Intelligence is Overrated

Intelligence is Overrated
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The other day, a friend waxed eloquent about a university psychologist whose social Darwinist views corroborated her own belief in the hierarchy of intelligence with respect to race and nationality.

 

This is old news.  The world is full of people and groups who think they are smarter than everyone else.  If it weren’t for all those stupid people (not us, of course), we would be living in paradise.  The world is over-populated with all those stupid people, who have more babies than they can support.  Those babies grow up to have low IQs, with the IQ test the gold standard of the intelligentsia’s rating scale for smarts.

 

Everyone knows academics and scientists are smarter than everyone else, and that’s why the ivory tower elitists can’t pay their own way.  That’s why they need grant funding, alumni funding, football proceeds, and tuition so high students will be paying off loans for the rest of their lives.  They are smarter than the Central Intelligence Agency and the 16 or so other “intelligence” agencies in the US, who are too smart  to share information with each other so self-sabotage and bungle so many of their missions.

 

They may be clever, but they are not smart.  If they were smart, they would have figured out how to teach stupid children to read and write, stop wars, feed the hungry, and prevent disease. 

 

What is intelligence, anyway, a thinking person might ask.  The IQ tests measure such a narrow range of skills, that assigning so much power to them can’t be smart.  Do they measure spatial skills, social skills, organizing ability, musical comprehension, imagination, creativity, or common sense, talents unappreciated so unrecognized and undeveloped? 

 

Where does this fixation on this abstract notion, “intelligence” come from?  Why are so many people seduced into believing the absurd notion that intelligence can be measured and codified?  I’m willing to bet some of the world’s acknowledged smartest people couldn’t make it five minutes in the woods without a government grant.

 

Is the government “intelligent,” then?  I figure it must be pretty smart to get all its citizens to pay taxes to fight wars and buy laws that impinge on freedom.  Darwin’s notion of “survival of the fittest” presumed the “fittest” were the strongest, most cunning, or most ruthless. Is that intelligent, then?

 

Maybe all the self-proclaimed “intelligent” people are insecure so need that label for social status.  Is it intelligent to pretend you know more than you do, or to refuse to admit when you are wrong?  Is it intelligent to cheat at cards or on a test, even if you don’t get caught? 

 

I’m not smart enough to know the answers to these questions. 

 

Comments

George N Romey Added Sep 16, 2017 - 3:55pm
There is wisdom and there is intelligence.  Wisdom leads to good decision making and positive experiences. 
Tubularsock Added Sep 16, 2017 - 4:05pm
What a great post Katharine. From the outset Tubularsock just wants to clear up a few points and because Tubularsock is smarter and is never incorrect to the point of wrongness who else better to do this intelligent task.
 
Yet, on the other hand you pretty much covered it all very well so Tubularsock will remove his pencil protector from his starched shirt pocket and set down his chalk and remove his 8x10 foot chalkboard which Tubularsock carries around with him for times like these and just sit right down on the philosophers stone and contemplate intelligence.
 
In the complete ass backward world that we are born into and then being “trained” in babyhood through childhood to “fit-in” you’d think that would be enough. But no, then one has to be deemed “certificated-intelligent” and given a piece of paper with a bright sticker on it so declaring that fact which settles any question of being intelligent.
 
That being accomplished all that is left is to live happily ever-after.
The end.
Katharine Otto Added Sep 16, 2017 - 4:12pm
George,
Agreed, but I've never heard of a "Wisdom Quotient." Have you?  Thanks for the comment.  
George N Romey Added Sep 16, 2017 - 4:14pm
No, I just know I've met many people that were wise and many that were intelligent but not particularly bright.  I hate to sound like an old fuddy duddy but I think the former has gone out of style.
Katharine Otto Added Sep 16, 2017 - 4:14pm
Tubularsock,
Laugh-out-loud funny.  A most "intelligent" response, with the "live happily ever after" answer maybe the best possible determinant of intelligence.
Dino Manalis Added Sep 16, 2017 - 4:15pm
Intelligence is a relative term, academic achievements aren't enough, it's also a matter of experience.
opher goodwin Added Sep 16, 2017 - 4:15pm
Katharine - I'm with you. Intelligence is overrated. There are much more important human qualities than intelligence. Altruism, caring, kindness, helpfulness, friendliness, niceness, happiness, lovingness, tolerance, empathy, respect, responsibility. An intelligent person who has not got those other qualities is a monster.
I'd rather spend time with a loving, warm, caring empathetic person that a cold, selfish genius.
Besides - every educator knows that intelligence is far more complicated than any test can nail down.
We are all unique.
William Stockton Added Sep 16, 2017 - 4:51pm
Katharine,  "The IQ tests measure such a narrow range of skill"
 
I'm sorry, but this is simply not true.  Higher IQ scores predict with very high consistency a person's success in most areas of mental activity . . . including the arts, music, science, and even social skills.  (success meaning higher performance levels than others with lower IQ scores) 
 
Higher IQ is also closely coupled with people who are most likely to escape sustained poverty.  Experiencing poverty does not equate to a lower IQ.  There are many other factors that can lead to poverty.
 
IQ research had begun in the 1920's and is a very well established branch of psychology.  Of all the constructs and methods to measure or predict human behavior,  IQ tests are the most rigorous in the field of human psychology.
 
