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Intelligence, Knowledge, and Wisdom (oh my!)
Posted: 08 July 2014 12:46 PM   [ Ignore ]
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So I’ve been thinking more about IQ again lately. Back in my religious fanatical days, I was accepted into Mensa (top 2% IQ group). They have private forums there and I began posting all my “intellectually genius” ideas about Christianity and how I wanted to restore it to its original splendor. I can still say I was logical in my approach even if not “factual” grin. I was surprised to find that the “intellectuals” there didn’t meet my well-reasoned arguments with open arms. After some discourse, I found them to be not much different from any other group of individuals online agreeing, disagreeing, and bickering full of emotionalism. Perhaps I didn’t give them enough time…? But then I lost my faith. In theory, my IQ didn’t change during this time yet my knowledge, and perhaps my wisdom, did. What, then, is intelligence? Is it even useful? Is it intelligence that led me to change yet didn’t dictate my current beliefs? A group like Mensa seems like a mixed bag with many people of differing opinions and surprisingly many lacking logical abilities. And yet, when I look at CFI’s posts and opinions, I feel like there’s more belonging. More agreement. Is this REAL intelligence? Perhaps intelligence is looking at facts rather than feelings? Perhaps intelligence is grounded in recognizing cause and effect and dismissing the supernatural? Mensa seems to measure it as the ability to decipher patterns, find similarities, and remember stories. With real intelligence, however, I’d expect more agreement on important matters! Is everyone here just as full of differing opinions too? Can intelligence really be measured? Can one be theistic and intelligent simultaneously (no offense intended!)? Could we say it’s a measure of Intelligence, Knowledge, or Wisdom that leads one away from the supernatural and into reality? Can any of this be measured for things like picking a president? I dunno, just kinda spouting out random thoughts and ideas. Feel free to take it wherever it leads grin.

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Posted: 08 July 2014 05:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Perhaps there are different kinds of intelligence, different kinds of knowledge, different kinds of wisdom? No one has all of all of them. We’re actually all a mixed bag of all kinds of different things. How does Mensa define intelligence?

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Posted: 08 July 2014 06:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Mensa says, “Simply put, however, intelligence is the ability to learn about, learn from, understand, and interact with one’s environment.” Kinda vague, really. I would like to think, however, that getting a group of sufficiently intelligent people together would yield congruence of opinion after a while. They’d be intelligent enough to recognize cause and effect, facts and fallacies, beliefs and opinions, and make logical conclusions based upon them all. At least for the things that have evidence and double-blind studies, etc. Some things might not be so cut and dry and perhaps experience and feeling would play a larger role, but they’d still be intelligent enough to agree that there isn’t enough data and an opinion from anecdotal evidence is the best we got. That’s kind of what I expected out of Mensa. Didn’t seem that way to me though. Perhaps 2% is too low a threshold. Still pretty common, if you think about it. 1 in 50 people. That’s like a few people in Walmart at any given point tongue laugh. Still, these are “above average” supposedly in intelligence. Seems weird that it would be such a huge mixed bag. Some, such as myself, that was crazy religious zealot trying to give my life away to serve an unseen mythology, and some that ... well… aren’t. How can intelligence reach such vastly different conclusions? Intelligence without knowledge or wisdom? Kinda weird.

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Posted: 08 July 2014 06:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Code Monkey - 08 July 2014 12:46 PM

So I’ve been thinking more about IQ again lately. Back in my religious fanatical days, I was accepted into Mensa (top 2% IQ group). They have private forums there and I began posting all my “intellectually genius” ideas about Christianity and how I wanted to restore it to its original splendor. I can still say I was logical in my approach even if not “factual” grin. I was surprised to find that the “intellectuals” there didn’t meet my well-reasoned arguments with open arms. After some discourse, I found them to be not much different from any other group of individuals online agreeing, disagreeing, and bickering full of emotionalism. Perhaps I didn’t give them enough time…? But then I lost my faith.

Is it like “squaring the circle”?  cheese

From the wiki

here

The expression “squaring the circle” is sometimes used as a metaphor for trying to do the impossible.

More philosophical questions with no definite answers?

