Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

Fashionable stupidity (Carl Jung)

Recently, I noticed a quote by Carl Jung, a Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst: “I shall not commit the fashionable stupidity of regarding everything I cannot explain as a fraud.” The reference to fashionable stupidity is part of his 1920 address to the Society for Psychical Research in England.

Clearly, stupidity is not a contemporary issue as it was already considered fashionable a hundred years ago. The word fashionable suggests (to me) that stupidity follows a wave pattern, like fashion does too.

Late January 2022, a Dutch newspaper published an article about a self-proclaimed Arab prophet, Nashat Majd Al-Nour (eg, Algemeen Dagblad, EG24 News, Sawah Press). He received lots of attention after a well-known Lebanese astrologer started promoting him on her social media. Lots of ridicule followed.

I posted Carl Jung’s comment on social media: “I shall not commit the fashionable stupidity of regarding everything I cannot explain as a fraud.” I received neither likes nor ridicule. Just silence.

There’s a distinct statistical probability that Nashat Majd Al-Nour is not a prophet. Considering Pascal’s wager, it’s better to be open-minded than closed-minded. After all, Jesus Christ was once viewed as a rebel or insurgent, according to the books of Flavius Josephus (c.37-c.100), a “Romano-Jewish historian“.

Carl Jung’s comment above, referred to a very specific issue: The Psychological Foundations of Belief in Spirits. In general, we have no appetite of labeling the things that we can hear, see, smell, taste and/or touch as a fraud. Often, we label things as a fraud that we cannot hear, see, smell, taste and/or touch.

In 2016, I prepared a diagram to separate human from artificial intelligence. Artificial intelligence will – most likely – always lack imagination.

Beliefs are considered to be known unknowns: we know that we do not know.

Hence, ridiculing someone for a belief that cannot be evidenced, might well have been common throughout history. Hence, the wave pattern.

I wouldn’t be surprised if this wave follows another wave: the Strauss-Howe generational cycle. Also see my related blogs: Why does history repeat? and Waves (3) – history and nature always repeat itself.

Waves (2013) by Mr. Probz
artist, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2

I’m slowly drifting away (drifting away)
Wave after wave, wave after wave
I’m slowly drifting (drifting away)

Note: all markings (bold, italic, underlining) by LO unless stated otherwise.


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