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07 February 2007 — Scattered Thoughts on Intelligence (6)

In a dark, secret corner of the internet, Tammy has dug herself in deep by choosing to rate her siblings in order of intelligence. Naturally she rates herself first on the list. I will not be so brazen, but I will rate my children cats in order of intelligence: Toto, Meatball, Simon, Nemo.

I believe one of Toto's problems (and lordy does she have problems) is that she's too damn smart. Ever since she was a kitten, she's shown signs of extraordinary cat intellect. At one time she would eagerly play fetch. I had never seen a cat do this, though I'd read about it. It was great fun. Once or twice she was able to open the bathroom door while shut inside. She's always had an uncanny ability to guess our intentions, and to convey her own.

Nemo's at the opposite end of the spectrum. He's a dopey, cross-eyed freak, but he's a sweetie. He's so dumb that the birds and the squirrels mock him. I once watched three squirrels torment him around the base of the walnut tree.

I think it's dangerous to start rating how smart you think people are. We each think in different ways. There are different sorts of intelligence. I'm smart about some things, but woefully ignorant of others. I believe that my brothers and I are of roughly equal intelligence, but I doubt we'd test out as such. We each have different strengths. One of mine happens to be standardized tests. But Tony's better at dealing with people, and Jeff's better and dealing with space and numbers.

I have a tendency to think of others as brilliant who are capable of performing feats of which I am incapable. For example, when I first met her, I thought that Pam was the smartest person in the world. When I met Joel, I thought he was. Both are smart, but I came to realize that what I really admired was their ability to think and act in realms that were foreign to me.

I used to love to get together with Andrew and Dana. (Sadly those days seem to be gone.) Each of us is pretty bright, but each of us is borderline autistic in our his way. This leads to some entertaining discussions and arguments as we're each convinced of our rectitude, unwilling to yield to another's viewpoint. (Dana, in particular, is set in her ways. In our more than fifteen years of friendship, I've never seen her alter a viewpoint.) We each recognize that the three of us are pretty smart. It's just that each of us thinks that he's a little smarter than the other two.

Ultimately intelligence is overrated. Which would you rather be: dumb and happy, or smart and miserable?

On this day at foldedspace.org

2006Four Things   In which I respond to an internet meme, listing four favorite things in various categories.

2005Sidetracked   In which I move all of my books from upstairs to downstairs.

2004Stop! I Will Tell You What to Do   In which Kris isn't bossy — she just likes to tell me what to do.

2003Double Habanero Beef Jerkey   In which Tony brings me some jerkey of death. In which Harrison shouts a "shark charge!" In which our investment club loses money.

2002The Dream of the Red House   In which I have a very strange dream.

On 07 February 2007 (08:27 AM), Nick said:

Signing up for Verizon Fios has been the worst experience.......Phone, Internet & TV......1/29 they came out to run the fiber. They hooked up phone & internet (after 6 hrs) The system was down to active the boxes for TV. The tech said no problem schedule an appointment & I will come out first thing in the morning to activate the TVs. It has been two weeks, two additional days off & about three hours on the phone in a black hole. Still no TV service!!!! My next step is to take the two boxes and leave them in the street... I wonder if they would even care..

I never thought I would say it but stay with Comcast!!!! Verizon SUCKS!!!!!!!!


On 07 February 2007 (12:16 PM), alan bluehole said:

In a dark, secret corner of the internet, Tammy has dug herself in deep by choosing to rate her siblings in order of intelligence. Naturally she rates herself first on the list.

OK. Now that's completely unfair of you to not provide a link.

On 07 February 2007 (12:25 PM), Jeff said:

A ranking of my children & pets:

1) Noah (4-year-old son)
2) Barney (Smart old dog, but has trouble with new tricks)
3) Emily (Almost 1-year-old daughter -- will pass Barney soon)
4) Murphy (May be a smarter dog than we think, but currently relying on Barney's brain)

On 07 February 2007 (12:40 PM), mrs darling said:

I'm hiding from Captain Hook in the dark secret corner of the internet. :)

On 09 February 2007 (06:46 AM), Joel said:

I happened to see a classmate's score on a standardized test a while back- I was surprised that he'd done very well and was top of the class. I had always thought of him as something of a dullard.

Now, whenever we're discussing a case or a disease I'm on the alert for his brilliance, trying to ferret out his secret inner smart guy.

I guess it's a don't-judge-a-book kind of moment, but in our interactions with people, how else can we judge them? In a job interview setting, I wouldn't rate this guy that highly, and maybe my judgment is correct; maybe he's just good at that kind of test. Or maybe I'm blinded by the fact that he just doesn't look smart.

On 10 February 2007 (01:35 PM), Mom said:

The jury is out on the intelligence of my cats. Socks is still too young for me to know how smart she is ultimately going to be, while Silver has flashes of smartness and then at other times seems quite dumb. Stevie is probably the smartest of the three (she is, after all, Colors' daughter), as her gifts at getting out of the house when the old back door was still here attest. However, Silver found his ways of doing that as well.

As for my children, I believe they are each brilliant in their own way, as you fairly well analyzed, J.D.