Would you rather be stupid/happy or smart/unhappy?

I was thinking about several quotes:

"I think only stupid people have good relationships."

"Ignorance is bliss."

"To be stupid, selfish, and have good health are three requirements for happiness, though if stupidity is lacking, all is lost."

"To succeed in the world it is not enough to be stupid, you must also be well-mannered."

We spend so much time working on our intelligence, and some think that's what makes us miserable. Some think asking why why why keeps us from enjoying life, enjoying people.

Even if you disagree with these theories and these quotes, please humor me for the sake of the poll :-)

If you had to choose between the two: would you rather be stupid and happy - or - smart and unhappy?

  • Stupid and happy
    Vote A
  • Smart and unhappy
    Vote B
Select age and gender to cast your vote:
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Most Helpful Girl

  • This has crossed my mind. I thought if I was born with lower intelligence there would have been less expectation of ambition. Now I don't care for money so long as I'm living within my means and I don't care much for material things. I'm working at a career that will involve constant effort to keep moving up. I'm supposed to spend my free time studying and I work so many late nights without any pay as my wage is not hourly. The motivation is supposed to be monetary but in reality it's fear of the crushing sense of failure if you don't reach high positions.

    But if I was born stupid I would be very happy working in any basic job rather than a career. There would be no pressure to achieve and no sense of failure. I would just work for the sake of survival and really live my time off. I'd know that come 5 o'clock I was free and if not at least I'll be paid for the extra time. I don't think I'd have the same fear of failure because I would have been raised more in a gold star for a good effort manner rather than why did you only get 99.5% on that exam.

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Have an opinion?

What Guys Said 39

  • I think intelligence is a very broad spectrum as people seem to only associate intelligence with one how speaks, quantify in the form of an IQ, or how one does in academic sense. However, the fallacy in those methods is that it discounts other areas where one may be considered significantly intelligent in. For instance, take a look at Einstein who was believed to be stupid as a child, yet we know was one of the most intelligent beings. Another example would be with individuals who suffer from autism and yet are savants, due to their exceptional level of intelligence. Of course there are times where many people (intelligent and stupid alike) do things which are obviously very stupid, but I would attribute that to poor decision making, and that my friends is human.

    To answer your question though, I think it's difficult to answer because people obtain happiness from different things. Some people obtain happiness from material, some by taking a walk in the park, and some are happy just being with their friends. To me, happiness and unhappiness is more a matter of perspective than anything else. Someone could have everything in the world, yet be missing one thing which may be the entire source of their unhappiness. Conversely, another may have very little and still lead a very happy life. So happiness to me is not a matter of whether one is intelligent or not, but rather how one chooses to perceive their situation.

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  • I guess the question comes down to how would you choose to exist. Would you prefer to be blissfully unaware or unhappy with all that you know?

    On the surface blissfully ignorant sounds preferable but I'd go as far to say that the smartest people in the world aren't entirely miserable. They may be more aware of all the problems in the world or the hopelessness often associated with existence but their intelligence also allows them to rationally understand that all the problems with life are simply a part of it and that is the challenge of living. I'd prefer to accept that there are problems in the world and being an intelligent person try to make it my goal in life to be happy in spite of those problems.

    If living was easy then what would be the point? If we were all satiisfied there would be no achievement, no reason to strive for anything better and we'd probably destroy ourselves and our world under our own stupidity

    I choose smart/unhappy

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  • It's not something you can choose, unless you want to become an alcoholic for example (a good way to decimate your grey matter). The fact you're asking this question seems to indicate you fall to the second category. Which category I belong to is left as an exercise to the reader.

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    • It indicates my curiosity. I was curious if people agreed with those quotes and theories and if people value intelligence over happiness, or vice versa.

    • Not in all cases, but yes, often higher intelligence means less happiness. It's because you understand more, and have more to worry about. There's even a book which focuses on this: Flowers for Algernon (science fiction).

