Preface Updated

It seems that almost overnight stupidity has switched from being taboo to being a fad. Nearly every week some commentator in the media holds forth on the topic. I wish I could claim some credit for this phenomenon, but I have to admit it is more due to Forrest Gump and Beevis and Butthead than to me and my efforts. Still, stupidity is in—for how long, I do not know, but as I write this in April, 1995, it is all the rage.

Perhaps my influence would have been greater if I had done a better job of planning this book out. Unfortunately, it was not the kind of book which was laid out first with the results clearly in mind before the first word was written. Rather, it was a product of induction, with some forethought and organization but with inferential conclusions which surprised even me when I finally read it.

Not until I reached the last chapter did I realize I was really dealing with the limitations of science—the ethical dimensions of behavior which are beyond the range of science proper. A full understanding of human behavior will begin with psychology but must go beyond it and deal with metaphysics and morality.

Almost as an aside, I developed a model for the mechanism of maladaptive behavior. I did not set out to do this: the pieces of the puzzle sort of fell into place as I went along, so it was not until the end of the book that I realized I should make a statement which pulled it all together as I did in the epilogue. Since a reviewer—Dr. Thomas O. Blank of U. of Connecticut, Storrs—had such difficulty understanding the book, I have now decided to make a summary statement of the mechanism on page two. (Likewise, the reader can also thank Dr. Blank for the headers which now adorn the top of each page: he found the text by itself unfathomable and intimated headings would be helpful guideposts, so they have been added.)

The final realization for me as a reader was that I had taken Charles Darwin to task. Darwinian thought assumes that anything normal in life is adaptive—be it anatomy, physiology, coloration, behavior, etc., etc. Not until I finished the book did I realize I have challenged this idea by alleging that normal human behavior can be maladaptive. We all know that abnormal behavior can be maladaptive, but I am proposing that human behavior is a major qualification to Darwinian thinking because, by their very nature, behavioral trends tend to excesses unless limited by counter-trends. It may be that both Darwin and I are right—that normal behavior is immediately adaptive but at the price of adaptability. Perhaps if enough people take this book to heart, we will find a way to overcome ourselves and adopt a behavioral program set for long-term survival.

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