In comparing the states of being of stupidity and ignorance, a variety of factors come into play that affect situations of these conditions differently. Nonetheless, ignorance and stupidity are essentially states of unawareness, or “unknowing.” This is what they both represent. However, and as will be seen, ignorance is better than stupidity in virtually all cases. Ignorance wins over stupidity because ignorance allows for change and progress, while stupidity is fixed and immovable.
Ignorance is a state of being wherein there is little or no understanding of a thing presented. The thing may be an idea, a function, or anything whatsoever that demands some level of comprehension; what matters is that the ignorance is in place because the comprehension is not. With ignorance, something is missing, and the something is whatever is required to properly take in the thing before it. Stupidity very much mirrors this lack of comprehension. With stupidity, the effect is the same; there is something that must be understood, but the understanding is prevented by the stupidity. In terms of actual effect, then, ignorance and stupidity are interchangeable. They act as blocks or obstacles to realization.
With ignorance, there is a condition of an absence of knowledge or information that fundamentally creates the ignorance. More exactly, ignorance is not a state generated by inability or unwillingness to learn, but more by experience. For whatever reason, the ignorant individual does not have the knowledge required to understand a certain thing. Stupidity, conversely, exists in spite of any provisions of knowledge or information. It is a state or condition that cannot be altered by experience because its essence goes to a basic inability to comprehend, and usually in terms of what is unfamiliar to it. Put another way, ignorance is a condition that is open to change, and to be transformed from what it is. Stupidity is rigid and impervious to information. Its nature is defined, in fact, by its inability to be anything beyond what it is.
In terms of potential, then, ignorance is virtually unlimited. That is to say, once the ignorant person is willing to admit to the state of ignorance and is seeking to change it, the change relies only on the investment of effort and the actual degree of learning possible. No matter what form this process takes, the fact remains that, as any single piece of information or knowledge is attained, the ignorance regarding that knowledge lessens. Consequently, willingness has a great deal to do with a state of ignorance. Ability is a factor but, as actual ignorance may be lessened by degrees, the efforts of the individual are all the more important. With stupidity, there is no such possibility of expanse, or even of altering the state, because willingness is removed from stupidity. In a sense, stupidity is as unlimited as ignorance, but in a contrary way; it is unlimited in the sense that no influences or motivations can ever affect it.
As has been demonstrated, then, ignorance and stupidity are separated by a crucial difference. Ignorance produces the same effect as stupidity, or is expressive of the same state of “unknowing,” but ignorance is capable of being altered. With the taking in of knowledge, it is eliminated. With ignorance, willingness and ability are important considerations. This is not the case with stupidity. Stupidity exists regardless of knowledge, and is defined by this single element of rigidity. It does not change because it cannot change. In any contest between the two, then, ignorance wins over stupidity because ignorance allows for change and progress, while stupidity is fixed and immovable.