In theory, my IQ didn’t change during this time yet my knowledge, and perhaps my wisdom, did. What, then, is intelligence? Is it even useful? Is it intelligence that led me to change yet didn’t dictate my current beliefs? A group like Mensa seems like a mixed bag with many people of differing opinions and surprisingly many lacking logical abilities. And yet, when I look at CFI’s posts and opinions, I feel like there’s more belonging. More agreement. Is this REAL intelligence? Perhaps intelligence is looking at facts rather than feelings? Perhaps intelligence is grounded in recognizing cause and effect and dismissing the supernatural? Mensa seems to measure it as the ability to decipher patterns, find similarities, and remember stories. With real intelligence, however, I’d expect more agreement on important matters! Is everyone here just as full of differing opinions too? Can intelligence really be measured? Can one be theistic and intelligent simultaneously (no offense intended!)? Could we say it’s a measure of Intelligence, Knowledge, or Wisdom that leads one away from the supernatural and into reality? Can any of this be measured for things like picking a president? I dunno, just kinda spouting out random thoughts and ideas. Feel free to take it wherever it leads grin.

Inquiry on intelligence, knowledge and wisdom etc.:

1. What is intelligence?

From the wiki here

Intelligence has been defined in many different ways such as in terms of one’s capacity for logic, abstract thought, understanding, self-awareness, communication, learning, emotional knowledge, memory, planning, creativity and problem solving.

But:

The definition of intelligence is controversial.

2. What is knowledge?

From the wiki here

From the section on theories of knowledge:

The definition of knowledge is a matter of ongoing debate among philosophers in the field of epistemology.

And:

In contrast to this approach, Wittgenstein observed, following Moore’s paradox, that one can say “He believes it, but it isn’t so,” but not “He knows it, but it isn’t so.” [5] He goes on to argue that these do not correspond to distinct mental states, but rather to distinct ways of talking about conviction. What is different here is not the mental state of the speaker, but the activity in which they are engaged. For example, on this account, to know that the kettle is boiling is not to be in a particular state of mind, but to perform a particular task with the statement that the kettle is boiling. Wittgenstein sought to bypass the difficulty of definition by looking to the way “knowledge” is used in natural languages. He saw knowledge as a case of a family resemblance. Following this idea, “knowledge” has been reconstructed as a cluster concept that points out relevant features but that is not adequately captured by any definition.[6]

Charming, is’nt it?  grin

3. What is wisdom?

From the wiki here

Wisdom is the ability to think and act using knowledge, experience, understanding, common sense, and insight.[1] Wisdom has been regarded as one of four cardinal virtues; and as a virtue, it is a habit or disposition to perform the action with the highest degree of adequacy under any given circumstance. This implies a possession of knowledge or the seeking thereof in order to apply it to the given circumstance. This involves an understanding of people, things, events, situations, and the willingness as well as the ability to apply perception, judgement, and action in keeping with the understanding of what is the optimal course of action. It often requires control of one’s emotional reactions (the “passions”) so that the universal principle of reason prevails to determine one’s action. In short, wisdom is a disposition to find the truth coupled with an optimum judgement as to what actions should be taken in order to deliver the correct outcome.

From the section on philosophical perspectives:

Wisdom is also important within Christianity. Jesus emphasized it.[6][7] Paul the Apostle, in his first epistle to the Corinthians, argued that there is both secular and divine wisdom, urging Christians to pursue the latter. Prudence, which is intimately related to wisdom, became one of the four cardinal virtues of Catholicism. The Christian philosopher Thomas Aquinas considered wisdom to be the “father” (i.e. the cause, measure, and form) of all virtues.

From the section on educational perspectives:

Nicholas Maxwell, a contemporary philosopher in the United Kingdom, advocates that academia ought to alter its focus from the acquisition of knowledge to seeking and promoting wisdom, which he defines as the capacity to realize what is of value in life, for oneself and others.[9] He teaches that new knowledge and technological know-how increase our power to act which, without wisdom, may cause human suffering and death as well as human benefit. Wisdom is the application of knowledge to attain a positive goal by receiving instruction in governing oneself.

4. What is the Socratic method?

From the wiki here

Socratic method (also known as method of elenchus, elenctic method, or Socratic debate), named after the classical Greek philosopher Socrates, is a form of inquiry and discussion between individuals, based on asking and answering questions to stimulate critical thinking and to illuminate ideas. It is a dialectical method, often involving a discussion in which the defense of one point of view is questioned; one participant may lead another to contradict himself in some way, thus strengthening the inquirer’s own point.

The Socratic method is a negative method of hypothesis elimination, in that better hypotheses are found by steadily identifying and eliminating those that lead to contradictions.

From the section on application:

Socrates believed that his awareness of his ignorance made him wiser than those who, though ignorant, still claimed knowledge. While this belief seems paradoxical at first glance, it in fact allowed Socrates to discover his own errors where others might assume they were correct. This claim was known by the anecdote of the Delphic oracular pronouncement that Socrates was the wisest of all men. (Or, rather, that no man was wiser than Socrates.)

