Overcoming stupidity...

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by cmartinez, Apr 24, 2015.

  1. cmartinez

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    I was going to post this article in @strantor 's thread, but then I thought that although they're related subjects, their connection is not exactly a direct one, and I didn't want to be thought of as an inconsiderate hijacker either.

    Anyway, this article says that there is still hope for all of us! (or most of us, at least). I confess myself as being biased in some subjects (not being necessarily politics, nor religion) and I've sometimes had to pay the price for my own... how shall I put it?... shortcomings.

    http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20150422-how-not-to-be-stupid

    The final paragraph in the article about says it all:

    “Intelligence isn’t a score on an IQ test – it’s the ability to figure what you want in life and finding ways to achieve that,” he says – even if that involves some painful self-awareness of your own follies.
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2015
  2. MrChips

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    I would not call that intelligence.
    That I would call drive and motivation.
     
  3. strantor

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    There has been a discussion here I think in the past year about the tie between intelligence and success. I read what others had to say and I did some research on my own, and I walked away with the conclusion /opinion that being vastly more intelligent than average does not guarantee you will be anything special. It will not in & of itself make you more successful in any way, and it won't make you any happier either. Some of the sharpest people I know are miserable losers. It's drive and motivation that make you successful. This guy can attest.

    I think drive and motivation are equally, and in many cases MORE important and applaudable than intelligence. But I still believe in intelligence. I see a trend, embodied by statements like the one you quoted, that seems to seek to water down the word until it means nothing any more. In my book, intelligence IS a score on an IQ test. But just getting a high score does not entitle you to any fanfare. You must DO something with that gift in order for it to mean anything.

    It seems ordinary people want extraordinary people to be more ordinary, hence the watering down of the lowest hanging fruit - the intelligent. It's hard to say "being tall isn't about how many inches your body is, it's about seeing what you want on the top shelf and finding a way to get it" And be taken seriously, because that is a stupid statement; everybody with eyesight can identify the tallest person in the room, and therefore call bullshit. But you can't see intelligence, and if you can't see it but you feel threatened by it, it's easiest to just claim it doesn't exist. Or find something observable to paint over it, like success.

    I think the majority of the regular posters here could agree, we are smarter than most people out there. That's not a boastful statement, it's just true. Most of us are probably humble enough to provide the disclaimer that there's always a bigger fish, but still, you know when you're the tallest person in the room because you can see tops of everyone else's heads. Buuuuttttt.... its sort of a cloudy view and sometimes it takes your eyes a bit to adjust. I have repeatedly been disappointed by thinking I've found someone whose scalp I can't see, but after time I find they're little more than well spoken. I miss working at a previous job where all my conversations were spent looking up instead of down.

    I readily admit that I have problems with motivation, organization, time management, and social skills. It is these flaws that keep me in the realm of ordinary. There are loads of people out there less intelligent than me, who are happier and more successful than I am, and I envy their gift. But I am not ready to trade in my own.

    Sorry I zoned in on that one statement you quoted. I did read the whole article and the rest of it I totally agreed with. Thank you for sharing.
     
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  4. nsaspook

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    Exactly, drive and motivation will get you far but sometimes it will send you over a cliff too. Intelligence is the ability to see if your life goal is crazy and if it's not then it shows the best way to get there. A lot of very successful people are intelligent and some are just lucky, driven and willing to dust themselves off at the bottom of the cliff and try again harder.
     
  5. cmartinez

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    Thank you Strantor. Your answer is more or less what I expected it to be. And, truth being told, I agree with most of it.