  • Smart and unhappy, simply for the fact that if I was smart, I could easily figure out why I am unhappy and make changes so I can be happy. SMART ;)

    If I were stupid and happy then if something happened and I became unhappy, I might be smart enough to figure out how to become happy again. NOT SO SMART :(

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    • For the sake of this question though, you can't be smart and happy at the same time.

    • Well for the sake of argument maybe I lack the common sense to know I am unhappy. Sort of like those intellectuals who have book smarts, but no commons sense to apply the knowledge.

  • Actually, the awkward thing about answering these kind of least descriptive Black & white questions is that, in real life, things doesn't happen that way and thus we have to deceive our mind to take one side. The problem with being stupid is that when you feel unhappy, you can't get radical about the source and find a solution for it. So then you'll feel an ultimate despair. I always prefer acheiving smartness. And to quote my own line as a reply to some of those "Great" quotes,

    "Many a men, acclaimed to be great, in the history, taught greatness we were told. But upon close inspection most of them taught nothing but a tricky illusion."

    -aDz

    ;P The guy who said "Ignorance is bliss" must be an ignorant and thus taking a thought of an ignorant, seriously will be an stupid act and thus you better ignore that ;)



    So, the bottom line is, I don't have an answer for your question :P

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    • "If something is your own, why are you quoting it? Just type it. Quoting yourself makes you look like a arrogant, self-absorbed ass."- Some Random Tumblr

    • @Even if you disagree with these theories and these quotes, please humor me:

      Quoting myself was put in a rather funny tone. Apart from that, it doesn't matter if it made me look like an arrogant self-absorbed ass. What matters is the sensibility of the lines.

  • It's not what you know but who you know ... been there, done that, did a paper on this in college got a super grade on it, referred to the campus newspaper but stupid/lazy/self-involved editor in class got a bad grade so wanted nothing to do with it

    All this can be quite daunting to one's career, the smaller the pond in which one lives ...

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  • Ignorance is bliss

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  • It would be stupid and happy. People who have the most fun, live the longest in this world.

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  • I wouldn't call myself smart... maybe an over thinker. And I'm unhappy. So I'd definitely give the first option a try.

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  • Smart and Unhappy.

    I want to live my life to it's fullest potential. Being Stupid/Unhappy makes me feel like I settled for less.

    Thanks for the question. You just gave me a great theme for my 10 page essay.

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  • If I'm happy, not else much matters.

    I don't agree with anything you've said but "for the sake of the poll" I vote stupid/happy.

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    • I don't necessarily agree either, but it's interesting.

  • I don't think being smart is worth it if your unhappy all or most of the time.

    Plus in the end what does it matter how much knowledge you have in your head. Since we will all be worm food one day anyway and your brain will Rot. Sorry for being pessimistic lol

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  • Well I don't think being one of those things can automatically atrribute you to being happy or unhappy. I could be not smart but still unhappy and I could also be very smart and happy too. I digress but to stick to the main area of the question, I'd much rather be smart and unhappy than to be stupid and happy. I value being smart very much, I feel as if I have a better understanding of everything because I am smart, and that tends to bring me back to reality and it humbles me. I don't think I could live with being dumb and just not understanding things as well as I could, I would feel as if I'm not being true to myself. I think anyone who doesn't make the effort in this day and age (those of us in developed countries) to get somewhat educated is a dumbass because there are many people in the world less fortunate than us who would kill for a chance to even get a high school diploma.

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  • It's better to be stupid and happy but it's not my destiny

    I'm smart, but can't tell 'unhappy' - I just cannot relish in childish naivety anymore

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  • Is that a trick question? Lol! I would rather be dumb and bewildered than any of those combinations lol!

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  • Dumb and happy, you don't need to over think things, and you know nothing of the outside world.

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  • Stupid and happy if I'll never be unhappy nor will I ever become happy if I was a genius.

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  • i see stupid happy people all the time I wish I was in their shoes its seems easier lol

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  • smart and unhappy

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    • Why would you want to spend your life being unhappy for the sake of being smart? who doesn't want happiness out of life being happy is the best feeling ever.

    • Because you can help a lot of people by being intelligent. What would the world be like in terms of medical advancement if everyone was dumb. It isn't all about me..