Socrates used this claim of wisdom as the basis of his moral exhortation. Accordingly, he claimed that the chief goodness consists in the caring of the soul concerned with moral truth and moral understanding, that “wealth does not bring goodness, but goodness brings wealth and every other blessing, both to the individual and to the state”, and that “life without examination [dialogue] is not worth living”. It is with this in mind that the Socratic method is employed.

Apparently, to be wise and good is to realize the extent of one’s ignorance and to examine one’s life impartially without fail at all times.  cheese

5. What is the Münchhausen trilemma?

From the wiki here

Trilemma:

If we ask of any knowledge: “How do I know that it’s true?”, we may provide proof; yet that same question can be asked of the proof, and any subsequent proof. The Münchhausen trilemma is that we have only three options when providing proof in this situation:

  * The circular argument, in which theory and proof support each other (i.e. we repeat ourselves at some point)
  * The regressive argument, in which each proof requires a further proof, ad infinitum (i.e. we just keep giving proofs, presumably forever)
  * The axiomatic argument, which rests on accepted precepts (i.e. we reach some bedrock assumption or certainty)

The first two methods of reasoning are fundamentally weak, and because the Greek skeptics advocated deep questioning of all accepted values they refused to accept proofs of the third sort. The trilemma, then, is the decision among the three equally unsatisfying options.

Bold added by me.

6. What are Gödel’s incompleteness theorems?

From the wiki here

Gödel’s incompleteness theorems are two theorems of mathematical logic that establish inherent limitations of all but the most trivial axiomatic systems capable of doing
arithmetic.

Bold added by me.

Depressive reality? LOL

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Posted: 08 July 2014 06:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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I didn’t realize there was a name for those 3 options of proof, but I happened upon them via my analyzing and debating with theists grin. Clearly there’s a lot of discussion to be had on the subject given that definitions online don’t tend to yield definitive answers. Hence my questioning on the forum for the opinions and ideas of others to discuss rather than simply study a one-sided conversation.

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Posted: 08 July 2014 06:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Even the most intelligent person will be vulnerable to an agenda. Intelligence can hinder exploration because self aware intelligence so often leads to mental masterbation.

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Posted: 08 July 2014 07:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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There are definitely different types of intelligence. Some people have book smarts (these are the ones you’ll most likely to find in Mensa), some people have street smarts, some people have social intelligence and some people have emotional intelligence. Other people are great at math, others skilled writers or artists. Some people combine several or all of those attributes. Some highly intelligent people (measured on IQ tests) have no critical thinking skills. One of my friends who has only a high school education and scored low on IQ tests taught himself trigonometry when he became a carpenter. I dropped out of trig in college and belong to two national honor societies.

My point is 49 percent of us have more intelligence than the average person. The question is what skill set are you measuring and how do you test for it?

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Posted: 08 July 2014 07:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Handydan - 08 July 2014 06:46 PM

Even the most intelligent person will be vulnerable to an agenda. Intelligence can hinder exploration because self aware intelligence so often leads to mental masterbation.

That’s true. People who “know” they’re smart tend to rely too much on their current understanding rather than seeking further. Which kinda brings up the question of whether or not IQ can change grin. Does IQ actually exist?

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Posted: 08 July 2014 07:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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First, define “IQ.”

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Posted: 08 July 2014 07:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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DarronS - 08 July 2014 07:09 PM

There are definitely different types of intelligence. Some people have book smarts (these are the ones you’ll most likely to find in Mensa)

I would argue that book smarts is knowledge as opposed to intelligence. Those at Mensa often have some form of book smarts since they gravitate toward books that make them look smarter, but certainly they don’t test for book smarts to get in.

DarronS - 08 July 2014 07:09 PM

some people have street smarts, some people have social intelligence and some people have emotional intelligence

The question might be whether or not these really do differentiate. What I’ve read up on is that most people who are intelligent in one regard tend to be intelligent in the others. You can’t be street smart without knowing how people work both socially and emotionally for example.

DarronS - 08 July 2014 07:09 PM

Other people are great at math, others skilled writers or artists. Some people combine several or all of those attributes.

I would consider these more as skills than intelligence. I may be wrong, but I believe any average person (i.e. not mentally challenged person) can become a master of any such skill with enough practice. IQ, in theory, is generally thought of as static. Though that is one of the questions I’m positing.

DarronS - 08 July 2014 07:09 PM

Some highly intelligent people (measured on IQ tests) have no critical thinking skills.

I might argue the efficacy of such an IQ test that measures someone high with no critical thinking skills. I would personally find intelligence to require it.

DarronS - 08 July 2014 07:09 PM

One of my friends who has only a high school education and scored low on IQ tests taught himself trigonometry when he became a carpenter. I dropped out of trig in college and belong to two national honor societies.

