Aaron J. Powner, M.Ed.
High School Science Teacher

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Mr. Powner's Laws of Stupidity

* DISCLAIMER (or maybe this is a "claimer") - this is Mr. Powner's personal opinion (which he rarely shares), and in no way reflects the official policies or practices of most people and institutions (unfortunately).

Vocabulary (avoid sounding stupid)

Intelligence - n. - the ability to "tell" the difference between objects and phenomena (ability to learn)

Clever - adj. - quick to catch on to an idea or solve a problem

Ignorance - n. - to lack knowledge ("gnosis" means knowledge, prefix "i-" means without or no), a state of being

Ignore - v. - to refuse to take notice or to disregard intentionally, a choice

Knowledge - n. - to be familiar with ideas, posessing a mental framework of remembered concepts and experiences.

Education means to know how to gain knowledge on your own. One should never be ashamed of not knowing something. In truth, it is hard to know how much we don't know. It is humble to be at peace with this idea. It is pitiful to not know how to learn, and shameful to refuse to learn. A lack of knowledge is NOT stupidity. In fact, one must have knowledge to even qualify to be stupid.

Understand - v. - beyond learning, to perceive the meaning of ideas and experiences, how they relate and might be used (liguisticly related words: understand, overstand, metacognate; related concepts are hindsight, insigh, and foresight)

Wisdom - n. - the proper application of knowledge; based on reasoning, experience, and good judgement

Dumb - adj. - unable or unwilling to speak, to be made speechless as with shock or amazement. It is strange that some use the word dumb as a synonym for the word stupid, the assumption being that silence indicates mental deficit (which is a dumb use of the word dumb).

Stupid - adj. - original definition - dazed and not thinking clearly (see etymology). It is strange that many now use this word to mean that one shows a great lack of intelligence or common sense (which is a stupid use of the word stupid).

Etymology: L. "stupidus" means silly, L. stupere means to be amazed or stunned as with a heavy blow. More recently the word has been used to mean absence of mental capacity. I reject this modern use.

Stupidity - as defined by Mr. Powner - the temporary state of being in which one ignores or forgets available knowledge while making foolish (unwise) or harmful choices

The Laws (to avoid being stupid)

  1. You can't explain stupid.
  2. Stupidity is a choice.
  3. Stupidity is neither a medical condition nor a disability.
  4. No one is born stupid.
  5. Stupid is not permenant.
  6. One can be both very intelligent and spectacularly stupid at the same time.
  7. Stupidity is the most dangerous phenomenon in the universe.

Related Principles

  1. If at first you don't succeed, re-read the directions, ask for help... then try, try again.
  2. If you haven't read the directions or asked for help, the harder you try the "more stupider" you appear to be.
  3. "Insanitiy is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results." -- Albert Einstein (attributed)
  4. "To every action there is always an equal and opposite reaction." -- Isaac Newton


Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and to remove all doubt. -- Abraham Lincoln

It’s better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than open it and remove all doubt. -- Mark Twain

Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent, and discerning if he holds his tongue. -- Proverbs 17:28