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Henri W. Tartt
Supervising Chemist &
Chief of Microbiology (retired)
City of Cleveland, Ohio

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"Stupidity & Ishkibibble"

Greetings to you, it's good to be with you again. Our subject today is one that would consume volumes to adequately explain, that is if it can be adequately explained. We are talking about "Ishkibibbleism", or plainly stated "Stupidity".

Ishkibibble (pronounced "Isch Ka Bibble") is an old German/Yiddish term for an individual not in possession of the ability to worry about, understand, or contemplate any danger he or she may do to others by any action he or she takes. And in addition is continuously busy trying to accomplish destruction and trouble. We will call him "ISH" for short.

Stupidity is a noun of Latin origin representing a quality or state of being stupid, or an act or idea that exhibits properties of being stupid. The root word stupid, which can serve as an adjective or noun itself, comes from the Latin verb stupor, for being numb or astonished.

According to Merriam-Webster, the words "stupid" and "stupidity" entered the English Language in 1541. Since then stupidity has taken its rightful place along with "fool, idiot, dumb, imbecile, moron, and related concepts as a pejorative appellation for human misdeeds, whether purposeful or accidental, due to the absence of mental capacity.

The modern English word "stupid" has a broad range of application, from being slow of mind (indicating a lack of intelligence, care, or reason), dullness of feeling, sensation, or torpidity. It can also infer a *congenital* lack of capacity for reasoning, or a temporary state of daze or slow-mindedness.

Dr. Walter B. Pitkin (1878-1953) stated in his widely read book "The Fundamental Laws of Human Stupidity" that fully 4/5 of all people are stupid. He further suggests that the true genius's among us are considered to be stupid by this stupid majority. He says that stupidity runs this world, a sentiment shared in no small part by Dr's Sigmund Freud, Alfred Adler, Carl Yung and B.F. Skinner (all psychiatrists).

Stupidity can easily be proven to be the supreme Social Evil. Three factors combine to establish it as such. First and foremost, the number of stupid people is Legion. Secondly, most of the power in business, finance, diplomacy, and politics is in the hands of more or less stupid people. Look at the stupid wars that we are in, many of our greatest minds got together and still could not figure out that *Fighting for Peace is like Fucking for Chastity! By its very definition "It cannot be done". Many people with the highest abilities are often linked to serious stupidity, and in such a manner that their great abilities shine before all the word, while the stupid trait lurks deep in the shadows and is discerned only when it's too late and then suddenly *ISH* gets into him and the disaster occurs and people completely "lose their shit!".

Stupid behavior is more dangerous than intentional mayhem:

Flight 3407 approached Niagara International Airport on the night of Feb. 12, 09. The pilot and co-pilot were said to be socializing (according to information systems) The airplane was going dangerously slow and the pilot "pulled up" on the stick instead of "pushing down" on it, effectively causing the plane to stall and sent all fifty people on board to their deaths. On Tuesday Feb. 02, 2010 the FAA officially concluded its investigation of the crash and determined that the cause was *human error*...."ISH?"

Flight 447 Rio-De Janiero to Paris June 1, 09 *Someone* made the decision to fly through a storm with one hundred MPH winds instead of flying around the storm. This sent 228 people to their deaths. Really smart huh?

Yemini Airbus flight 310 went down off the island of Comoros June 30, 09. 153 people lost. The airplane should not have been flying with its poor history of equipment failure. Who made the decision to keep flying this airplane? These and more recent examples of obvious stupidity (that seem to happen almost daily) only serve to validate this position.

The great philosopher Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) in his book "Is There a God?" says that nine tenths of the beliefs of nine tenths of mankind are totally irrational and that most people are really not that intelligent, and it is very unreasonable to expect them to be.

In fact we are still not that "distant" from lower animal forms.

Dr. Charles Wysoki Neuro Scientist at the Morell Chemical Center in Philadelphia says in an article dated April 7, 09 that women are still using their noses to find acceptable partners with which to mate. It seems that a woman's sense of smell helps her determine which man is best "suited" for her needs. She can do this even if a man is wearing cologne. The man however, cannot "smell" through her perfume. She can also use her nose to tell when a man is sexually excited without visibly seeing him. And guy's keep up with your hygiene, or you might begin to smell like a monkey. Did you know that blood transfusions are possible between a man and a Chimpanzee, but not possible between a Gorilla and a Chimp? Stupidity does not flourish in the animal kingdom because stupid animals are usually the first to be eaten. But even they know how to mate. It seems that no matter how severe the mental incapacitation is whatever it is still finds a way to mate. It has been said that without the tremendously strong influence of the Endocrine and Olfactory systems on hormonal production and behavior that most people and animals would be too stupid and lazy to mate. I've told you before, that *everything* is Chemistry.

