018 - 10:08 Permalink

"Something you will never experience, mindless millennial whelp."

"And it's expat, useless, worthless illiterate millennial zounderkite while your other fantasies are lacking both in originality and coherence as is all too common in the bulk of your branded purple-haired mutant, doomed generation of parasites on the ass of America."

"As if you pay taxes, what a howl."

LMMFAO!!!...I guess I should try and point out a few glaring inaccuracies in all that so, ya know, you don't come off like a complete blithering idiot residing in Indonesia.

But naw, I think you got it down pat, right down to my illiteracy and purple hair ;-)

In reply to by Indo_Expat

Indo_Expat nmewn Mon, 05/28/2018 - 15:52 Permalink

Down to cribbing my words and phrases eh, anon coward. Hilarious, like a Balinese macaque fumbling with a pair of stolen sunglasses and just as entertaining.

What it boils down to is that you are nothing more than a mindless slave living in a cage in the gulag while I reside as a free man here on the beach, a life you can only fantasise about. You will live out your meaningless, irrelevant existence of drudgery in servitude to your masters and will be exterminated for the vermin you are at their whim, cowering and licking their boots until you are finally put out of your misery - and it will not be long in coming.

Still don't see that contact information anon coward, I threw it down and you can't pick it up, petrified cunt.


Robert S. Finnegan

Kuningan, Jakarta



In reply to by nmewn

Scipio Africanuz Cognitive Dissonance Mon, 05/28/2018 - 04:50 Permalink

Now, I read your article and I honestly couldn't understand what it's about. You spoke of the ego, and intelligent people doing "stupid" things. You spoke about "voices" in your head which you often had to ignore, and yet you claimed you're not crazy.

Sir, let me share an insight with you. The reason women are more spiritual than men, has to do with their ability to listen to their intuition more than they do, their ego. The moment you discount your intuitive intelligence, you become "crazy", crazy is not acting weird, it's acting contrary to your inherent nature.

Stupid, as you say, is perceptual and if we're to go by the generally accepted description, the most stupid person that most have heard of, would be Christ, who willingly gave his life for criminals to live.

Another would be Nikola Tesla, who never protected himself from being ripped off, simply because he trusted, and desired above all, to bless mankind with his knowledge.

Have you ever observed the "stupid" things little children do? Yet, in all our non - stupidity, we have far less intelligence, and true insight into the nature of reality, than them.

Another "stupid" thing we do, is to fear "life" so much, we commit psychic suicide, and hope our flesh makes it to the worms in one piece. We live false lives, we abandon courage, we discard integrity, we suppress compassion, we hide, and hide from truth and in doing these, we go crazy and then, our true voice begins to sound like a strangers. Then, we become afraid of our true self, and in our fear, and psychic schizophrenia, we become "crazy", and at that point, lose our spiritual dominion, and become slaves to the opinions of others.

Let me share another insight with you. Most decisions that are taken, when one overrides intuition, even if well thought through, eventually backfire and here's why:

Logic can only see so far and even then, not very clearly. Logic demands you know all parameters, an impossible task. Intuition on the other hand, only demands you act, and let go of outcomes.

The difference?

Logic loads you up with worry and anxiety about outcomes.

Intuition sets you free to live life, one day at a time, and always leads you to what you truly desire, if only you have the courage to be "stupid" and "crazy".

I bet you acted "stupid" when you began wooing the missus, and I bet you were "crazy" in "love" too, cheers...

In reply to by Cognitive Dissonance

KingTut Cognitive Dissonance Mon, 05/28/2018 - 11:12 Permalink

That was, of course, the whole point of Forest Gump; that intelligent behavior is not the 'technological smartness' our culture has become obsessed by.  

In the South, it is traditional for 'intellectually challenged' children to be  better taken care of than in the North or West.  That too was an obvious part of the Forest Gump story.  Eventhough we call these people 'stupid', they aren't bothered by the hair-ball of details that your smart man behaving stupidly gets distracted by.

The phenomenon that you personally admited to, I call negative IQ.  The number is big, but it's pointed in the wrong direction.  This seems to be an epidemic in modern society.  It partly due to the complexity of our technology, which almost no one understands. There are lots of engineers that understand the details, but can't see the fundemantal flaw inthe big picture.  

The unintended consequences of Facebook come to mind as does Tesla.  All of Tesla's problems can be traced to the terrible economic/energy performance of batteries.  They are made of exotic and toxic materials, are heavy and expensive, and hold 1/40th the energy of gasoline per volume or weight.  Lots of smart engineers at Tesla, yet they smoke Elon's smoke and ignore the obvious.  There's your negative IQ right there.  


In reply to by Cognitive Dissonance

bonin006 Sun, 05/27/2018 - 18:42 Permalink

The book by Johnathan Haidt "The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion" talks about this in detail. I found the book very enlightening.

Keffus Sun, 05/27/2018 - 18:42 Permalink

I have had limited success ferreting out my own stupid behavior. Any success I have had started with a serious look at my past behavior and a willingness to admit to another person I was acting like an idiot.

UpChuckLiberals Keffus Sun, 05/27/2018 - 19:16 Permalink

I've found, over the 70 years on this planet, that you simple say....I F'd UP.  Key is to reduce the number of those by thinking a touch and using some experience, either yours or preferably others.  Says the guy with enough hardware in his body for a Hardware Store, and a Mrs. with a f'd up back with rods in it.