Kind of supports my claim that anyone can learn a skill. While you may have dropped out of it yourself, I have no doubt that with enough motivation or desire you could learn it as well. I don’t buy the whole “I’m just not good at X” statements as a testament of concrete facts. It can be changed.

DarronS - 08 July 2014 07:09 PM

My point is 49 percent of us have more intelligence than the average person. The question is what skill set are you measuring and how do you test for it?

Indeed, exactly the question. I would personally remove skills and knowledge out of the equation. Intelligence, I would argue, requires the scope to be based solely on what is present in the particular individual at the time. It’s more how he makes his decisions based upon what he knows as opposed to quizzing him to determine what he knows and judging the knowledge. A man born in the jungle and never having seen the plains might be extremely intelligent and yet lack a concept of depth perception seeing as he could never see beyond 3 feet in front of him. (I heard of this happening with some tribal people thinking buffalo were the size of ants grin)

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Posted: 08 July 2014 07:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Oh, IQ exists. But it isn’t the holy grail of intelligence. It’s a measure of people based on an earlier guesses of what intelligence was thought to be at that time.

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Posted: 08 July 2014 07:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Handydan - 08 July 2014 07:42 PM

Oh, IQ exists. But it isn’t the holy grail of intelligence. It’s a measure of people based on an earlier guesses of what intelligence was thought to be at that time.

But would you rate a theist’s intelligence different than an atheist’s simply by their theistic stances? Seems odd to think that a person’s intelligence can be unaffected by the brainwashing required to believe in the supernatural. But I suppose, like me, I made good and logical arguments based upon the fallacious axioms of religion. But it still seems rather unintelligent to never question such hotly debated axioms. Not sure how an intelligent person can get around never questioning or ignoring the facts for a lengthy period. Personally, I had to lose my faith twice as new facts and psychological understanding were brought to my attention. I find few people actually change their minds as data arises though. While I may appear wishy washy at times, it’s something I consider a strength rather than a weakness. It’s generally not something afforded a leader though. We expect them to never change their mind which is fairly… well… unintelligent grin. Or perhaps unwise…? Or perhaps we just expect people to have more stuff well-reasoned by the time they’re 35 such that less data is actually new and unconsidered.

btw, Expectation is the mother of disappointment but also the breeder of joy. Don’t kill the mother—discipline the child. grin

[ Edited: 08 July 2014 07:58 PM by Code Monkey ]
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Posted: 08 July 2014 10:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Code Monkey - 08 July 2014 12:46 PM

So I’ve been thinking more about IQ again lately. Back in my religious fanatical days, I was accepted into Mensa (top 2% IQ group). They have private forums there and I began posting all my “intellectually genius” ideas about Christianity and how I wanted to restore it to its original splendor. I can still say I was logical in my approach even if not “factual” grin. I was surprised to find that the “intellectuals” there didn’t meet my well-reasoned arguments with open arms. After some discourse, I found them to be not much different from any other group of individuals online agreeing, disagreeing, and bickering full of emotionalism. Perhaps I didn’t give them enough time…? But then I lost my faith. In theory, my IQ didn’t change during this time yet my knowledge, and perhaps my wisdom, did. What, then, is intelligence? Is it even useful? Is it intelligence that led me to change yet didn’t dictate my current beliefs? A group like Mensa seems like a mixed bag with many people of differing opinions and surprisingly many lacking logical abilities. And yet, when I look at CFI’s posts and opinions, I feel like there’s more belonging. More agreement. Is this REAL intelligence? Perhaps intelligence is looking at facts rather than feelings? Perhaps intelligence is grounded in recognizing cause and effect and dismissing the supernatural? Mensa seems to measure it as the ability to decipher patterns, find similarities, and remember stories. With real intelligence, however, I’d expect more agreement on important matters! Is everyone here just as full of differing opinions too? Can intelligence really be measured? Can one be theistic and intelligent simultaneously (no offense intended!)? Could we say it’s a measure of Intelligence, Knowledge, or Wisdom that leads one away from the supernatural and into reality? Can any of this be measured for things like picking a president? I dunno, just kinda spouting out random thoughts and ideas. Feel free to take it wherever it leads grin.

Intelligence probably can be tested for, we just haven’t created a reliable test yet.  What we have will do for the moment but it is seriously flawed and has many weaknesses. The fact that a group of people tests high doesn’t mean they think anywhere near alike, and certainly their interests vary wildly. I’ve found most Mensa people to be smart but overbearing and annoying.

