Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

“Some ideas are so stupid that only intellectuals believe them.”

I noticed this unfamiliar George Orwell quote on page 48 of Robert Galbraith‘s (a.k.a. J.K. Rowling) latest book: The Running Grave. This quote feels related to my recent blog: Philosophy – our most dangerous belief? The best example of this George Orwell quote is communism; also see my 2015 blog.

Apart from (instinctive) romantic love, all ideas are rooted in philosophy. When successfully tried and tested, some ideas are then labelled as (first) science and (then) technology. Apart from romantic love (ie, eros), the other types of love feel like philosophy (eg, agape, philautia, philia, storge, xenia).

Hence, it should not come as a surprise that many or most intellectuals are (viewed as) philosophers – or vice versa.

One of those ideas is the Great Replacement theory, which is rooted in the quite universal fear for strangers (ie, xenophobia). This theory adds the element of conspiracy thinking (ie, by Muslims taking control over the West). The best conspiracies always have an element of truth (eg, caliphate).

A Dutch politician, who “graduated as a Doctor of Philosophy with a thesis on national identity, European identity, and multiculturalism“, is an advocate of this Great Replacement theory. His dissertation was published as The Significance Of Borders (2012) by Leiden University.

Even stupid ideas have a ring of truth. Communism claimed that all men are equal, which is a legal principle in Constitutions – not a political one. Hence, George Orwell‘s famous quote (and paraphrase) from Animal Farm (1945): “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”

The solution (to the above) is quite simple: add doubt to anything that you hear or read.

The next step is more difficult: start looking for intentions. Such intentions are either (very) complex or (very) simple. A useful tool is Occam’s razor (eg, Wiki). Sometimes, such intentions are both complex and simple through the use of reverse psychology (eg, Donald Trump).

“We absolutely must leave room for doubt or there is no progress and there is no learning. There is no learning without having to pose a question. And a question requires doubt. People search for certainty. But there is no certainty. People are terrified — how can you live and not know? It is not odd at all. You only think you know, as a matter of fact. And most of your actions are based on incomplete knowledge and you really don’t know what it is all about, or what the purpose of the world is, or know a great deal of other things. It is possible to live and not know.”

A quote from The Pleasure of Finding Things Out (1999) by Richard P. Feynman (1918-1988), an American theoretical physicist

Or, alternatively:

“The fundamental cause of the trouble is that in the modern world the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt.”

A quote by Bertrand Russell (1872-1970), a “British mathematician, philosopher, logician, and public intellectual

Somethin’ Stupid (1966) by Robbie Williams & Nicole Kidman (2001)
artist-RW, artist-NK, lyrics, video, Wiki-RW, Wiki-NK, Wiki-song

Note: all markings (bolditalicunderlining) by LO unless in quotes or stated otherwise.


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