People can be boxed in four categories: Smart, Villains, Fools and Idiots. (1)

People can seek their own interest or not and, at the same time, they can seek the group interest or not. According to how we combine this way of thinking four different behavioral groups can be identified:
The Smart people are those who in their decision making seek their own interests and the groups at the same time. A good example is Mother Theresa of Calcutta. She founded the Missionaries of Charity, a congregation that runs hospices and homes for the sick, the forgotten and the poors children. She sought the groups interest while at the same time she was seeking her own interest. She did it because nothing would make her happier than giving wholehearted and free service to the poorest of the poor- as stated by one of the four vows of her congregation.
Villains are those people who seek their own interest and despise the rest. A good example is a corrupt politician. Politicians are elected to seek the best interest of the community. Nevertheless, some representatives profit from service throughout the years in public office. They disguise themselves as honest mayors, or congressmen, or governors, or even presidents. In reality, they are in office to enrich themselves, their families, their friends, and nobody else, greed and power at all costs.  Im not a crook said Nixon, Ive earned everything Ive got. Was he?
Fools are those who seek others well-being first and forget about themselves. For example myself, I have home mortgage payments to make every single month of the year. I work my butt off hard in the morning; I count my few pennies in the evening; I lie in bed sleepless at night trying to figure out how to make it to the next month; in other words, I sacrifice the best of me for the well-being of others, in this specific case, the well-being of my banker. Home loans, we finance your dreams, we finance your freedom said the advertisement. Did they fool me?
Finally we have the Idiots. These are the people who seek neither their own interests nor those of the group. For example, my neighbor, he dumps his construction debris on an empty lot just in front of his entryway, in other words, just in front of MY entryway. I could understand that he does not want to pay the dumping site fees, and therefore, he chooses to dump his waste in an uncontrolled site at the cost of creating an eyesore for everyone. That would be a cunning Villain. But no, instead of dumping his debris just five hundred yards further away, in the woods, where nobody could see him trashing the environment and away from his sight, the Idiot dumps his trash just in front of himself for him to see it every day.
Idiots are more dangerous than Fools or Villains. The conduct of an Idiot is always irrational, absurd, confusing and unpredictable. The essence of an Idiot is that he is not aware of his idiocy. This trait makes the Idiots devastating powers extraordinarily efficient. Idiots can strike and ruin your work unexpectedly and without warning any time. Any strategy of defense is useless. We must be careful; there are many idiots out there.
(1)   Carlo Mario Cipolla. Allegro ma non troppo. The Fundamental Laws of Human Stupidity.


  1. There's an old saying about idiots: you cannot make an idiot see he is one, simply because he is! So it is useless and a waste of time to argue with them.

    1. Thanks Pedro. My neighbor just cut down all the trees. No more shading on his lot. Be careful, there are many more idiots than we think.


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