We are not smart

Thursday, January 21st, 2016

We are not smart, Joe Rogan reminds us:

That’s the scariest thing about life, it’s that dumb people are out-breeding smart people at a fucking staggering pace. And nobody ever even talks about it! We all kinda know it’s happening, and the real problem is; most of us are dumb. We don’t want to admit it, but really, how many of us are really smart? Look, I know I’m stupid. I know. I know I’m stupid, yet I’m smarter than almost everybody I meet! And the real problem with dumb people is, they don’t even know they’re dumb. That’s a part of being dumb, you’re not aware!

There should be a way to tell, like a home pregnancy test type thing. Some shit you take at home and you lick it and you go “Oh, I’m a fucking idiot! Shit! The fuck is this?! It’s broken, gimme another one!” Dudes would never believe it, idiots would have fucking boxes stacked to the ceiling. “LIAR! COCKSUCKER! NO!”

The real problem is, most of us are idiots! We just like to think that we’re not idiots because we use a bunch of shit that smart people have figured out. But how many of us understand any of that shit? Think about the technological level the world operates on, how many of us really understand that? What if everybody out there died, and we had to take over the world? How well would you think we’d do?

[Crowd starts cheering]

“Yeah, terrific! We would do awesome!” Yeah, does anybody really know how any of this shit works?

[Taps microphone]

Why’s that loud, any idea? I’ve been a comedian for sixteen fucking years, I have no idea what’s in there! I don’t know, some loud shit? I don’t know.

[Points at spotlight]

What makes that bright, bright shit? I don’t know. Think about all the stuff you need to run your life. Computers and palm pilots and cell phones, how many of you know how to make any of that shit?! I mean, if I left you alone in the woods with a hatchet, how long before you can send me an email?

We are not smart! We buy shit from smart people! I don’t have a camera on my phone because I’m smart! If you left me on an island for a fucking million years I could never figure out how to put a camera on a phone! I don’t even know what a camera is! I know that I press a button and a picture shows up. What happens between me pressing the button and the picture showing up is anybody’s fucking guess! There might be leprechauns with spray paints fucking gremlins up the ass!

All I know is “megapixel”! Yeah, you gotta say that to get the good shit. I don’t even know what a megapixel is! It’s like a noise you make with your mouth. “Megapixel! Ohhh, you’re clever! You are clever!”

Who knows of people who know that shit? Does anybody know anyone that’s invented anything? Who are they? Is anybody watching them? Making sure they’re alive? Making sure that somebody mixed kids with them? No! No one’s paying attention! I think what’s going to happen is that one day smart people are just gonna die and they’re gonna leave us with a bunch of shit we don’t understand. I think there’s gonna be no warning!

We’re just gonna be sitting around, having a good time, having a couple of drinks, power’s just going to shut off. Everybody’s gonna get out their lighters “Way to go, you fuckin’ idiots! Can’t even keep the power on, what the fuck…” And what do you do when the power goes out? I don’t know what you do, what I do usually is that I sit around and I wait. Cause I figure “There’s a guy fixing that shit. Probably working out it right now…” How long will it take before you figure out all the smart people are dead? It would take years. You would have to run out of batteries, “Dude I don’t know how to make a fucking battery, what do we do? SHIT!”

“Listen, just get together with a torch, okay? Get a torch, we’re all gonna meet in the street and we’re all gonna work this out. It’s gonna be cool.”

Standing out in the street with a torch, “What’sup, fag?”

“Dude, you know how to get the power on?”

“I thought you did!”

“No… alright, keep me posted.”

“You too!”

We’d just be sitting in our houses with out torches. That would work. ‘Till the animals realise we don’t have electricity any more and they start sneaking around, checking shit out. And they realise there’s no loud noises to scare them off any more and bears just start grabbing people.

[Imitating bear attack]

They just realise we’re fat and slow, they don’t even have to catch us. They scare us, we’ll just black out. It’s a matter of time before they start eating us! More evolution! But not me motherfucker, I’ve got guns! I’ve got bullets, I’m gonna be fine! …until I run out of bullets

“I don’t know how to make a fucking bullet, do you? SHIIIITTTT! Dude, there’s bears out there, we don’t even have any bullets, what the fuck do we do?!”

“Listen man, we’re gotta get out of the city, we’re sitting ducks. This is what we should do; we should move back into the caves!” People will live in the caves again!

“Dude, it’s safer in the caves, bro! Just fucking guard the entrance with sharp, pointy sticks!”



We would just get down to a core group of survivors, fighting off the bears. And within one or two generations we would forget EVERYTHING! Trigonometry, calculus, all that shit’s gone! Science, the ‘net, it’s gone! It’s never gonna happen again! It would take thousands of years, you would have to reinvent electricity… Within one hundred years would think the world’s flat and the sun is seventeen miles away. Just like the people that wrote The Bible, that’s what they thought, ain’t that funny?



We would just devolve to a core group of survivors and let them re-evolve and re-discover the earth. How crazy would that be? How crazy would a caveman discovering downtown Phoenix be? Just coming out of the cave with his fucking club, with his buddies.