    • That is agood thing good to know there's selfless people out there like you it would be pretty sh*t a lot more people would be dying of things. That is true it's not it's good to help others and not just think about your self all the time but there is times where you deserve to put your self first everyone deserves a bit of happiness in life I know we can't be happy 24/7 it's nice if all your hard work can pay off and you get something out of it in return.

  • A great feature of stupid people is they're absolutely confident they're smart so A is win-win.

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  • Stupid and happy. What's better than being happy :p

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  • Well currently I'm stupid and unhappy, so really either way.

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  • smart and unhappy

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  • Stupid and Happy for sure! I tend to be rather cynical in reality.

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  • The reason stupid people are happy is because they have no idea what is going on around them. However as far as I am concerned I would much rather be intelligent.

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  • Without a doubt stupid and happy. I'm happy so who care if I am dumb lol

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  • Supid and happy :D Ignorance is bliss :D:D

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  • Smart and unhappy.

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    • I already have the intelligence. My entire life revolves around the pursuit of knowledge. Clearly it would not be the same if I was an ignorant fool. Many intelligent people are burdened with perfectionism, thus making them unhappy a lot. I am the quintessence of smart and unhappy, and would never trade my intellect for eternal happiness.

  • i think a lot of the unhappiness in my life has come from being overly analytical, always analysing the way people perceive me, how I have come across etc. applying a lot of brain power to think about these things too deeply.

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  • stupid people are happy cause they live in an illusion and they are lonely because they are alone in their illusions.

    How can one be trully happy if he's lonely !?

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What Girls Said 31

  • I'm smart and unhappy and I'm really not liking the unhappy part. Stupidity and ignorance is bliss, and apparently being smart rarely has a happy ending... so I suppose I'd prefer to be stupid and happy. What's the point of living if there is no happiness?

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  • hmm, if I had to choose smart and unhappy (but I didn't actually vote because the subject irritates me)

    I believe as a race we were meant to be smart, imaginative, creative, passionate and full of emotion, that's how god or whoever he/she is intended us to be, we should be proud that we can do what we can do but the reason we suffer from knowledge is because of negativity, insecurity, stress, etc, but all these are self inflicted, our current society makes life so hard for smart people and much harder for dumb people, but dumb people are usually oblivious to the events tranpiring that they never react to any of it, a lot of people in my country are dumb and almost none of them are happy, infact theyre all envious of the rich, hows that happy?, but the rich and smart are also miserable, fame and fortune isn't as advertized and they suffer because of that, me? I'd rather be in between, why do I have to spend my entire life being either of the 2 extremes if I can just choose the middle? I am and I'm really happy and content while still smart enough to achieve my goals :)

    my quote for this is: "everything in moderation" and "balance is harmony", both quotes can be applied in every form of energy and action.., this quote is directly from yin yang philosophy and its natural for me because I'm a pisces, the natural symbol and mortal forms of yin and yang, a white koi fish and black koi fish, both symbolising good and bad in harmonous balance

    think about it, eating too much makes you too fat and risk heart attack or stroke, eating too little makes you malnourished and risks total body degredation, eating fruit and veggies only makes your bones and muscles deteriorate, eating meat only gives you gang green and scurvy, eating both at the right amounts keeps you perfectly healthy exercising too much shortens your life, exercising enough extends it, getting fat shortens your life, having a little keeps you energetic, drinking too much water makes you thirsty, never drinking water also makes you thirsty (lol this is true)

    it applies in all aspects of life, you can even avoid cancer just by following this ancient belief in everything you do, that foolproof :P

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    • also dumb people are usually more susceptible to doing bad things because they don't know any better, both smart and dumb people know the difference between right and wrong but only smart people have the heart to follow it

  • Stupid and happy any day.

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  • Stupid and happy. They often have a positive and yes attitude and seem to try new things, and good things happen to them. Then they say...boy that was easy! The smart person, thinks and then says...no that couldn't work. and of course over think things and give up. So yes, I'd take happy and dumb!

