On Human Intelligence
Gee Nyus i.e. 20/20 Brain Vision
(the relatively rare actual instance of what should be just normal intelligence)
The professor in a psychology class I attended in 1959 defined genius as the ability to see relationships, and I thought, "No way; it's too easy to see relationships. Surely, anyone whose brain works at all can see relationships."
But, after that, reading and listening to humanity with the professor's definition in mind and thinking about it, I decided he was right after all and, ever since then, this has been my view of the concept.
I think a genius is just a person whose brain functions properly - not in a special way - but only just as it should - just as Mother Nature blindly but certainly intended human brains, as they come out of the box, to function.
I'm assuming that the difference between so-called geniuses and other humans, then, is NOT that the geniuses' brains work better than they should but that they work, while the brains of other humans either don't work AS well or only work well in limited, specialized ways or in even more limited unspecialized ways. So, in place of the word genius, I prefer the phrase 20/20 brain vision, i.e. normal intellectual perceptive capacity.
My point once again, using the word normal to mean (NOT average but) functioning properly, is that geniuses are not intellectually super normal; they're just normal, while everyone else is less or more subnormal.
I have no solid data indicating that geniuses' brains are actually just relatively unflawed, while most human brains are actually crippled to different extents (except the literally amazing but well documented, maybe perversely voluntary but still apparent inability of most humans to see quite a few simple, critically important relationships), but that's what I think.
Edgar Alan Poe theorized that a great poet could have been a great artist or a great actor or a great philosopher or all of those if he'd wished, and I agree, except that I'm not sure about the adjective great. I think the only difference further subdividing those whose brains work is a difference in the amount and kind of experience and knowledge they've so far acquired or the subjective impression they make due to their differing personalities and appearances. Maybe not.
But, anyway, since the line between the minority who can see relationships and the majority who obviously cannot (or refuse to) is startling, instead of dividing mental capability into a long row of numbered slots, I'm theoretically dividing it into two conditions, the well and the unwell, with only the second, unwell brain condition physically further divisible, which you may think crude, but the IQ testers' attempt to sort nearly 8 billion brains into only 200 slots isn't much finer.
The point is that being a genius is no great thing, which is one of the reasons I'd never apply for membership in MENSA. I'd consider it pretentious. But it IS a great thing that so many billions of humans AREN'T geniuses, and I have no choice about my membership in the human race.
The Smartest Man In The World, i.e. IQ #1
The two dumbest last resort arguments often desperately flung forth by the losers of emotional debates are (1) that everything is a matter of opinion, which it too too obviously isn't (when you're right, you're right), and (2) that the s.o.b. guilty of winning the argument is not the smartest man in the world (or doesn't know everything), which is irrelevant if that (or that) wasn't the subject being argued and inept if it (or it) was.
Now, don't put words in my mouth just because I often win arguments. You HAVE my words on dumb argument (1), which I won't expand because those words (when you're right, you're right) are immediately self evidently true, and any reader who doesn't see that is hopeless. On dumb argument (2), contrary to the foolishly quick assumption of the loser cited above, you DO NOT HAVE my words yet, but you're about to read them.
I hold (correctly) that an intelligence ranking system finely tuned enough to determine who is THE "smartest person in the world" is near certainly IMPOSSIBLE, so I've never claimed the championship and never will. That's my actual very logical position on the concept. Now pay attention to my explanation of that point - i.e. to my actual words, which may not be quite so self evidently conclusive to you (though they are), maybe because they're new to you.
First, a pair of useful digressions:
First digression: I don't think I've ever heard anyone actually say, "I'm the smartest man in the world," or "I know everything," certainly not myself. So, the number (2) dumbest last resort argument IS as flagrant an example as possible of putting words in someone's mouth - mine for instance, and is therefore not really worth responding to, but I'll continue only because that's the point of this essay.
Second digression (to actually introduce the promised explanation of the response to dumb argument (2), which really isn't worth responding to): I'm an ardent women's tennis fan, and because I consider illogical the WTA's use of a contrived point system that ranks tournaments instead of players, I once devised a better system of my own and ended up with three number 1 players, one number 4, two number 5's, three number 7's (which made a top 8 impossible); and too many tied for 27th to fit into 32 ranking spots (the end of four logical flights of 8), and I still hadn't counted some players beyond that point who I knew could beat anyone in the top 16 any time they played their best games or even tried to factor in my certainty that several 5'3" to 5'7" players are obviously far better players than the highest ranked 5'11' to 6'2' players.