    Yes, intelligence is something that can (at least theoretically) be measured with a simple test. And yes, we're going through a historic period in which people with special interests have corrupted the definition of important words in our language to justify their behavior. The politically correct fashion nowadays is to call bad things "new, progressive good things" and good things "bad, discriminating and retrograde things"... but maybe that's a subject for a different thread.
    What I found interesting about the article is something that I'm sure we've known all along (and that I think you've implied in your answer) and that is that intelligence has many facets. Traditionally, people have always related intelligence with mathematical, spatial, relational and memory abilities in an individual's brain. And now qualified experts are recognizing emotional control (I'd rather call it emotional management) and social savviness as forms of intelligence in their own right. The traditional concept studies our internal, independent abilities only, while the newest approach also embraces inter-relational skills as a very valuable form of intelligence too.
    Just think of the nerd-o-geek stereotype... someone who is very smart with numbers and/or abstract concepts, but is a complete idiot when it comes to his or her aptness when relating to other people... yes, someone like that could be called a smart person... but he or she could also be called a very stupid one.... we all depend on one another, and like it or not, need each other to survive... so our capacity to cooperate and coexist with other people is always determinant on our own success. Now, just like with traditional intelligence... emotional intelligence has also its dark side and can be used for evil things. But more on that later.

    What really drew my attention, as I said in my original post, is the last paragraph.
    “Intelligence ... it’s the ability to figure what you want in life and finding ways to achieve that,”

    Admittedly, I find the phrase a little too narrow and blunt, as it appears to dismiss all other forms of intelligence as either useless or not very valuable. But, laying that objection aside, I think that it does have a very valid point.

    This statement might seem like an attempt to lower the bar for ordinary people so as to make them feel better about their own limited abilities... but I find it to be a lot deeper than it seems at first glance... you see, I happen to know lots of people that do not know what they want... people that end up hurting and alienating their families and friends because they keep on doing things that do not make them happy and that do not make the people around them happy either. And all because they keep on searching for happiness (or meaning, success, fame, recognition, etc...) in things rather than in other people... Like I like to tell my son: having a BBQ in our backyard and fixing some delicious Rib-Eye Ribs is a great thing... but doing it would be pointless if we didn't have family or friends or guests to share it with (again, one could argue an exception, but in the end that's all what it would be... an exception). I see people all the time eternally chasing their own tails in their endless search for happiness, and end up destroying everything in their path while they're attempting to catch their personal will-o-the-wisp.

    Trust me, knowing exactly what one wants is an exceptional ability and deserves to be recognized as a form of intelligence in its own right... I do know what lots of the things that I want out of life are... but I don't know all of them... that would indeed require exceptional intelligence from my part... guess I ain't that smart... but it keeps life interesting anyway.
     
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  6. atferrari

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    Intelligence or success: the number of definitions for success or intelligence, is the number of people you asked about. For the second, it depends of the goals, and THAT is different for everyone in Earth.

    I agree with the last sentence by Martínez: ... but it keeps life interesting anyway. ¡Oh sí!
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2015
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  7. JoeJester

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    The ASVAB tests were developed after WWII to determine if someone was capable of learning the newer technologies created during that war.

    Look at the differing ratings (naval services) or MOS qualifiers.

    Those scores help predict if you are capable of being successful in the training programs.

    DOD sponored that test and the one given to everyone in high school to determine the national average.

    Even the ACT and SAT are used to predict success in college.

    I don't know if the changes through the years were ever tracked.
     
  8. MaxHeadRoom

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    Einstein had many likable quotes, I have always particularly like this one:
    "Remember a true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination".

    Max.
     
  9. GopherT

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    On the other hand, I work with some marketing people with wonder imaginations and not a clue if they can be implemented or useful or economically viable or ... By the way, they view me as unhelpful and I am the main reason they were not able to implement their innovative ideas. Maybe Einstein would have enjoyed their intelligence more than I do.
     
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  10. JoeJester

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    Marketeers .... No comment.
     
  11. strantor

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    I got the highest score possible on the ASVAB. My mailbox immediately started filling up with military propaganda. I reached out to the navy and they put me in the most brainiac program they had; Nuke School, Nuclear Electronics Technician. That's where I learned the difference between intelligence and utilizing intelligence. The difference between being smart and being worthwhile. Most everyone else in that program had graduated high school with honors, in AP classes. I graduated high school with scores all within 1 point of failing, in all the most remedial classes offered. I was a stoner and a slacker who slept through every class, only tuning long enough to miraculously pass a test, and I thought that was cool.