“Dude, who fuckin’ built all this shit?”

“Bro, it had to be aliens!”

“FUCK YEAH! Fuck yeah it’s aliens! I can’t do that, you do that?”

“Neither can I! What the fuck?”

See, I think this has happened before. I think it explains the pyramids. And yeah, I was reeeallyy high when I thought this up. But it makes sense! If you ever watch a documentary on how they built the pyramids, they have no idea how they made those things.

“Well, we believe they used levers”, but this is all that you really need to know. They know they’re there, so they know somebody made them. But all you need to know about the Great Pyramid of Giza; there’s two million, three hundred thousand stones that weigh between two and 80 tonnes – some of them were cut form a quarry that was that was five hundred miles away! No machines, no trucks, no steel, they had copper tools and they were perfectly cut, you couldn’t even get a razor blade in between these rocks and they were perfectly aligned, true North, South, East and West. And if you cut and place ten of these monstrous stones a day it would take you six hundred and sixty for fucking years to make one pyramid! All brought to you by people who thought the god Ra took the sun across the sky in a canoe and returned later that evening with the moon. They had sixteen year old queens! Cleopatra was sixteen years old when she was running shit. That’s like Lindsay Lohan being Queen of the world!

And they built that?! They built that? Are you sure? Are you sure? Okay, because I have another theory. I think people used to be really, really, really fuckin’ smart! But the dumb ones just out-fucked the smart ones! That’s what I think! I think that we are all the bastard children of the idiot stone workers of Egypt! I think that at one point there was a master race and they were reading each other’s minds and they were free of ego and they were totally honest and they were mapping out the cosmos and behind them, the stone workers just fucked away.

[Mimics stone workers having sex, and giving birth to a child]

“Oh look, he look just like me! That’s my fella right there!”

They just took over. And one day the smart people just die. There’s probably no warning. Just one day the idiots show up at the pyramids “Hello?! Anybody in there?! We’re supposed to get our checks on Friday! Hello?! The boy’s have got overtime coming! The holidays’ just around the corner, have you no heart?”

Then eventually they just realise the smart people are all dead.

“What do you want to do?”

“I think for now we should just move into the pyramids then we’ll figure it all out.”

And that’s what they did, they just moved in. Then they just started lying about it. After a couple of generations, “Who built this?”

“WE DID! We’re the best, we’re number one! Egypt! Egypt! Egypt! Look at that beautiful flat wall! That’s craftsmanship, son! I think I will draw stick figures on it!

[Mimics drawing]

“This.. is a woman… she’s carrying food upon her head… that’s important to document! And this… is a man… but, he has a head of a dog! And he’s evil!”

You sure they made that? They wrote in stick figures, dude.


  1. Slovenian Guest says:

    Or watch this exact set on video.

    Recorded back in 2006 when he still had hair.
    Another classic is his Hugh Hefner bit.

  2. Bill says:

    For those who enjoy science fiction, reading the 1977 novel Lucifer’s Hammer gave me this same feeling. Ever since then, whenever someone puffed out their chest and described Americans as independent, I had to laugh. Americans are the most dependent people on earth.

  3. Isegoria says:

    Lucifer’s Hammer got me thinking about bootstrapping civilization. How do you rebuild 21st-century America, knowing that we haven’t been able to bring most of the existing world to that level, even with a working example?

  4. I don’t find the 3rd world’s difficulty with industrializing so worrying in this case. The fact that they seem to have so much trouble even with (because of?) tons of outside help and prodding doesn’t say much about our ability to rebuild, as far as I can tell. After all, it happened spontaneously here over a hundred years ago, and the machinery and processes to do it all had to be invented on the spot, as needed.

  5. Isegoria, first, get a suitably bright populace…

  6. Gaikokumaniakku says:

    How do you rebuild 21st-century America, knowing that we haven’t been able to bring most of the existing world to that level, even with a working example?

    Start by reading Gingery’s books

    That’s a frivolous answer, but in fact the question is very, very deep and very, very important.

    The GVCK is one attempt to answer it, but that team is limited in its abilities.

    Starting over and rebuilding will probably center on food production. In this regard, the anarchists are surprisingly advanced.

    The “desktop regulatory state” might be a bootstrap.

  7. AAB says:

    It’s good that he’s recognising his ignorance of things in the world, but he’s gone a bit over the top. An eskimo experiences the benefits from using polar bear skin boots when he’s out walking: his feet stay warm and toasty. Does he need to know how the polar bear boots keep in the heat and out the cold? No, because he benefits from them. Knowing about the thermal retaining attributes of polar bear skin and fur is irrelevant in relation to what the boots do: keep his feet warm.

    The same applies to any technology, regardless of how advanced it may seem to us. It’s still just technology at the end of the day. Stuff that is used as a means of allowing us to do our Will. Whether it’s been manufactured in a hi-tech lab in Japan or Aunty Maggie’s yurt doesn’t matter, because it’s technology.