But that's a minor problem of ambiguity (being related to only a couple of hundred easily comparable people) compared to what I'd wind up with trying to pick the smartest human in a world of almost eight BILLION people logistically PROBABLY impossible to compare. My method of sorting geniuses and non-geniuses into only two slots wouldn't help, and the IQ testers' method of dividing the brain-stuffing progress for their age of almost 8 billion humans into a row of less than 200 numbered slots wouldn't, either.
Of course, accumulation of testable knowledge (though not capability) might be infinitely subdivisible within any ranking slot, except that different geniuses accumulate different kinds of knowledge, which may all be comparable but which are never parallel enough to compare precisely, and the concept of age-related general knowledge is too vague to be precise.
Even my guess that something like only one person in a thousand is likely to correctly answer a dozen or so litmus test questions that I think should separate realistic clear thinkers from the masses isn't discriminating enough, since, even if I could pose my questions to the whole human race and even if the responses DID accurately highlight the one-in-a-thousand clearest thinkers among them, I'd still wind up with about 8 million thinkers tied for number 1. So, to pick a single "SMARTEST PERSON IN THE WORLD," I'd need another test fine enough to cut the (very theoretical) intellectual top one tenth of one percent into 8 million sub-slices.
So, even if any good tavern debater with his wits sharpened by wine and with the help of cunning equivocations (like relatively, virtually, essentially, in the last analysis, etc.) might surprisingly find it just AS possible to actually single out the smartest person in the world as to determine which grain of sand is at the top of a dune, I still hold that it's too close to impossible to worry about.
I've told people whom I THOUGHT were smart enough to handle it as a teasing joke which actually IS true, and only because they brought it up (I didn't), that if there were a single smartest person, for all they or I knew, it MIGHT be me. But, I'm in most perfect accord with the protagonist of my only completed novel, who, accused of thinking he was the smartest man in the world, said, "The possibility worries me more than it does you."
with humanity? How do they stay so dumb?
(I really should say stupid, because it's appropriately stronger)
July 2010: I'm not asking what's wrong with the
media, because, even if they are both ethically and intellectually
wrong, I don't think they're making a mistake. I don't think they
necessarily know what they're doing, either. But whether instinctively
or cunningly, by keeping the public confused, they're assisting
and obscuring the crimes of the system they're part of. Better
to ask what's wrong with me. Why do I go on hopelessly explaining
and re-explaining to a stubbornly deaf race the lies they're being
told, the tricks being played on them?
But the best question is "WHAT - IS -
WRONG - WITH - HUMANITY!?!?"
Why do humans never get any smarter?
Why, after thousands of years of scientific progress, do they
keep believing in ghosts? Why do they never stop letting themselves
be sent out to fight and kill each other for the benefit and at the bidding of a few rich insiders and religious maniacs? How can they be so easily
taught to demonize the poor and idolize the rich? Why, no matter
how much they suffer for it, do they keep falling for every scam
their rich oppressors and their oppressors' media pull on them - including the obviously unfair, unequal, dysfunctional capitalist system that never has and never will work for most of them?
Why do they never learn their language well enough to figure things
out? And why do they keep reproducing and inflicting all their
stupidity and its consequences on more and more victims while
stupidly denying the limitations of space? What's wrong with them?
Well, for one thing, they're not philosophically
very sharp, are they? Even though they HAVE separate brains, functional
to a point, as philosophizing mechanisms, their brains either
don't work or aren't under their own control. There's no use calling
that unbelievable, by the way. It's a fact.
Thousands of years after the development
of writing catalyzed a leap forward in the accumulation and supposed
sharing of knowledge, hundreds of years after the invention of
printing jump-started the worldwide spread of available knowledge,
and in the midst of a computer revolution, which is expanding
access to every facet of knowledge, while people have evolved
technologically, and to varying degrees economically and even
socially, and in some quarters politically, it IS an indisputable
fact that over 99% of humanity have STILL not even slightly evolved
philosophically. Philosophy itself has evolved. To write
the documents on iammyownreporter.com, I've got to have come a long
way past Epicurus. But not only have not even 1% of humans come
with me, almost 100% of the human race
remain philosophically between cave men and the ancient Egyptians.
People who wear clothes, drive cars,
take high tech pills, do complex math problems, and can put on
a show of moving printed words off a page, through their eyes,
presumably through their brains, and out their mouths as real
words - STILL - seldom speak their own languages coherently
and, confronted by realistic discourse about any of the to-them
most important ancient human delusions, apparently either can
not or will not understand either what they read or what is said
Their entire pseudo understanding of
the world they've lived in for a million years without ever paying
any sustained coherent philosophical attention to it is faked
by aping endlessly rehearsed expressions and reciting memorized
slogans. But, you may say (if there IS a you out there
who can read these sentences), they certainly act as if they had
honest convictions. Sure they do, but it's an act, and even
the act of acting is merely copied.