    I flunked out of Nuke School before it was even technically possible to flunk out. My grades were so low that even if I were to have aced every coming test, I would not have an overall passing grade. My failure was not for lack of trying. I gave it everything I had. We could not take our work home to study because it was classified, and the study hall was only open 16hrs/day. I was there all 16, every day. Most everyone else had no problems because the maths involved were all review for them. Calculus, trig, etc I had never seen. It was hopeless. I was hopeless. It was first time I gave something everything I had and failed. It was a lesson that's stayed with me every day until now, and it's the main reason why I'm so passionate about electronics.
     
  12. JoeJester

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    Were there remedial courses for you to get up to speed?

    I know I still struggle with the math at times.
     
  13. Papabravo

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    Inquiring minds want to know what they did with you after that.

    In WW II, as my father told it, he wanted to be a pilot with an engineering degree. Degree in hand, but eyesight was not up to par. So they said, "We need navigators", and he went to navigator school. After graduation, they said "Ooops we have plenty of navigators, what we really need is weather officers", so he went to weather officer school and by the time he graduated the war was over. He ended up in Rapid City, SD playing Bridge till noon at the Officer's Club and taking the rest of the day off.
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2015
  14. cmartinez

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    I'm curious too...
     
  15. MaxHeadRoom

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    I can relate to his quote, I worked with a couple of engineers, one was a math wiz. If anything could be solved with a mathematical approach he was it, but neither seemed able to conceptualize that well.
    I recently saw a exhibition with the works of Leonardo da Vinci, he was not formally trained in engineering but painting, however he is credited with "unquenchable curiosity" and "feverishly inventive imagination" as is evidenced by some of his inventions.
    Max.
     
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  16. Wendy

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    I don't think they had engineering classes in da Vinci's time, basically the closest thing to a scientist was a natural philosopher. Engineering was more ad hoc.

    Thinking about it that is where a lot of Free Mason lore came from, so maybe Master Masons were the architects of their time. A lot of buildings were as much by trial and error as anything.
     
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  17. cmartinez

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    In the time of the Romans, there were also war engineers, who were in charge catapults, civil engineers with specialties like waterways aqueducts, cartographers and road builders and designers. Of course, maybe the word "engineer" didn't exist at the time... I haven't really taken the time to look into that. What I do know, is that the word itself is derived from "ingenuity"

    As for trial and error in the field of construction and architecture, that is also true, but some wisdom was eventually gained through experience, and passed on as well kept secrets that were only disclosed to the highest members of their guild... eventually, these organizations specialized more in the keeping and trading of information and secrets through sophisticated social and professional networking, than in construction projects, and became what we now know to be Freemasonry.
     
  18. strantor

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    Well, I had already volunteered for submarine duty and you can't un-volunteer for that, my only options were a handful of submarine rates. I don't remember what all the options were, other than machinists mate and torpedoman. I picked Fire Control Technician (weapons systems, not damage control systems). It was seemed like the best civilian -transferable choice, with lots of computer IT courses and electronics courses. Turned out the training was a big joke, but I did learn the very basic troubleshooting process. A year later I was on a submarine, learning even more life lessons.

    My grandfather had a similar experience in WWII as your father. I don't remember the specifics but he joined, went through training, and there were no open billets for what they trained him for. So they trained him for something entirely different. Once he was almost done with that training , he got sick and they tested an experimental new drug on him; penicillin. They overdosed him to the max and nearly killed him. He spent the rest of his navy career in the infirmary recovering from the damage. He went home trained, but not experienced.

    my dad, too had a similar experience. His big brothers were in Vietnam, so naturally he followed. But it was all over before he got out of boot camp. So they sent him to just random training destinations and eventually just left him at the SEERS school he had just gone through. He ended up being an instructor there for the rest of his time.
     
  19. Papabravo

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    I never had the pleasure of serving. When it was my time they instituted the draft lottery. My birthday was at the end of the queue, so they never called me and I had other things to do.
     
  20. strantor

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    It's probably for the best. It wasn't exactly the optimal point in history to have enlisted.
     
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