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Memories of the 28th Century

Empty Barrels

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Empty Barrels Make the Most Noise.

For something else that I am writing, I have been thinking about evolution of humans. It is somewhat surprising that intelligence didn’t increase in similar amounts to all people during evolution, but has been noted that there is considerable breadth in the range of "normal intelligence".

This came to mind in regard to drunks, bums, petty criminals, the mentally ill, and the underclass, those who are outside the economy for the most part. I used to think that mental illness was the underlying problem, but more recently I have noticed that low intelligence is more significant in many cases, and low intelligence might be the basic problem. I took to including mental illness in this, when I realized that some people could experience many of the symptoms of schizophrenia without any ill effect to them, because they would realize that the voices they heard were what they were mumbling to themselves or that the silly ideas that came to mind were silly, rather than things they should believe; thus they didn't become delusional. People of lower intelligence can hold closely to an idea that a little bit of logic would destroy, but schizophrenics do not have enough intelligence to determine that their delusional thoughts are absurd.

Similarly, drunks may have been told that their drinking is killing them, but some don't care, while others don't have the intelligence to realize that there really is a relationship between booze and health. Petty criminals similarly can't understand that there are better and easier ways to get by, and it has been noted that the populations of prisons are not very intelligent.

Back in the 1950's C. M. Kornbluth pointed out that most people are incapable of creative or reasoned activity. In his novel Marching Morons, a small percent of the population did all of the necessary work, while they convince the majority that they are doing a great job. In the end, the intelligent decided to get rid of those who were a burden.

One oddity is that some people of low intelligence are taken to be intelligent; the extreme examples of this are known as 'idiots savant', while the less extreme examples are simply people who stay strictly within their specialties. Then there are people with Asperger's Syndrome, who are sure that they are right, regardless of actual fact. People who believe conspiracy theories are in similar positions. More recently, someone of low intelligence was allowed to become president of the U.S.A., so the lower intelligence people are inclined to feel better about themselves. Having a U.S. president who has such a mental disorder most make others feel better about their opinions.

A parallel situation is the matter of people diagnosed with schizophrenia may actually simply be of low intelligence. If Trump can get away with believing his view of economics, then what's wrong with someone believing that the world is controlled by alien lizards? Either of those can be shown to be false and unsupportable by logic and evidence.

It sometimes appears that people who have low intelligence now would have been quite intelligent a million, or so, years ago. The kind of intelligence and other skills that H. Erectus had back then were quite different from what people need now, but there are some people who still have that kind of intelligence.

Most people don't need to do much abstract reasoning, so they can get by with the intelligence of an h. Erectus, but if you need someone with creative intelligence, then you will have to look at the ten percent of the population that has such abilities.

If we wanted to give the majority of humans the ability to think analytically and creatively, then we would have to raise the average rather considerably, and that would take a very long time, even if the shortcut were taken. The shortcut is to eliminate those who do not pass muster.


  1. MANICHAEAN's Avatar
    Interesting Subject

    Pompey Bum had posted a thread last week asking “How do you write?” I suppose at first sight that’s a reasonable request, as this is after all a Literature Forum, and one would suppose that there would be a fair percentage of Lit Netters that not only read widely, but also indulge in a bit of creative writing themselves. To me it’s as normal as breathing. I presumed all persons had a creative style which they expressed differently; whether it be through: writing, painting, cooking; even though sport, bodybuilding or dancing.

    Early man might have been too preoccupied regards basic survival to be really creative; though primitive cave paintings and the evolvement of basic inventions would prove me somewhat wrong.

    I suppose I’m basically saying that I had never even considered another human being not having a creative side, even those with little formal education.

    Would it have a physical aspect, derived from our genes or having been breast fed, whatever? Or is it there in everyone, but requires to be identified, nurtured and developed? I don’t know.

    When it comes to mental illness, I am not formally qualified to pass judgement. That being said, I am a writer and by definition a “watcher” of human behaviour over the last 75 years, and I always ask myself the question; that in cases of marginal, (not full blown) mental illness where and in what circumstances did it develop. Napoleon had a thing about his height, Hitler as a patriotic German was humiliated by his experiences in the trenches & in the defeat of Germany in the First World War. He needed a scapegoat. Someone to blame and the Jews were convenient; even though he was sincerely grateful to the Jewish doctor who treated his mother for breast cancer free of charge when he was penniless. Trump himself has a dark past: a brother who died through alcohol abuse, a dominant father ruthless in business, and something in the relationship with his mother that one can never quite put the finger upon. No wonder Putin cultivated, or controlled him through his past and existing weaknesses.