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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Here's a debate I've had going on in the background of my head for awhile. I understand the initial obvious answer to the question, I'm inquiring at a more subtle level.

Why is being perceived by others as intelligent so deeply ingrained globally, and do you think it should or shouldn't continue this way in an ideal world? (Ideal...not necessarily realistic :laughing:)

Here's what sparked the initial thought. My mom's response to any of my concerns was that I was smart. Well, one day, I actually thougt about what that meant, because it didn't seem to be an actual answer. Maybe I'm smart, maybe I'm not...but what does that have to do with the price of tea in China? So, from then on, when I heard others use a person's "intelligence" or lack thereof as a reason or description, my ears would perk up and add fodder to the ongoing internal debate.

When looking for a mate, people typically list "smart" as a must have. When describing one person to another that they want them to meet, they'll say they're smart. When describing our pets. Our children. When wanting to insult someone, the first thing we do is insult their intelligence. (Idiot! OMG, they are so stupid!) BTW, I absolutely do all of this too.

For further examples, just pay attention for the rest of the day (or next if it's late) on just how many references directly/indirectly are referring to being smart. Commercials, tv shows, family, etc. I know this isn't everyone or even you, I'm just trying to get at what I'm wondering.

Here's the part I really get stuck on. What's so wrong with a person who isn't super smart? It's so looked down upon, that regardless of someone's smarts, it's almost a requirement for a person to defend how smart they are regardless of reality. :crazy: We, humanity as a whole, have not been very accepting of any signs showing a lack of intelligence.

OK, your turn. What do you think?...GO!
 

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I don't see anything wrong with people liking 'intelligence.' It falls under the same category as these characteristics too; nurturing, kind, smart, funny, creative, etc. It's just another trait that some people prefer and others do not. What's the problem with people emphasizing intelligence?

what if someone is funny? what if someone isn't funny? Your examples are different types of intelligence and likewise, there are varieties and variations of the small list of characteristics written above. Personally, intelligence is something I value in someone because I have an insatiable void for learning. I crave it. And when someone gives me information that I didn't know, I absolutely love it. That's all. :happy:

And just to add - that doesn't mean I look down on those I don't find intelligent. Everyone has wonderful traits and everyone has laudable characteristics, no matter what it is.
 

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Here's the part I really get stuck on. What's so wrong with a person who isn't super smart? It's so looked down upon, that regardless of someone's smarts, it's almost a requirement for a person to defend how smart they are regardless of reality. :crazy: We, humanity as a whole, have not been very accepting of any signs showing a lack of intelligence.

OK, your turn. What do you think?...GO!
Well... in many cases intelligence is looked down upon (Intelligent people in high schools are often insulted), and being dim-witted becomes the highest social strata.

People will intentionally not become smart or work to appear less smart (this definitely happens, especially among certain kinds of girls) while drinking themselves to a stupor, flexing their biceps...

Certain people gravitate towards respecting that... other people gravitate towards those who don't run away from intellectualism. I don't look down upon unintelligent people... I look down upon willfully unintelligent people.
 

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Well... in many cases intelligence is looked down upon (Intelligent people in high schools are often insulted), and being dim-witted becomes the highest social strata.

People will intentionally not become smart or work to appear less smart (this definitely happens, especially among certain kinds of girls) while drinking themselves to a stupor, flexing their biceps...

Certain people gravitate towards respecting that... other people gravitate towards those who don't run away from intellectualism.
My experience being intelligent is exactly what BT said. I remember being taunted throughout school. Misunderstood. People trying to cheat off of me. College was better, but I kind of have a love-hate relationship with being smart... It's good, but in many situations it isn't appreciated, and can be exploited by those who just want to further their own agenda (ahem, you *never* want to be the smartest person working on a group project)

I am glad that someone realizes the importance of being intelligent - as that sounds like your experience!

My own choice has been to try to fit in with everyone else, rather than be perceived as overly intelligent. Most of the time this works out well. I can bring out the big words and overly complex ideas when needed.

I want to agree with the OP, but I think we might have had vastly different experiences growing up. In my environment, being intelligent was rather frowned upon.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
These are some good points being brought up, as the debate is huge and tangled in my head!