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  • Def. stupid and happy. "Keep it simple stupid" is my motto. :D

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  • Stupid and happy any day

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  • Ive always thought smart and unhappy, but lately blissful oblivion has been seeming pretty damn appealing...

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  • B

    Ignorance is bliss, true. But neither ignorance nor the resulting bliss changes the fact that you are part of the (growing) problem.

    Intelligence doesn't make you miserable. Being unable to appreciate things, lack of wisdom, lack of clairvoyance and lacking a cultivated (strong) mental attitude are what make you miserable.

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  • dumb and happy, you wouldn't know it.

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  • Stupid and happy, I'd just be oblivious.

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  • Ignorance is bliss, make me Spongebob please

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  • That a great question that bothers a lot of people..intellectuals and not..The reality is that we can't really choose our intellectual capacity.Yes sure you can cultivate your talents and mind. But you can't choose to be smart or stupid.I think some people appear more happy because of their superficial approach to life,relationships e.t.c however that's not always the real case...They don't really have the tools, and passion to hunt more difficult things and conquer life!I am smart + I will invest my passion to something meaningful, I will be loved + I will live happy moments!And so do you!And all of you in here who desire it!It is possible + yes you deserve more!

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    • I honestly didn't realize it would bother people, it's just a hypothetical question that I thought of after reading some quotes. But you're right, people apparently took offense to it, judging by some of the responses I've gotten, although I still don't understand why, haha!

      Anyway, thanks for your answer :-)

  • I would rather be smart an unhappy. but I don't think intelligence makes you miserable. Good things can happen to any person. And the quotes might be true in some cases, but they can't be generalized.

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  • Yup, stupid/happy

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  • I'd rather be happy over all else, so A...however, these quotes are total crap, I know heaps of smart/happy people and heaps of dumb/unhappy people.

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    • Yeah I've found that it is the ones who arn't as bright that are the less happy ones because it takes them longer to work things out and do things in life they need to be able to do.

  • Kind of hard to choose haha. Everyone I know that is really happy, is really naive. Seeing some of the situations they've been in because of that, I'd rather be unhappy and smart.

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  • I chose B because I'm familiar with it. xD I may not be "OMG HAPPY ALL THE TIME" but I can be content and neutral a lot.

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  • Smart and unhappy. I couldn't live with myself feeling inadequate.

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  • i should be smart enough to not get unhappy.

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  • well, if you really think about it, if you are stupid and happy, some people won't take you seriously, and you'd end up doing bad things to your life. But if you are smart and unhappy , you will be intelligent person, but you know lots of things so you won't try out new things. So either way it's a win or lose situation.

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  • Smart and unhappy. Knowledge is infinitely better than ignorance, and knowledge is power, after all. Who knows? Knowledge could make me happy.

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  • I'd rather be stupid and unhappy..I have depression and its my dream to actually be happy even if I'm stupid.

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  • stupid/happy

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  • That's pretty much me now. :|

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  • Smart and happy

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  • I used to be stupid and happy, but now that I am less ignorant and unhappy, it's like a never-ending feeling of the dumps. I would like to one day be smart yet defiantly indifferent.

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  • enlightenedness(smartness) and happiness go hand in hand for me. If by smart you mean academically, I will choose "stupid" and happy.

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  • I know some unhappy stupid people if your stupid you can't figure out things as well, you make poor choices, have problems doing even the basics in life I can't see how a stupid person could possibly be happy. I know smart happy people if they have a problem they can solve it a lot easier then a stupid person, they don't have to lean on others to get through life etc.. just being in the middle not being a rocket scientist but not the bottom of society either that would be the best balance I think.

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  • Stupid and happy...but in real life I am smart and mostly happy.

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  • Theres a study done on this. People who are smarter do suffer more from depression. Honestly, I'd rather be dumb and happy as long as I don't know that I'm the stupid one out of the group.

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    • Yeah I suffer from depression a lot of it is because I over think too much.

    • I was looking for that study a few weeks ago but couldn't turn anything up. Do you have a link to it?

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