Friday, September 30, 2005

Kilts vs. Skirts

When I was about 5 years old I saw a Scotsman in a plaid kilt and asked my mother why the man was wearing a skirt.

"It's not a skirt", she informed me, "it's a kilt." She explained that it would be offensive to a Scotsman to call it a skirt.

Well that cleared that up -- a kilt is not a skirt.

I took pride in passing on my knowledge to other children. It was simple: a kilt is a kilt and a skirt is a skirt, but a kilt is never a skirt.

Then about 40 years later -- right out of the blue -- I had one of those "aha!" moments. I realized the truth!!


I had to laugh at how long I believed that nonsense. I suppose I believed it because my mother told me so, and maybe because it was going to offend somebody.

How many things do you believe because your Mother or Father believe it?
How many things do you believe because it might offend somebody if you didn't?

A kilt is a skirt!! Spread the word!!!

Proof of genius

Years ago, my head teamed with thoughts. Hundreds of thoughts playing tag in my head. Some brilliant. Some impossibly complex. Others were problems emerging. Others emerged, but had no name. Racing to track all the interrelations between thoughts. Millions of thoughts running...playing tag in my head...

I was proud. It was proof of my genius...

One day, I proved something...but not what I thought...

It proved I was confused.

Does your mind go fast?
Can you slow it down?
Are you happy when it goes fast and furious?

Can you relax at will?

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Who you callin' stupid?

When I was young, being more intelligent than everybody around me was all-important.

I played chess as a teenager. If I won, I was elated because it proved that I was a superior intelligence. If I lost, I was devastated.

I was an okay player, but I still got devastated a lot.

There was nothing higher than genius. Nothing was lower than being stupid.

Clearly, people would love me the best if I could just somehow drive home the point that I was smarter than them. How could they not love somebody so superior? Sadly, they often just frustrated me with their inane reactions to my efforts to enlighten them through my displays of superiority. They were so hard to understand.

Then at one point in my adult life, I went through something of a crisis. (Through no fault of my brilliant mind, of course.) But one of the outcomes of that crisis, was that I realized something new. A simple truth that amazed me. It redefined intelligence and stupidity.

But, before I tell you what it is, I want you to not get bummed out or anything. It may sound negative at first, but it's implications are very positive:

Intelligence is not the opposite of stupidity. Intelligence is the capacity for stupidity. The greater the intelligence, the greater the capacity for stupidity.

You can take my word for it. I know this to be true from experience, for I am a very intelligent man. :)

If you think of it. The people who have IQ's in the 80's are not so stupid. They may have lower capacity for many kinds of productive mental labor, and they may be prone to certain mistakes, but they tend to experience a fairly static range of difficulties.

But when you are intelligent -- when you are very intelligent -- there is no end to the stupidity you can produce. I know, for I am a very intelligent man. :)

Dr. Edward DeBono, who is famous for his work on the subject of thinking, once said that having a great intelligence is like having a fast car with a powerful motor. It has nothing to do with driving skill. A person may have a less powerful car, but be a very good driver. Likewise, a less intelligent person may be a better thinker.

Dr. DeBono was not arguing for less intelligence. He was promoting better thinking.

One of the reasons for this is that more intelligent people, having much more powerful minds, are often able to defend their reasoning so much more effectively than others. They can also defend their mistakes. Even from themselves.

Our biggest problem is our own arrogance.

But, why is this a positive message? How does this help?

It helps, because it makes it possible to see the elephant under the rug. Stupidity is not a crime. It's not even something to be ashamed of. It just is. And it tends to go up with IQ.

But willfully hanging on to our stupidity -- that is shameful! We can recognize it. We can do something about it.

And we can even start to fix some of the problems in our own lives that have baffled us. They baffled us because we believed a different paradigm. Namely, that intelligence is the opposite of stupidity.

Accept it. Understand it. Intelligence is no longer the opposite of stupidity. It is (among other things) the capacity for stupidity. And if we understand that, and embrace that fact, other lives can get better.

Spread the word.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Tea with the President

I had tea with the President recently.

He did not seem to be a bright man, but he's very charming and it is easy to see why so many people like him.

So many people make fun of him. I guess he's an easy target. He did start a war in Iraq. The Hurricane Katrina rescue didn't get off to a good start. He says things that seem to make no sense.

I am not here to defend him. But I ask myself why so many people feel so superior to him. They label him an idiot. There is often a crowd around the water cooler talking about how dumb he is. And not just him. Americans in general, they say.

It's legit to criticize him. It's legit to criticize all of our leaders. It's legit to criticize the US. And therein lies the problem.

It's easy to do. It's a piece of cake.

But my message to the world -- to my neighbors, and to myself -- is to WAKE UP!!! It's time to ask ourselves, "what makes us think we are so bright?!"

There are lots of idiots in the US, it's true. But there are lots of idiots in every other country, too. There is no reason to think that the US gets an extra dose of crazies, or psychopaths than any other country.

Maybe the President is a dolt. But how do I know I am not the real idiot? I am asking myself that question. You should be asking yourself the same thing. That's my message.

We are society of people who have a great attachment to our opinions. But as much as we value them, we come by them very casually. It's time to change!! Spread the word.

We go for straw man arguments. We go for the obvious put downs. We criticize other people, but do not question the things that we see as ours.

That's just the start of my message. Don't wait for the rest. Spread the word.

I lied about the tea.