I've experienced both good and bad experiences of intelligence. I can completely identify with the feeling of needing to "dumb" myself down. I also identify with being looked upon in a group as being stupid, or slow.

I'm looking more towards why it is such a prevalent focus in so many things. Not saying it's right or wrong - just...why? Does it stem from something hardwired from caveman days? Does it serve such a huge purpose in the survival of mankind that it must be that way? Is it just a modern emphasis (the science era vs religious)?
 

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I think it's human nature to want to be special, to want to be uncharacteristically good at something. We want to be smart for the same reason we want to be pretty, or funny, etc. It's just another "good" thing that makes us stand out. Maybe it's instinctual to a degree, too. Studies show that tall people and pretty people tend to be treated better. Funny people are often more popular, or their company is more highly desired. Being smart is just another way to differentiate ourselves, and differentiated people stand a better chance (at least theoretically) of getting what they want, including food, shelter, and a mate to help carry on their genes.
 

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Depending on our own views towards intelligent people, if it is positive, we feel we can learn from people who are more intelligent and smarter than us. That they would have the answers to solve the problems we face in life. If it is negative, then we dislike them for being a know-it-all or show off. We could also be emotionally invested in the person. A mother would always be proud if her child were more intelligent because people seem to equate intelligence with success.

While intelligence is important, it is one side of the coin to me. Personally, I am also concerned about whether a person is wise or not. Intelligence is rather common due to the standard of education today. Wisdom is harder to find.
 

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I am smart when I use my intelligence.
 

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What an intelligent thread!

I agree with much of what has been said before. I am a big believer in many forms of intelligece Interestingly high raw intelligence does not correspond to success in life.

In work raw intelligence is often a handicap. I would say many snr leaders I have come across are sharp rather than smart. They see some possibilities and turn quickly to action.Action is valued far more than thinking (despite thinking being a verb!). You will not generally get your manager setting objectives around you doing some thinking. It's only happened to me twice in 20 years

Like action, emotional intelligence is also valued.

When you can match those and raw intelligence together it's very effective. Often you have to keep the raw intelligence in the background. You need to present applied intelligence

So I actually don't think raw intelligence is valued in society - if it was people would be paid on how smart they are.
 

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I am cursed with appearing to be less intellegent than I am. This has caused a great deal of stress in my life. I look like a football player, and I have no interest whatsoever in such things.

I live in Tennessee, which I have heard is...don't know where this source came from, but I don't doubt that it's true...rated #48 in the US in terms of education quality and #5 in football.

So, I am more accepted for my appearance, but nobody expects me to be more booksmart than streetsmart. I used to use "big words" to show off that I was not as dumb as people thought I was, but I have since tried to balance in a little streetsmarts. This makes life in ******* town a little easier.
 

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I think we often think of intelligence as intellectual capacity only, as in being booksmart. To me, it looks like magic when a good mechanic manages to fix a broken car. It is just plain impressive, because myself I can discuss the finer points of quantum theory or late 18th century Russian literature, but fixing more practical matters is not my strongest point... I'd rather hire a skilled carpenter than an intelligent carpenter, but it all comes down to how we define intelligence.

My dream woman would be a girl who owns her own hammer and drill... just seems so... powerful :crazy:

That said, my parents always encouraged me to use my brain, and in school I came across as the smart kid. Never was a problem though, because from home I also got strong support for independent thinking. Luckily my parents had guests from all walks of life, so everything came out pretty balanced; one morning I was having breakfast with a university professor, and the next morning it could be some pennyless alcoholic. Didn't think much about it back then (they were all just people, and every one of them had a good side and a bad side), but today I'm eternally thankful to my parents for the enlightening of that upbringing. To me, intelligence is using your abilities (whatever they are) to the full.
 

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I think I would put intelligence into 3 categories:

1) Having common sense: able to easily grasp what to do in everyday situations.
2) Being book-smart: able to study an hour before an exam and understand all the concepts.
3) Being artistic or handy: able to manipulate their hands or imagination to do/create things in the real world.
 

