Gianfranco Marrone: Stupidità
Anthropology of the contemporary




ISBN: 9788845272141
publisher: Bompiani
year: 2012
pages: 166


Everyone knows what stupidity is and can instinctively spot a stupid person. And yet when you try to define its essence, the problems begin. You get tangled up in complex questions which go to the heart of reason and human culture. Though discussed by many philosophers and psychologists, anthropologists and neurologists, writers and artists of various kinds, stupidity remains a mystery and at the same time a powerful spur to intellectual thought and cultural criticism. Thus stupidity is a mirror turned towards those who believe, or even openly say, that they are intelligent. The intrinsically stupid person does not exist, because it is always another, perhaps equally stupid, person who describes him as such.

Gianfranco Marrone reflects on the meaning of stupidity and the space it has in our lives, sketching out a brief social history of stupidity spiced with plentiful examples and literary and philosophical observations: Flaubert, Musil, Pirandello, Sciascia, Eco, Barthes. For, as Musil says, there does exist such a thing as ‘intelligent stupidity’, and if we were all alert to it, we might all be a little less naive.

«One look at the Facebook wall, one at the Twitter timeline, and one says to oneself: the stupidity of others must truly be the most fascinating spectacle in the world. ... Very often those who take the floor do so to point fingers, expose, mock, scorn, censure, condemn ... What? The stupidity of others. ... Getting out of this whirlpool requires going through: "You have to feel stupid, to be less stupid," Roland Barthes himself said. And it is the leading Italian Barthes scholar who helps us reckon with stupidity. ... Perhaps we are on the threshold of the antiutopia outlined by Marrone: "In a world where there are only stupid people, the stupid will no longer exist because no one will be able to recognize it”.» Stefano Bartezzaghi, La Repubblica