“Intelligence”, like beauty or nutrition, is defined according to historical trends, politics, availability, and political acceptance. If intelligence is defined as breadth of vocabulary, while vocabulary, as trend, is contracting, then some humans are becoming less intelligent. Those who aren’t have few people with whom to exercise that breadth of vocabulary, and so what would be the point of having it? Words go through a process of attrition. Not all words of course or we hope.

If “intelligence” is defined as knowing that when one feels cold, to go looking for shelter or to put on clothes, then, persons who have never had a need to be concerned with such things wouldn’t have it.

If “intelligence” is having a particular bon mot, historically referenced cliche, or play on words at one’s easy recall, then, it is guaranteed that such a professor with that definition will always be able to garner funding.

If “intelligence” is the ability to utter certain phrases such that all who listen are reassured of their own intelligence as well as their class standing within the esteemed audience then such members of the audience will likewise find their choice to both attend and pay for the ticket to have been brilliant and otherwise worthy of self-congratulation.

This, in my view, is why “academia” must be limited or else not only does it implode but it becomes “too intelligent” to come in out of the rain.

Is it wise to say these things? Or is it wiser to refrain from saying anything at all?


7 thoughts on “Intelligence

  1. Pingback: Intelligence –

  2. “Is it wise to say these things? Or is it wiser to refrain from saying anything at all?”

    Good question m’lady. I “served my time” at an Ivy League grad school for a couple of years and saw EXACTLY what you’re talking about.

    – MJM

      • I’ve never been but I have noticed a peculiar effect of Catholic School and that is that you guys tend to be very clever and a lot of fun. I’m reminded of what Jim Goad (another survivor of similar–also in the Philadelphia area) said recently:

        “…a female “lay” teacher—they’re called that because they’re allowed to get laid…a nun—they’re called that because they don’t get none…”

        When I was going to public school back then, in PA and NJ until I ran away to California, I also managed to survive.

        They say that the pen is mightier than the sword. A cigarette or cigar works pretty well too sometimes.

        I tend to stay neutral when it comes to the various schools. The “School of Hard Knocks” would be mine.

  3. When I see discussions of intelligence and it’s measurement I am reminded of this quote.

    said by Jennie Jerome (who was Winston Churchill’s mother, and an American)
    “When I left the dining room after sitting next to Gladstone, I thought he was the cleverest man in England. But when I sat next to Disraeli I left feeling that I was the cleverest woman.”

    Everyone I know who sees a very stupid action by someone attributes it to lack of intelligence. But everyone I know is always above average in intelligence too.

    I call it the Lake Wobegon effect.. it’s wisdom helps keep my ego in check

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