Considering I’m now at the end of a PhD in intelligence, this is interesting:
INTELLIGENCE? What is it?
Albert Einstein said that the only reason man was on this planet was to better himself, to learn and gain knowledge every day. To live a life without a thought to personal betterment was a life wasted. He also mentioned that for a human being to enter into an force of any kind, be it the army, navy or the police, completely contradicts human nature. We are not an animal who needs to be told what to do every waking moment. We are a sentient, cognitive, free-thinking being, capable of abstract thought and complex mathematics. At least some of us are.
We do not need someone telling us when to eat, drink, sleep, wipe ourselves and with which hand.
Most of the relevant thinkers from Seneca, Socrates, Wittgenstein, Neichte, etc have said at some point that men should associate themselves with people who will help better them. Also, to associate with people with whom one can help. Why would any rational human being want to associate with those whom he fears his inferior intellectually? Wouldn’t a person wish to be challenged when provoked in conversation? Wouldn’t it be better to have a lateral plane of thought whilst conversing with peers than to sit, bored, agreeing to the ranting of a pseudo-intellectual with no aforethought to reason or intelligence?
A friend asked one time how (more “why”)I know so much. I told him I didn’t (in the true sense of the philosopher) and tried to explain that I only know as much as I am willing to learn. I consider myself fortunate to have a number of interests and do not wish to be narrow minded when it comes to world issues, religion, philosophy, etc. The things I consider to be important. He did not read a single book outside of his chosen career. He knew nothing of culture, or religion or philosophy or indeed what was happening in Afghanistan at the present time because he was not interested.
Art had no place in this man’s life.
Now, I am not saying that is a bad or unjust or wrong life choice, as I believe life is exactly that: a choice.
He chooses to be diligent and thoughtful regarding his own career. One hopes he succeeds and becomes eminent in his chosen profession.
My personal perspective on this matter goes a little deeper. Whilst in essence I agree whole-heartedly with Albert, he was by no means the smartest man on the planet. It just so happens he was a public figure and his spoken word became lore or at least they were talking points at parties.
I believe an education is the most important thing. When I say education, I do not necessarily mean an orthodox route to a prescribed qualification. I am not interested in how many O levels you have and at what grade, as that is only one aspect of intelligence. A degree does not mean you are clever. It just shows you have an ability to retain information.
The way I believe people should develop their own intelligence is with a desire to increase their personal knowledge. If we are not on this planet to better ourselves, why are here at all?
In the case of one friend, he has the ability to retain information, the same as I have. If you tell him a fact, he can recite it at the appropriate time, which makes him look good to the listener. But you cannot live on metaphors and similes and smart anecdotes. A basic understanding of physics and the English language (for example) are important in your life too. It is this kind of lateral knowledge which I believe is important.
People are the same. They don’t care about knowledge unless it directly affects them.
What about the acquisition of knowledge for the sake of knowledge? I know so much stuff that has no direct transferability into my every day life.
I don’t believe in knowing only your chosen field or profession. I think it is better for a person to have lateral knowledge. In theory, I would like to think that if you were to ask me a question based on any subject, I would like to be able to talk intelligently and articulately on it for a given amount of time. My basic understanding of most topics is fairly good. I also have a lot of general knowledge which people don’t appreciate, but that’s because I hear things and remember them. Subject to levels of interest, which is probably the major point in this discussion.
There are certain things one learns in school which are supposed to travel with you for the rest of your life, but just because you finish school does not mean you should finish learning. The way I see it is that most people stop learning because they are no longer “forced” into learning environment, such as school.
Friends of mine have never read a book in their lives which does not have a direct influence on their life.
I read books which interest me but it also means that I am versed in many topics.
I think there is much more to intelligence than being a forward, confident person. I have heard a saying which goes: “bullshit baffles brains”. I totally disagree with it. If you try to bullshit me on a subject with which I am conversant, you will be considered foolish and you would lose my respect. I would prefer to acknowledge my ignorance than try to bullshit someone.
I guess the simplest lesson I am trying to present is that intelligence can be measured in many ways, and the many ways reflect one’s ability to learn and grow as a person.
If you are not interested in learning and developing yourself, you will remain ignorant to the millions of external influences around you.
Why would anyone wish to remain ignorant?
What constitutes a “better” person?
Do you think it is important that you know more than other people about subjects?
Is an open mind a measure of intelligence?
Should you be able to read things and then remember them?
Do you measure people against yourself? In doing so, are you trying to prove yourself superior?
Does a smart man feel the need to measure and compare?
Surely a smart man should not feel the need to measure. Instead, should he learn for the sake of his own learning?
Do you look for those people who have less knowledge than yourself so you can feel superior?
Does physical stature have a bearing on your state of mind?
Because you may be small, does this mean you would be more inclined to try to be mentally more powerful, superior etc?
How would you measure intelligence?
I ask the question above because I was asked if my attitude towards certain topics makes me a better person. For all my knowledge, am I a better person or just seemingly a “know-it-all” who people resent or look despairingly upon?
People shouldn’t be asking “How intelligent are you?” as different people visualise their problems differently depending upon their cultural, socio and sexual influences. For example: a musician can hear a solution to a problem. A dancer can visualise a solution to a problem and so can an artist, but in a different way. Everyone has something they are good at, which will involve their intelligence in a preferred manner for them. So maybe instead of asking “How intelligent are you” perhaps they should be asking “How are you intelligent?”