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Posted: 09 July 2014 12:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Code Monkey - 08 July 2014 07:51 PM
Handydan - 08 July 2014 07:42 PM

Oh, IQ exists. But it isn’t the holy grail of intelligence. It’s a measure of people based on an earlier guesses of what intelligence was thought to be at that time.

But would you rate a theist’s intelligence different than an atheist’s simply by their theistic stances? Seems odd to think that a person’s intelligence can be unaffected by the brainwashing required to believe in the supernatural. But I suppose, like me, I made good and logical arguments based upon the fallacious axioms of religion. But it still seems rather unintelligent to never question such hotly debated axioms. Not sure how an intelligent person can get around never questioning or ignoring the facts for a lengthy period. Personally, I had to lose my faith twice as new facts and psychological understanding were brought to my attention. I find few people actually change their minds as data arises though. While I may appear wishy washy at times, it’s something I consider a strength rather than a weakness. It’s generally not something afforded a leader though. We expect them to never change their mind which is fairly… well… unintelligent grin. Or perhaps unwise…? Or perhaps we just expect people to have more stuff well-reasoned by the time they’re 35 such that less data is actually new and unconsidered.

btw, Expectation is the mother of disappointment but also the breeder of joy. Don’t kill the mother—discipline the child. grin

I don’t think you can attribute the overall intelligence of an indevidual based on only one of their assertiongs as being more or less intelligent than someone who follows an alternate assertion. Now, you could however, say one was more logical and objective than the other, but is logic and objectivity intelligence? Or are they skills that can be developed regaurdless of ones intelligence? Also, the theist vs. the atheist is comparing two very different approaches to understanding the world around them. Faith in a god is not supposed to be logical. It’s an emotional and mystical path to explaining everything in one fell swoop. Understanding the world and how it all happened by observation, testing, and exploration is probably a never ending pursuit that does not expect to have all the answers they way religion does. In any case, even the most intelligent people in the world will have some very shoddy thinking around some part of their life and perceptions.

btw, Joy can occur in the absence of expectation, but disappointment only occurs because of expectation. I think joy without expectation is considerably more joyful.

[ Edited: 09 July 2014 12:20 AM by Handydan ]
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Posted: 09 July 2014 05:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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Handydan - 09 July 2014 12:16 AM

Now, you could however, say one was more logical and objective than the other, but is logic and objectivity intelligence?

I sort of feel like logic and objectivity is intelligence. Yet on the other hand, it’s my logic and objectivity that makes me less capable of coping with the illogic and subjectivity of others grin. The logical part of me says that such frustration helps nothing (which is also intelligent/wise to recognize) yet my ability to avoid frustration may be lacking (skill). Thus, one might be intelligent yet lack skill or even self-discipline. So perhaps an intelligent person can also be a terrible person. Thus, is intelligence itself all that useful of a measure even if we could measure it? We should probably also measure self-discipline, wisdom, and even knowledge since without those things intelligence means little.

Handydan - 09 July 2014 12:16 AM

btw, Joy can occur in the absence of expectation, but disappointment only occurs because of expectation. I think joy without expectation is considerably more joyful.

Perhaps I’m considering only an expectation that includes anticipation. I think one can be disappointed without active expectation/anticipation. I may “expect” my house to remain standing when I get home, but it’s not an anticipation. And when I get home and see it burned to the ground, I’m going to be a tiny bit disappointed. Expectation that my wife should do x, y, and z for me can leave me disappointed if she does not. Yet anticipating and expecting a raise in one month, while it may let me down, might also increase my joy for that month as I live in the fantasy of my expectation and dream of all the things I can do with added income. If it occurs, it’s all the more amazing. If it does not, that month may have been worth the joy anyway. One can appreciate the joy during the expectation yet learn not to be offended at the outcome. Removing such joys of anticipated expectation is a disservice as it makes one less capable of taking joy in anticipated potentials. I have unfortunately shielded myself from such misfortunes and thus I tend to be cold toward people and not get excited with them regarding things. It makes me less joyful and less motivated since I don’t anticipate success. Not that I anticipate failure either, but without anticipating/expecting/hoping for success, why try? This might be worthy of its own thread I guess tongue laugh

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Posted: 09 July 2014 10:05 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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I don’t recall the specifics, but a while ago a psychologist at USC did a statistical analysis (I’m not sure of what) and found there were fourteen distinctly different types of intelligence. 

Many years ago some members of the local Unitarian church asked me to apply to join Mensa.  From what I saw of their behavior and thinking, I decided that Mensa must define ego as intelligence.  These people weren’t very clear thinking but since they had passed some test that Mensa gives they were sure they were brilliant. 

Occam

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