A few days ago I wrote about how one of the reasons I am here, is that I don't want to be on the "stupid" team, and that I feel angry at myself for having been stupid for so long before waking up. I later felt bad about that remark, as if I was calling everyone who is not moving toward a sustainable lifestyle "stupid". The other day Manfred Max-Neef helped me to put the word "stupid" into perspective.
He told a story of how when he was a child, he wondered what made him different from animals. When he was five, his teacher told him it was because people had souls, and animals didn't. He didn't accept this answer because he could not understand how God would be so cruel as to not give animals souls. Later, he was told it is because people have intelligence. This too made no sense, as he can look at his dog and see that even dogs make choices. Next came the idea that humans have a sense of humor, but then he read a study of a species of bird that plays tricks on and laughs at each other... What could it be that makes humans different from animals? Then one day, as he was eating breakfast with his father, his father told him "Try stupidity."
This, of corse, was the answer he was looking for. Only humans have stupidity. But just what is stupidity?
"The stupid act is the act you commit against all evidences"
"Stupidity is the most democratic force that exists. It does not discriminate... Nobody is innocent, we are all guilty of stupidity."
It's good to know that we're actually lower on the food chain. Personally, I don't buy it, but to each his own.
I'm don't think he was seriously suggesting that as the difference between humans and animals (he of course made no scientific studies), but it makes for a nice little story. And the fact that we are all stupid in the sense that he describes can not be denied.
I'm sure animals are also stupid sometimes, such as rats who keep pressing the button even though they know they will get a shock. But their stupidtiy seems so much smaller in scale and consiquence.
As for bein higher or lower on a food chain. I would guess that we are at the top in some respects, since we have the knowledge needed to destroy everything around us. In other respects we are at the bottom, because we are also the only ones stupid enough to destroy everything around us.