In reply to by Keffus

jmack Sun, 05/27/2018 - 19:34 Permalink

  your brain consists of three parts, the triune model.  The Reptilian brain, the limbic, or mammalian brain and the neocortex which is your concious brain that basically separates us from all the other mammals.…


   "the hour between dog and wolf" talks about the neurology and biochemistry involved


Rande Howell ( discusses the triune mind, and how to break it down into jungian archetypes to better enable the neocortex to deal with the impulses of the reptile and mammalian (limbic system) brains in the course of trading.  Basically, if you allow your limbic system to get you into a fight or flight state of mind, you have already lost, and need to step away and go do some exercise, either mental or physical to burn the testosterone or cortizone or whatever chemicals you have in your blood stream, out, so you can get back to a calm alpha wave state of mind and re engage the markets.


   You can program yourself with emotional stories, which hollywood and media do every day, putting emotion with concepts , programs you to accept those concepts as they design.  this is of course old news to anyone familiar with bernays, which most zh readers are, I would assume.  You can also program yourself by "playing pretend" as a child would, with vivid emotional stories that build a reality in your mind, that you would like to experience for real.  I have used this technique to break several bad habits from drinking carbonated sugar water, to using tobacco, still lots of work to do though.


I think, from what I have seen of David Goggins, online, he is using some of these techniques to do very radical things to achieve his goals, there was one video in particular where he went into detail of how he built and alter ego to role play to get thru some hellish stuff. 


Lying Sweetly jmack Mon, 05/28/2018 - 06:52 Permalink

 Confusion and complexity are not automatically synonymous. The brain is complex, but it need not be confusing.


In a (large) nutshell:

All animals have an ego. Ego is just the word describing a portion of the brain that developed after the autonomic nervous system.


It helps you survive (as a species) long enough to develop another portion of the brain that can actually think consciously. During the early development of that thinking part, conflicts arise between its conclusions and the ego (should we fight or flee). That’s understandable. That also makes it easier to understand that even now the conflicts between the ego and conscious thought continue.


However, there comes a point in brain development that consciousness should rightfully take over in those times that that are not life threatening. The problem in doing so arises from the fact that doubt is only possible in the conscious part of one’s mind, but not in the ego. The ego sees everything as life or death. That’s its job after all, and therefore (because it’s a simple beast) it cannot experience doubt about its ‘conclusions’.


Eventually, our conscious minds (as our species evolves) become strong enough to reach more reliable conclusions than the ego. The ego’s only weapon is fear. The conscious mind needs to assure the ego that it will take care of all the subtle decisions and it (the ego) will be always be allowed to handle the truly in-this-moment life-threatening cases.


But, thinking clearly is a difficult business and sort of by definition needs to take place in those quieter moments. Sure, right after some scary situations we might need to relax, but then we need to review that scary situation and figure out which pieces of it were not actually life threating, so that the ego will not have us constantly on edge.


Cog is describing situations where he has been lazy and didn’t do that thinking in those relatively quiet moments. This leads to emotional responses to situations that are easily manipulated by the ego to prove to the consciousness that IT (the ego) really does need to be in charge. The fact that this is not at all obvious in the internal dialogs he has is another result of failing to do that thinking when he can and then his ego does not allow him to do it even in non life-threatening situations.


@jmack describes some of the neurological aspects of the developments of the brain that parallel what I have just said. However his conclusions about programming oneself are not correct. ‘Programming’ (unthought out responses) is exactly the opposite of what is needed. 


I think, therefore I can be free, if I learn how to do it well enough. It is only through this process that we can free ourselves of automatic responses, except when they are exactly what is needed.

It's really all about lying to oneself (allowing the ego "I am the greatest" to continue to be in charge):…



In reply to by jmack

whosyerdaddy Sun, 05/27/2018 - 19:44 Permalink

"I have come to deeply distrust my ego", so after years of intensive self-analysis you have rested on the George Costanza "opposite" theory. Congratulations it must be so liberating.

VWAndy Sun, 05/27/2018 - 20:03 Permalink

 My ego ? Got kinda this best friend/worst enemy vibe.

  As many times as it got me in trouble and there are many a time it did. It was front and center every time I was at by best. An yea I done some studly shit. Got the scars and the trophy to prove it.






   Love first then ego an you will be fine.

cheech_wizard Sun, 05/27/2018 - 20:08 Permalink

But sometimes it is good to let that ego run unchecked...

A women wrote a rather extensive rant about how women should withhold sex from men until abortion is universally accepted. (Another blog concerning Ireland and the abortion vote) It was at some point during her rant I decided to see if I could find a picture of her. Sure enough, my instincts are usually correct. She was ugly as sin...

So, I immediately chimed in with..."Honey, go check the mirror, I don't think you need to worry about having sex anytime soon."

(Which guaranteed an endless stream of 3rd wave feminists chiming in with their own particular brand of self loathing and hate)

Standard Disclaimer: Too late bitches, I made my point and crushed your egos in the process.

new game Sun, 05/27/2018 - 20:08 Permalink

One thing I will add to this discussion. I will continue to do stupid stuff.  Just less often and on a smaller scale.

Key to this limited success is I actually do more often than not what my wife thinks. Some humility goes along way towards repeating stupid shit. 

one big lol to all the stupid purchases in my life time. I could be 100k richer right know (or moar). But I've done some very smart real estate transactions. So it kinda even out, cause no way in hell are all decisions gonna be right everytime.