Here and there there's an inventor, one
human in a thousand (you, my reader, I hope), whose brain always
functions on its own and who can articulate his own ideas or analyze
and corroborate the ideas of others - and, maybe, now and then,
there's a minute at a time when maybe even one out of three humans
can manage a spontaneous series of coherent thoughts about something
besides simple business, cars, sports, sex, cosmetics and celebrities
- but, for the most part, humanity's too numerous heads are, like
the Scarecrow's, stuffed with shredded newspapers and TV scripts.
No wonder they're easily brain washed. If it wasn't for brain
washing, they'd have no political, social, economic, ecological,
or philosophical thoughts at all.
In America, the insidious media teach the suckers that
brainwashing is something weird done by "the enemy" to their foreign
subjects, while simultaneously teaching them that nothing is so piously moral as "believing in" their own country's most blatant lies. Brainwashing isn't foreign or exceptional; it's
the rule everywhere. Human thought, including all appearances
of serious conviction, is NORMALLY the product of brainwashing.
What looks and sounds or reads like honest and even honestly conceived conviction is all around,
as blatant as commercial packaging. But it only looks and sounds
or reads like honest conviction. In fact, it's not. The woman on the
screen who tells you the best thing to buy for your family is
acting. The party hack who tells you YOUR candidate will END the
scams and CHANGE the system is acting. The Secretary of State
who tells you Cuba must "get its act together" is herself really ignorantly acting. They're almost all parroting each other - reading their assigned lines.
Logically, conviction should result from
hard brain work - energetic fact gathering, analysis and synthesis
that prove a particular conclusion is certainly or very close
to certainly true. So, finding myself surrounded by apparently
honest conviction, I ought to be able to assume that - wow!
- there's a whole lot of thinking going on.
But there's not. In fact, in the world
of human thought trading (the well-named market-place of ideas),
even conviction is sold and bought in the ready-to-wear
department. And like any other commercially packaged product,
it is sold by repetitive sloganeering, not by compelling argument.
The NORM is brainwashing. Brainwashing
is the NORM. I said that twice so you'd get it, the same way normal
humans get almost all their convictions. Apparently honest and
earnest convictions NORMALLY get from the shelf into human heads
by being routinely, relentlessly and conspicuously repeated -
by the media, of course.
So when I tell you that every time a
normal human "decides" to vote for X because Y isn't "experienced"
or "tough," he's parroting the media, I'm not talking about an
aberration. I'm talking about something normal, and, since it's
normal, examples abound.
If you think it's outrageous that I should
claim to be right about this and everybody else wrong, by the
way, you're wrong. Why is it outrageous? The everybody else referred
to believes in gods, patriotism, democracy, freedom, family values,
evil, the magical effect of gold dug out of the ground and re-buried in a bank vault on the value of money,
the impossibility of stopping what's idiotically called progress,
etc. etc. It's not a stunt; it's EASY to be right and everybody
else wrong if your brain works. After all, I DID my real brain
work. I DID think out my conclusions. And almost any logically
right conclusion arising from actual thought almost always contradicts
majority opinion, because majority opinions NORMALLY result not
from careful thought but from brainwashing. And examples are so
numerous and obvious, I don't NEED to name them.
If I were pointing out something UNUSUAL
- if I were claiming a THINKING people known for THINKING things
over had somehow been fooled about ONE THING, for instance how
and why they're going to vote on this or that, it might be outrageous,
but I'm not.
I'm pointing out that a people whose
every apparently earnest conviction is actually a religious belief
(and religion itself is the first elephant-sized example) are
OF COURSE parroting their high priests, mass media and each other
when they blabber phrases like "sustainable development," "property
rights," "our brave men and women in uniform," "the American way,"
"choice of physicians," "our precious freedom," "hardworking Americans,"
"political experience,""global warming" (until their thought masters get a hundred letters pointing out that the globe has been cooling ever since it was formed of molten matter and the thought masters send out a new phrase and they all start blabbering "climate change") etc.etc.; and I'm pointing out (not claiming
- pointing out) that they always conscientiously blabber what they're told to blabber, vote as they're
told they'll vote and piously buy "green" products and knowingly
sneer at North Korea, because they're well brainwashed by the media,
which NORMALLY write, produce, direct, and stage almost the entire
dumb show called human thought.
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