Interlude: The Search for Extraterrestrial Stupidity
Every intelligent being interacts with other intelligent beings through his actions; these interactions are bound to cause advantages or damage (in terms of material or nonmaterial gains and losses) both for the agent and for its counterparts. An interesting method for evaluating human behavior, based on the gains and losses caused by these interactions, was proposed by Carlo Cipolla in his essay on the basic laws of human stupidity. The aim of the present interlude is to verify whether conclusions of the same type might be applied not only to humans of our planet but to all intelligent beings. The basic instrument is a plot of the type shown in Figure 1. On the horizontal axis are gains (losses are on the negative part of the axis) the actor causes to himself, while on the vertical axis the gains and losses he causes to the individual with whom he interacts. If the interactions are many, as happens when we want to study the behavior of a given actor with respect to many others, the average value of the gains and losses in the various interactions must be reported.
KeywordsScience Fiction Fourth Quadrant Basic Instrument Extraterrestrial Life Costly Mistake
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