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Depending on our own views towards intelligent people, if it is positive, we feel we can learn from people who are more intelligent and smarter than us. That they would have the answers to solve the problems we face in life. If it is negative, then we dislike them for being a know-it-all or show off. We could also be emotionally invested in the person. A mother would always be proud if her child were more intelligent because people seem to equate intelligence with success.

While intelligence is important, it is one side of the coin to me. Personally, I am also concerned about whether a person is wise or not. Intelligence is rather common due to the standard of education today. Wisdom is harder to find.
lol i saw that Vizier had replied and i started thinking that The Vizier would talk about Wisdom

I agree with him. I am not smart per say nor am i stupid but i am pretty wise for my age. I have helped many people with their problems in the last 4 months and they agree i give good advice...one said prudent.

I like that alot i am wise. that feels just right.
 

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I agree with you. This sounds like a few similar internal rants of my own.

I have a hard time defining what intelligence is. I know I'm no dummy, but I don't know if I'm exactly genius range either.

But you never know, this might just be the healthiest way to go about it. :p
 

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Intelligence is the basic component to continuing the species. How to hunt, what to eat, how to care for their young, teach them the basics and continue growing from there. Essentially every living thing has this quality although there's arguement on how their intelligence comes to be. Every person places a varying degree of value on varying degrees of intelligence...a bit funny when you realize they are judging according to their own level of intelligence. Oh the irony!
 
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My older brother is not academic. He's a mechanic and enjoys doing things with his hands rather than his mind, however his general knowledge on things is pretty good.

He always tells me that I'm smart, however this feels weird to me because I think we all have different strenghts and I would not consider myself to be any more intelligent than anyone else. I read a lot and often express a different point of view that my family may not have thought of and that's when they'll say how smart I am. (I'd like to point out that this doesn't happen very often and it's mostly my older brother that says it when he comes to stay with us).

So I think it all depends what we consider to be 'smart' or intelligent. In most cases academic intelligence seems to be rated higher than practical intelligence. I'm happy reading and being creative but ask me to learn some DIY or sort my car out and I'll turn to someone else to do that for me. Where as my brother is happy to do the practical side of things but has never been interested in reading a book.
 

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which intelligence? i assume you are referring to academics? and if you are then i agree that there is a very keen push for a person to be academically intelligent. we live in a society where education is pushed, valued, upheld, glorified. in saying that, the only type of intelligence encouraged in educational institutions is academics. i think society at this point in history puts that kind of intelligence on a pedestal. it is sad.

my father in law is a principal of a big successful private school......they dont have many kids there with learning disabilities (in fact they screen them out). my own father is a lecturer in learning disabilities........and i am the mother of a child with a learning disability. she is beautiful and brilliant in so many ways, but she will never be academic and never go to my father in laws school. it really bothers me that we place such great importance on academic intelligence when there are so many gifted people with other types of intelligence.

i cannot stand elitist attitudes about intelligence. in times gone by it was the person that was good with their hands that survived......and in other times it was being born into wealth.......we just happen to be living in an age of rapid information acquisition and the one who garners/grabs/gathers/grasps the most with ease is king of intelligencia!

sad. i'm considered intelligent......but i choose to flip the bird to that :tongue:
 

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...and i am the mother of a child with a learning disability. she is beautiful and brilliant in so many ways, but she will never be academic and never go to my father in laws school. it really bothers me that we place such great importance on academic intelligence when there are so many gifted people with other types of intelligence.

i cannot stand elitist attitudes about intelligence. in times gone by it was the person that was good with their hands that survived......and in other times it was being born into wealth.......we just happen to be living in an age of rapid information acquisition and the one who garners/grabs/gathers/grasps the most with ease is king of intelligencia!

sad. i'm considered intelligent......but i choose to flip the bird to that :tongue:
I'm sorry to hear that your daughter has a learning disability. It is a shame that people with learning disabilities should be discriminated against. But intelligence isn't the only measure of a person and it isn't always the best measure. Character is far more important. I'm sure your daughter will grow up to be a fine young lady with you to guide her. More importantly, she may just have greater compassion for others and gain greater wisdom from the challenges she has in life. All the better to help others with. :happy:
 
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