    If we want to get metaphysical then Joe Rogan’s notion of knowing about technology also applies to our own individual human bodies. As they are merely technologies that our Will uses to do it’s bidding. My kidneys filter out all kinds of gunk, but I don’t know how, or why it filters out this from that, all I know (from what I’ve been told) is that it does. And it’s irrelevant if I know how or why they work because I benefit from them. And the same applies to the rest of the organs in my body.

    We just need to know that things work rather than why they work. The ‘why’ is secondary in importance to knowing the benefits that a technology brings.

    Will comes first; questions come second.

  8. AAB, I think the key question is not why, but how. While I don’t need to know how polar bear fur boots keep my feet warm, I do need to know how to construct them.

    I’m in a place I think a lot of people are now – historically unusual – that I know why lots of things work, but have almost no understanding of how to build any of them. Any attempt to reconstruct technology might be easier than without that theoretical knowledge, but I’d be deep in painful trial and error for every step.

  9. AAB says:

    Not knowing how things are made (or grown for that matter) is a problem for people whenever they were born, although you’re right that it’s more true nowadays.

    19th Century fisherman on barren scottish islands wouldn’t know much about how their cotton clothes were made, how the looms were constructed, how the cotton was grown (how much water, fertilizer etc it needs), or how the dyes were made, but they still benefitted from them.

    At the end of the day that’s all that matters.

  10. Bill says:

    Another way to think about it is to consider the number of individuals required to build (or rebuild) a civilization’s technology. As time has gone on, I think that the number of people needed to make it work has been getting larger.

    For early man, one man could reproduce all of the items: stone knives and spear points, spears, making fire, finding game and wild carbohydrates, and so forth.

    By the time you get to 15th century farm towns, it’s more complicated because of the use of metal. You need to find raw materials, get them out of the ground, transport them, treat them and get finished ingots into the hands of craftsmen. You need an organized society to make it happen, possibly a military to “negotiate” for resources, etc. And of course many of those guys are married with children, who form the next generation, who feed them, etc.

    Today, it probably requires a high functioning national economy and a country with hundreds of millions of disciplined people to get the part that makes millions of iPhones each month. Being able to create a transistor in a lab is nothing in the context of a manufacturing system like China has now.

    If our social system collapses, it would take hundreds of years to get it back, if ever. All of the easy-to-find materials are in landfills now, in a completely useless form. It took hundreds of years to create the labs that made the advances, hundreds of years to create the manufacturing techniques, creating and perfecting disciplines like programming. People would forget the “example of our modern society” in a generation. You might never get that many people to work that hard and sacrifice that much for something that might not benefit them personally.

    Also, centuries of peace are needed. America was uniquely placed because of our two great generals, Atlantic and Pacific, who protected us while we grew up.

    Realistically, I think if we lose it, we might never get it back. Let’s try not to drop the ball, people.

  11. The Practical Conservative says:

    No, the 19th century fishermen still were likely to have knowledge of such things. They probably still had relatives working in the relevant industries. It took a long time for knowledge to filter away, much longer than people now understand or can accept.

  12. AAB says:

    Here’s one example from the Highland Clearances where Crofters were relocated from farms to coastal settlements. The Crofters didn’t have sufficient knowledge of fishing to prosper or even sustain themselves:

    The clearing of Strathnaver in Sutherland is a perfect example. In 14 days in May 1814, 430 people were evicted and forced to move to Brora on the coast where they were to become fishermen. Sellar himself personally directed the clearances. To force the people to move, the roofs of their houses were often pulled down and the roof trees set alight to stop rebuilding. He was later tried and acquitted of the murder of some of the elderly evicted tenants.

    For the people moved to the coast, life was inevitably hard. [b]They had to adjust to a new lifestyle and try to eke out a living from fishing- something most had had no experience of.[/b] In many cases they continued to farm on their small plots of land.

    and again from the same website, in reference to kelp and wool processing:

    [A]ll Highland landlords strove to make the most money out of the boom period Britain was going through at the turn of the century. With wool and kelp prices rising, the chance was there for the taking. The Highlanders themselves could not take this opportunity because of [b]their individual lack of capital and expertise[/b} and so they were at the mercy of the landlords.

    (Source: http://www.scottishhistory.com/articles/highlands/clearances/clearance_page1.html)

    What these examples show is that eight generations ago people had some skills, and knew how to sustain themselves, but that was it. They didn’t know about every extant industry, or every existing skills set.

    Further back in the Medieval period, it took up to nine years years to complete an apprenticeship in a Guild (any Guild, bakers, weavers, potters, stone masons, brewers etc). In many towns you couldn’t produce and sell said products unless you were a member of the relevant guild. Which means that people wouldn’t have had knowledge of making such things, because the guilds would have prevented them from learning about it. Division of Labour is nothing new, and Division of Labour = division of knowledge.

    European guilds imposed long standardized periods of apprenticeship, and made it difficult for those lacking the capital to set up for themselves or without the approval of their peers to gain access to materials or knowledge.
    (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guild#Medieval_guild)

    Yes most people (and most people lived on the land) would have known about their own industry, and some basic life skills, like spinning wool, or woodcraft, but that was it.

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