Hero Image for  The Categorical Moral Imperative of the Dunning-Kruger Effect

The Categorical Moral Imperative of the Dunning-Kruger Effect

I finally found a way to convey an elusive degree of intelligence which is primarily compassionate, an idea which I long contemplated, but could never put into words as well as I can now, thanks to an insight buried in the Dunning-Kruger effect which few people are seeing.

When I first encountered mention of the Dunning-Kruger effect, it was a curious new statistically-driven point noted in a few obscure science discussions. Shortly thereafter, I saw my smart, snarkier friends begin posting references to it on social media. As far as I could tell, all of them posted it with an implied, self-righteous condescension toward stupid people, like they were saying: "See? Stupid people don't even know they're stupid! How stupid they are. Tsk tsk." Meanwhile, none of my more concrete-minded friends have ever mentioned Dunning-Kruger, and probably never will. It is as irrelevant to them as yesterday's rumors which are disproved by today's news -- a fact easily forgotten. So these present words are not written to those more practically-minded friends... but instead, to my smart, snarkier friends who have not yet realized the Categorical Moral Imperative buried within it. The imperative is as plain as day, once you see it.

The Categorical Imperative In Simple Terms

In summary form, here it is: "If the more stupid you are, the less you are able to realize that you are stupid, then we logically cannot expect stupid people to even begin to change their condition in any meaningful sense. Therefore it is up to the people smarter than them to reach down and pull them up."

Do you see it? It's quite simple. There is a Categorical Responsibility to help people stupider than ourselves whenever we can. Not doing so is not merely lazy or selfish, it is a meanness to ourselves as well as all others, which is what makes it categorical.

If "love is the greatest," intelligence is not the greatest. Hence, intelligence without compassion is not the real thing, or at minimum it is an inferior form of intelligence. In other words, compassionate intelligence is by definition "smarter" than an otherwise-equal intelligence which lacks the compassion.

Our condescension to help those less intellectually fortunate than us is not simply a kind thing, it is a necessary thing if we have any hopes to make the world a better, more intelligent, place. This is the how of how we make the world a better place: by being kinder to those who do not have what we have, until they do. Share the wealth, stop hoarding it. Anyone who does the opposite, for example, mocking stupid people because they cannot change their condition, is being ironically stupid.