Friday, April 1, 2011

Gullible or Just Plain Dumb?

The dictionary definition of gullible is…

But wait: before we see what the dictionary definition of gullible is, let’s be clear about what it is not.

A gullible person is not the same as a person who has diminished mental capacity. If you try a gullibility prank on someone like this, you are the one who needs help.

Nor does it describe someone who is stupid. Stupid is a person with an I.Q. rating which starts just above the “diminished mental capacity” level, and has a complex mathematical equation of “age x boredom x length of years married x I.Q. x risk factor of possible consequences if stupid action is undertaken = what the hell, GO FOR IT!”. We are all stupid at some time in our lives. It may just be once or twice, a little “brain freeze”, making a stupid decision because we have not fully considered the possible outcomes of our actions. But then, it may be all the time, all day, every day. The higher the rate of stupid decisions made, the more likely a person is to be tarred with the “dumbass” brush for life.

While gullible is similar to stupid in that we all have it in us to be gullible, it is an entirely different beast in its nature. To admit to having made a stupid mistake is admitting to not having used your brain with due care and attention. Being gullible is to not even engage your brain in the first place. You can easily spot the gullible person in the room, standing in the corner turning over the piece of paper that has “P.T.O.” written on both sides. Gullible is the person who believes exactly what they are told, and accepts it as credible without turning on their brain and taking a moment to analyse the facts of who/where the information is coming from, weighing that up with a factor that we shall call the “blindingly obvious unless your brain is turned off”, and coming to the inevitable conclusion that THEY ARE BEING TOLD A GLARING LIE!

Now that we have established exactly what gullible is not, let us return to our dictionary definition of what it is.

Or rather, that’s what we would have done if the powers that be hadn’t decided that it should be removed from the dictionary because it doesn’t get used enough.

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