Given the long history and proven value of the scientific methods used in today's modern world, why do so many otherwise brilliant, rational people reject sound, hard, scientific evidence and fall prey to some of todays easily discernable mental phobia's? A few are:

  1. Religious fanaticism
  2. Superstition(s)
  3. Astrology/Numbers

*Here's Why*

The part of the human brain that controls our reasoning, judgment, problem solving abilities and our emotions is in the "Frontal Lobe". At first glance one might think that this would allow us to basically think alike given the same stimuli, right?....wrong!

At birth the brain contains up to 200 billion "neurons" (nerve cells) along with comparable amounts of "dendrites" which bring information into the cell body and "axons" which take the info' back to the brain. These cells connect and reconnect daily based on what you do, need and think. In a rather complex electrochemical process neurons communicate with each other in "synapses" which are a connection between two neurons and this connection creates chemicals called neurotransmitters at each synapse and these shape mood, creative solution, problem solving, how you view things such as religion, superstition, astrology, etc. There are about a "quadrillion" synapses within a human brain! (That's one thousand million million or 10-15, si prefix peta)

There are countless mutations (birth defects) in the human brain and body. And this is just the beginning of stupidity. Just one basic human chromosome has 220 million base pairs of amino acids. Plenty of room for error here. 95% of human DNA has little or no function.

The brain/body uses 24 elements in precise quantities for optimal health of the total organism. Also It must have 65% Oxygen, 18.5% Carbon, 9.5% Hydrogen, 3.3% Nitrogen 1.5% Calcium and 1.0% Phosphorous. You put the sperm together with the egg, add all of the above precisely and you wind up with a 75 trillion cell human being.

Screw up any of the above and we have brain pathways that do not connect properly, misfiring synapses, people who see and talk to God and those that think this universe somehow knows them! There have been 125 billion people on this earth since the beginning. There are currently 6.8 billion "pieces of work" alive now. We increase at a rate of 80 million a year. With that many potential "Mr. Potato-Head" "Science Projects" running around loose it's a wonder any of us are left. For those who have this type of problem (genetic mutation) we know of no remedy and the condition can never be ameliorated.

Stupidity has no racial barriers. However, Black People have been known for possessing a deep level of "common sense" for centuries. "Common Sense" is "ISH'S" biggest enemy. For instance, generally, Black People will not swim with "Great White Sharks" and expect not to be eaten. Black People will not leave their sleeping babies with pet "Anaconda's" and then wonder where the baby went. Black People will not enter the cages of Bears, Lions, Tigers, etc. and attempt to socialize" with them and then fail to understand why someone was killed. There are many other examples that I could give, but there is no time and space for them here. But still, when it comes to stupidity, none are totally immune.

"The Fundamental Laws of Human Stupidity"

By *Carlo Maria Cipolla*

Economic Historian 1922-2000

  1. Always and inevitably each of us underestimates the number of stupid individuals in circulation.
  2. The probability that a given person is stupid is independent of any other characteristic possessed by that person.
  3. A person is stupid if they cause damage to another person or group of people without experiencing personal gain, or even worse causing damage to themselves in the process.
  4. Non-stupid people always underestimate the harmful potential of stupid people; they constantly forget that any time anywhere, and in any circumstance, dealing with or associating themselves with stupid individuals invariably constitutes a costly error.
  5. stupid person is the most dangerous type of person there is.

And just to bring it home for those of you readers out there that are not or may be only "slightly stupid"......

*Albert Einstein's definition of Stupidity*

"Stupidity is doing the same thing over and over again and *expecting* different results!


Earlier in my career I was considered to be somewhat "outspoken" as to the etiology (cause and spread) of legionnaires disease. (Details? henri@henriwtartt.com) I was approached by a producer of the television news magazine "60 minutes" for an interview. While reviewing my notes for the interview I noticed that my work wasn't clear on a certain bacterium. I proceeded to call around the country for some direction on this organism but to no avail. I finally located a professor at a very prestigious university who I just knew "had" to have the answer that I was looking for. Well he did not, but he did say "have faith" "I know of a microbiologist in Cleveland Ohio who can help you. His name is Henri Tartt!" I respectfully (again) told him...that "I'm Henri Tartt!" and he answered "well if you don't know, who does?".....no one (that I could find at that time). Well, I did the interview. But my crucial lesson was that the scope of things that I didn't know wasn't merely vast; it was for all practical purposes, infinite. And so all we can do when "Ishkibibble" (stupidity) tries to raise his ugly head (and he will) is to try not to fail, and if you do, try to limit the failure to a *sufficiently high level* so that you don't harm yourself or others around you. I realize that "Eternal Vigilance Breeds Indifference", but try and stay awake! Also, every once in a while when you're pointing that accusative finger, you might want to cast a "gimlet eye" in the mirror. As you get older and wiser so does "ISH". And remember, "Life is mostly a process of losing illusions". Stay well.

All The Best,

- Henri W. Tartt

Henri W. Tartt

Supervising Chemist &

Chief of Microbiology

City of Cleveland, Ohio (Retired)


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