Saturday, October 09, 2010

Bell Curve

Now I'M going to be politically incorrect.  I'm going to go way, way, way out on a limb.  I haven't heard one single human but one say anything about this.  That one single human just said one little sentence that stayed with me.  She had a son with severe mental and physical disabilities and is a psychology professor at a local university.  She said, grumpily, one day, "I can only stand to be around people with really high I.Q.s and people with mental retardation.  Every one else just irritates me to death."  I think she was just having a bad day but I knew what she meant.

I don't have a really high I.Q.  It's a little above average but that's it.  What I do have is an inquiring mind, a desire to learn new stuff, and an innate gift for problem solving.  In the past few years I've realized that I'm definitely in a minority.  Watching all the bumbling around in government, during disasters, and people's beliefs on the internet, I'm starting to think that everybody who has an average I.Q. has serious resentments against anybody who knows anything.

It's really scary because those folks are running the world.  They believe things there's no evidence for (like every stupid rumor on the internet, and believe that "fact checkers" are just lying when they say those rumors are not true.).  They base their beliefs on what they "feel" is true (if they "feel" it, it must be true, right?).  It seems fairly obvious to me that they believe what they emotionally want to believe.  If they want to hate someone, they'll believe any crazy thing someone says about the person.  They hate people they have some crazy reason to be afraid of.  The people they like...well, those people can do no wrong even if there's provable evidence that they're a mess.  Proof doesn't move their minds at all.  Just labeling someone an "expert" means these folks will automatically refuse to believe anything the "expert" says. 

I guess this has been going on a long time. For years I've been hearing the word "elitist" as meaning the person labeled that way is educated and smart and looks down on everyone else and wants to take advantage of everyone else.  Could that mean that the person calling someone else "elitist" thinks he/she would act that way if he/she were smart and educated?  When Eisenhower was running against Stephenson, people were saying Stephenson was too smart and that was in the 50s.  What the hell?  Can you be too smart to be president?  That's what we need - a not smart president so that he/she will understand us not smart folks.  Of course, we've had several of those and things predictably went to shit when they were in office.  Good grief!  Let's not rely at all on those smart, educated people.  They might run over us.  The only thing is maybe smart, educated people would have sense enough to know that we're all in this together, so if some of us are in trouble, all of us are in trouble, and if all of us are doing well, all of us will be doing well.

A long, long time ago I had a job as a secretary where there were about 10 of us who had the exact same job.  One day we were all assigned this big hairy project that had to be done by the end of the day.  Now remember that I am a very, very good problem solver.  So after working for awhile it dawned on me that there were some super good ways to speed things up.  I exuberantly announced my idea - thinking that everyone would be thrilled to hear about a way to make the project 100 times easier.  But that's not what happened.  The other gals accused me of being a smart ass and trying to show them up and tell them what to do.  I was utterly astonished.  Since then I've been careful in those situations to lay low.  I try to remember to keep my bright ideas to myself.  I don't do that great at it, but I'm better than I was. 

As a very, very good problem solver I just want to say that one of the best kept secrets of being an amazing problem solver is to seek out really smart, educated experts and ask them a lot of questions and then take their advice.  It doesn't make me feel "less than" at all.  I've been in some really, really tight spots in my life and the advice I've gotten from those "elitists" is usually what pulled me out.  Too bad we're wasting so much good advice from people who could really help, cause we are in one hell of a tight spot at the moment.

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