Are you smart or dumb? What is intelligence?

Ed (@orange) 7 years, 8 months ago

What’s smart and what’s dumb? What’s the difference between them? Is your intelligence fixed or fluid?

One guy does well in school, devotes his life to the academic system. Becomes a master in his field and furthers the progress of mankind. He never married or had kids, dies feeling like he missed something.

Other guy dropped out of school at 15, became a carpenter. Spent his life enjoying it and travelling across the world. Met the love of his life and had kids, doesn’t think about what he might have missed.

Who’s smart and who’s dumb?

I don’t think there is some inherent quality in humans that make them smart or dumb in reality. You make good or bad choices. You can be conscious about this or not. The more experienced you are, the better choices you will make. The more (applicable) knowledge you have, the better choices you will make. The more passion you give yourself, the more you’ll do with your life. The less time you waste, the more you can do. Progress is made step by step.

@martjn While we’re closing the “superficial” threads why don’t we get rid of the haircut one OR the one with the guy trying to buy drugs (off HE members)? I mean yeah, his post was short… But I for one, like not having to sift through the endless waffle to touch upon something valuable…

January 16, 2015 at 3:03 pm
Martijn Schirp (112,780)A (@martijn) 7 years, 8 months ago ago

this topic is closed.

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Will (27) (@TheBigElectron) 7 years, 8 months ago ago

To me, “intelligent or unintelligent” is a different question from “smart or dumb.”

Intelligence is to the mind as fitness is to the body. Some of it is determined by genetics, but most of it is determined by how one uses his mind. The mind is exercised and develops according to how one uses it, just like the body (although the processes involved are different).
Also, there are many different areas of intelligence. For instance, I consider myself to be intelligent in the field of rhetoric, but not so much in the field of athletics. Again, the fitness analogy works well: a power lifter’s fitness is very different from a marathon runner’s.

“Smart” and “dumb,” on the other hand, refer to a person’s ability to make “the best decision” in various circumstances. I’ve found that, as I’ve matured over my life, I’ve less and less use for the “smart or dumb” concept, and I will explain why. A “smarter” person will generally make better decisions than a “dumber” person. But, it is impossible know that one decision is better than another, unless one also knows the outcomes of making either decision. And, in practice, one never knows the outcome of any choice at the time when the decision is made. It’s not until after the decision has been made, and the consequences manifested, that you can say for certain whether that decision was “smart” or “dumb.”
To illustrate: among educated people, it is often considered “dumb” for someone to play the lottery. I’ve even heard it said that “the lottery is nothing but a tax on stupidity.” But, if someone buys a lottery ticket and hits the jackpot, could anyone say that it was “dumb” of him to have bought that winning ticket? Of course not.

P.S. You tagged this discussion “penis enlargement,” whatup with that?

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Ed (40) (@orange) 7 years, 8 months ago ago

Thanks for your input, I found it insightful and interesting.

Lol I tagged it that because I was wondering if anybody would notice.

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Ed (40) (@orange) 7 years, 8 months ago ago

I would argue that it’s not “impossible know that one decision is better than another”.

Am I going to exercise or eat cake? Well what’s going to benefit my life more? obviously exercise. It’s the “smart” choice.

If you don’t believe in free will then you are relieving yourself of all responsibility to make the right decision. Somebody who watches to the results of his actions will get a lot further in life then somebody who shrugs it off as “destiny”.

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Will (27) (@TheBigElectron) 7 years, 8 months ago ago

Yeah, your cake-vs-exercise example makes sense, but where I’m coming from is basically just stating that we can’t know the future for sure.

Really, we can only say that it is “probably,” “generally,” or “usually” going to be more beneficial for your life to exercise than it will be to eat cake.
But, on a case-by-case, single-decision basis, we NEVER know for sure. This is because we use inductive, rather than deductive, reasoning in order to make decisions. Inductive reasoning is never completely conclusive; it can only suggest up to a high degree of probability.
To illustrate: suppose you choose to eat cake instead of exercise. As you are eating your cake, a stranger approaches you and asks you for a bite. Being a generous person, you give the stranger a bite of your cake. The stranger then says, “Thank you, that is the only kind thing anyone has done for me this week. By the way my name is Bill Gates, here’s my number, call me if you ever need a favor.”
Now your decision to eat cake has led to you making a powerful friend. Acquiring this connection is (at least in my view) way more beneficial to your life than a single session of exercise would’ve been.
If, on the other hand, you’d chosen to exercise, not only would this encounter not take place, but you would also have no way of ever knowing that you missed out on the opportunity. Thus, you would return home from your exercise session THINKING that you made the “best choice” when you chose to exercise instead of eat cake, completely oblivious to the fact that you missed out on a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to eat cake.

I realize that this example is highly unlikely, but I’m just trying to illustrate a simple truth: that one can’t possibly know the outcome of having made a choice which one never made.

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Almeida (304) (@xetado) 7 years, 8 months ago ago

Being intelligent or unintelligent, smart or dumb, it really depends on what criteria you are judging someone. Take a look: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theory_of_multiple_intelligences

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Mike Wuest (510) (@mikeyw829) 7 years, 8 months ago ago

There are different types of intelligence. One type of intelligence is logical intelligence (for lack of a better term). I’d define this type of intelligence as the type that can solve math problems or run a business. Your first example is this guy.

The second type of intelligence is big picture awareness. I’d define it as the ability to see yourself from an external perspective within the context of your environment and culture. You have your head up towards the horizon, instead of looking down at the ground, and you have a much broader perspective on reality. It’s more of a detached perspective. Some philosophical types have this intelligence. These people are able to cut through propaganda and rhetoric, instead of being controlled by it.

People who have the first type of intelligence usually lack the second. That’s why their intelligence is usually usurped by some agenda that they don’t realize they are apart of. Kind of like how someone who is intelligent enough to figure out how to split an atom uses that intelligence to create an atomic bomb. They end up using their logical intelligence in the service of some sort of ideology.

People with big picture awareness many times lack logical intelligence. They end up realizing that society isn’t something they want to participate in (which is intelligent), but then usually don’t end up doing anything else.

I think it’s important to utilize both.

These are just two examples though. There is also mind-body intelligence (ability to use your body effectively and with coordination), for example.

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Ellie (1,363)M (@tangledupinplaid21) 7 years, 8 months ago ago

I prefer to think of it less as a division between smart and stupid and more like everyone has different types of intelligence (good at reading emotions, smart with numbers, musically oriented, etc). This way you can’t really split second judge someone as stupid and remain open to learning from different people

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Anonymous (4) (@) 7 years, 8 months ago ago

So perhaps intelligence is an evaluation of to who(including ourselves) or what we are most obedient.

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satoaus (6) (@satoaus) 7 years, 8 months ago ago

To me, being smart is knowing a lot of information. Intelligence is being able to understand and make sense of that information/knowledge.

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Anonymous (4) (@) 7 years, 8 months ago ago

But also, once having made sense, knowing how to apply it in a way that help and thus is accepred by everyone.

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