11 August 2007

You are So Smart.

I am humbled by the intelligence of others.

You are so smart. Your intelligence and potential for learning is limitless.

Stupid People
The few instances of true stupidity or lack of intelligence I have seen in life, have come from closed minds. A friend in high school had a grandmother the same age as my father. This woman looked as though she were 20 years older than my father. Her only activity was watching TV. That's it. TV.

I had a conversation with her. It wasn't memorable. She died about a year after I met her.

I've met a couple older women in much the same situation. Their kids grow up and leave. The husband dies. And then what? Perhaps TV is the easy option. They've been told their entire lives that their purpose is to raise their children and take care of their husband. Perhaps learning new things and enjoying life on their own simply doesn't occur to them.

As a precursor to making friends I like telling people that I make soap. I can always tell what sort of person I'm dealing with by their reaction.

  1. Most will say,'That's silly, you can buy soap in stores.'
  2. Some will say,'That's interesting, thanks for telling me in such detail, all about it.' (These folks will often back a way slowly in an attempt to escape my story telling grasp.)
  3. Some will say,'Neat, can I buy some?'
  4. A select few, will say, 'My god, I had no idea such things were possible. Please show me how!'

Group four will become friends. Group three will usually become my repeat customers. Group two are potential customers but usually only just so I'll leave them alone. Those of group one are essentially lost souls.

Those in group one often think of themselves as 'dumb'. People who think of themselves as 'dumb' make their thoughts reality. They do what any dumb person would do. Stop learning, stop thinking.

Smart People
I've had the opportunity to work with some truly remarkable individuals. They are awesome. They are always questioning always curious. I was surprised to learn that many of them barely have high school degrees.

I feel at times, as though, they with their lack of education have more curiosity and freedom of thought than I with my four year degree. As I was preparing this post Meredith sent me a blog entry from violentacres.com about how college turns you into cog ready for the corporate machine. Just like all your fellow cogs (um, students?).

Education or Stupification
As a young child you knew how to think. You were always puzzling things out. Why/how do birds fly? How fast/far can I run? Will the ball bounce if I drop it? Can gerbils swim?

We are all of us scientist from birth. Our instinct is to find out on our own. Catch the bird! Run till we drop! Drop the ball! Drown the gerbil!

In school we learn of many useful tools for experimentation. Scientific papers, statistical analysis, microscopes, periodic tables, equations, geometry, etcetera, etcetera. We also learn that nearly every question we had, has already been thought of. There are often even formula that describe their function. We are told there is no need to learn on your own. It has all been done. Here are the formula and here are the proofs. Just memorize them and take the test. We are taught direct experimentation and discovery is useless. We were taught to instead rely on 'common knowledge'.

Hope on the Horizon
But which do you remember better? The soft brittle feel of feathers on a birds wings as you attempted to unlock the mysteries of flight or lift equations?

Keep learning. Keep thinking. Keep questioning. Question others, question yourself.

Drop a ball and see if gravity is still working! Go on, run till you drop!



Hey, Kiddo... remember this is diversity, without it we would all be the same and can you imagine how boring that would be?

Liz@pursuitofjoy.net said...

adrenaline junkie,

I suppose. But sometimes I rather think life would be much more interesting if we were each fulfilling our potential and helping others to do the same.

From my perspective, 50 year old grandmothers with tv atrophied brains don't really add to the spectrum of life.

Thanks for the comment!