• If I’m not the smartest person in the room then I’m probably in the wrong room.  It’s all about ego.

    I tested in the top half of the top one percent in intelligence for this country. I’ve had a long career in a very intellectually demanding field of software where I’ve worked with some extremely intelligent people, at which many were smarter than me. I am smart. Very smart. I’ve seen smart up close. And I can tell you that being smart in one thing doesn’t automatically mean you’re smart in any another. I often found that my otherwise brilliant friends were completely uneducated or mis-educated about politics and held nonsensical and completely disprovable beliefs, but still argued them for years without moderating their positions one bit. From personal experience it seems arrogance strongly corresponds with intelligence.

    I’m sure there have been volumes written about the subject, but I suspect it comes from always being the smartest and fastest academically so the ego gets tied up in that. And humility is hard. I went through a painful ego-destroying ordeal in my mid-20’s. It was “humiliating.” But because I decided to sanely put my own long term interests of intellectually growing over the short term displeasure I came out way, way ahead on the deal. I had a much better idea of who I really was afterwards. I guess I “found” myself, to an extent (but that’s an ongoing journey). I only wish it had happened earlier in life. My friend compared it to what he went through in boot camp – they completely psychologically and physically tore people down to the foundation and built them back up.

    Wisdom comes from honestly applying intelligence to analyze information. Ego distorts the perception of the information and warps the analysis to fit the ego. If you can’t see the world for what it is and you can’t admit uncomfortable facts then you’re always going to be confused or deluded. And since most of the information presented is filtered or is analysis or spin, or just plain incorrect, the process gets that much more difficult. That’s why it’s important to understand the agenda of the source of the information. If you can correct for any bias you’ll be closer to the objective truth. That’s why trust is important, why it’s hard to build and easy to lose. Trusted sources are extremely valuable, but should continually be verified as well.

    Our society as a whole, and the media in particular, place too much emphasis on apparent intelligence and not nearly enough on wisdom and truth. History matters. Honesty matters. Facts matter. This is why learning common debating techniques matters – you’ll be better able to see the frauds and phonies a mile away. Straw man. Deflection. Ad hominem. Appeal to authority. Equivocation. Etc. Ideas stand or fall on their own, and when you can’t attack or defend the idea you attack or defend the person espousing the idea. What is said may be less important to how it is said. Understanding the difference between rhetoric and dialectic is important as well. Are you arguing the facts or appealing to emotion?

    So, outside of work, statistically I’m almost always the smartest person in the room. I would much rather be in a room full of people wiser than myself. Given the typical arrogance of people at my IQ level I’m far more likely to learn something important if I am the smartest.  It’s all about ego.  Or lack of it.

  • Welcome.

    This blog is to help me finish half-formed thoughts and flesh out understanding and theories about humanity in general and American society specifically, including contemporary politics.

    “For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.” – Carl Sagan

    It seems that understanding is a long road with many cozy side streets with some very inviting ideological homes with warm fires beckoning you to stop and come inside. I’ve stayed a while at a few, but I’ve decided the search for truth and understanding is more important to me than settling down for ideological comfort.

    Coming out of college I was a left-winger, parroting what I thought was truth from the edgy counter-culture hero types like George Carlin, Ralph Nader, and Noam Chomsky. Then I got a job with older and very intelligent people (mostly libertarian and right-leaning). Then I read Atlas Shrugged. Then 9/11 happened and like many people I ran to the right and became a conservative as I actually started understanding how the world worked. I gravitated more to libertarian ideas and the original founding as I learned more about the history of societies. People smarter than me have been pondering about these sorts of things for millennia and the more I’m exposed to their ideas the longer my reading backlog grows.

    I don’t know where my musings will take me but I’ve learned a lot of things along the way that are inconvenient to certain peoples’ world view or narratives and mentioning such things will earn you nasty epithets. I don’t care, I’ve been pretty much called them all. I’m not interested in their rhetoric, just dialectic and facts.

    “There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root.” – Henry David Thoreau

    I prefer to strike at the root of evil, but to do so requires finding the truth so I can identify the lies, for evil can only exist through lies. If you’re offended by something here ask yourself why that is. Facts are stubborn things.

    “To learn who rules over you, simply find out who are not allowed to criticize.” – Voltaire.

    Some people are further along the road than I and I seek them out for their knowledge and wisdom. Hopefully my words can speed you on your own journey.

    Enjoy.

   

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