If there was an IQ pill we could give to people, this would be the greatest single change in determining the happiness and success for a person.
 
Good lecture here by Psychology professor Dr. Jordan Peterson
 
This was the subject of a movie made a few years ago.
opher goodwin Added Sep 16, 2017 - 5:04pm
William - I've known plenty of intelligent bastards and plenty of really nice people who weren't so bright. As a teacher I encountered many low IQ kids who were as sharp as a button and many super-intelligent kids who were without any saving graces and totally unemployable.
John G Added Sep 16, 2017 - 7:04pm
Quite often otherwise intelligent people are limited by what they think they know.
'Common sense' is often very wrong and dangerous.
The general population in western society is deliberately misinformed and miseducated to accept myths that are in keeping with ruling class interests.
And the ruling class control ALL the factions. The Kochs and Soros are not enemies by any means.
William Stockton Added Sep 16, 2017 - 8:00pm
 "I've known plenty of intelligent bastards and plenty of really nice people who weren't so bright."
 
You most likely have that realization every time you look in the mirror.
You also then have a dujave senior moment and think, "I have never thought that before"
haha!
 
And is "bright" your home-brewed clinical term that you "taught" your students?  LOL  You are a fraud, opher.  


You lefties have perfected the art of bullshit (lying actually).  Using a fallacious argument like special pleading where exceptions become the rule allows you to turn any argument of exception into a general fact.  It just makes me laugh that low-rent IQ asshats think they are getting away feeding bullshit to people and telling them, "It's exceptionally tasty!"
 
John G Added Sep 16, 2017 - 8:09pm
Willy probably believe he has a high IQ.
Like he believes he's taken the red pill.
And he's a centrist (while he rants against liberals for being too leftist).
You couldn't make Willy up.
William Stockton Added Sep 16, 2017 - 9:34pm
"while he rants against liberals for being too leftist"
 
No, actually I have more respect for liberals than a "lefty".  The left now is communist having little resemblance to the actual definition of Liberal.
It doesn't surprise me that you know fuck-all about the definition of liberal being a communist mouthpiece sitting in Fuckingnowhere NewZealand. 
John G Added Sep 16, 2017 - 10:52pm
LOLz. So anyone left of centre is now a commie in little Willy's little mind.
And there's that racist shit mouth again.
William Stockton Added Sep 16, 2017 - 11:25pm
LOL.  "Racist".
 
What?  You think me bringing up NewZealand is racist?  NZ is 80% white and has an immigration policy of "white's only".  I suppose you could think that.
John G Added Sep 17, 2017 - 12:05am
I'm not a New Zealander and as you well know, New Zealand does not have a "white's (sic) only" immigration policy. You know that because I've corrected you before.
So that makes you a fascist idiot, a racist AND a flat out liar.
The Trifecta!!! Hurrah!
Saint George Added Sep 17, 2017 - 12:31am
New Zealand is well known for its discriminatory policies toward the native Maori people. You all know that because I've mentioned it several times before. For some reason, you people just keep forgetting it and going into Deep Denial.
John G Added Sep 17, 2017 - 1:36am
John G Added Sep 17, 2017 - 1:40am
Immigration to NZ
Any more filthy racist lies, Little Willy?
About a country that I'm not a citizen of?
Saint George Added Sep 17, 2017 - 2:24am
New Zealand is well known for its discriminatory policies toward the native Maori people. You all know that because I've mentioned it several times before. For some reason, you people just keep forgetting it and going into Deep Denial.
opher goodwin Added Sep 17, 2017 - 4:57am
William - trust you to bring any debate down to abuse and nonsense. We're talking about intelligence right?
Dr. Rupert Green Added Sep 17, 2017 - 5:58am
@ Katherine. "What is intelligence, anyway, a thinking person might ask.  The IQ tests measure such a narrow range of skills, that assigning so much power to them can’t be smart.  Do they measure spatial skills, social skills, organizing ability, musical comprehension, imagination, creativity, or common sense, talents unappreciated so unrecognized and undeveloped? "
 
Howard Gardner addresses your question with his multiple intelligence theory ( 8 intelligences  now).
 
IQ test has roots in determinism, White intellectual superiority, and some quack science which name betrays my memory.  In that science, Whites were proven to be intellectually superior because the skull of a deceased White held more pepper corns that that of a Black deceased. (Hello even Ernie of Sesame Streets could tell you about big and little.)
 
It is said that India has more genius than we have population. Anyway, a great book on the subject of the post is Stephen Gould's Mismeasure of Man.
 
 
Leroy Added Sep 17, 2017 - 7:50am
"I've known plenty of intelligent bastards and plenty of really nice people who weren't so bright. As a teacher I encountered many low IQ kids who were as sharp as a button and many super-intelligent kids who were without any saving graces and totally unemployable. "
 
We have all known such people.  But, it is not the outliners that make the argument. And it is not either or.  For example, an intelligent person can also be a caring person.  I'd wager that on average you will find in proportion just as many if not more intelligent people who possess the positive qualities that you mention.  As much as it pains me to say it, William is right.  But, there is more to life than intelligence.
 
Sometimes arrogance comes with education.  For example, it was drummed into our heads that engineers forget more than what most people ever learn.  But, that is not due to intelligence; it's training.  Anyone who has raised a child should know that children are naturally selfish.  They have to be taught to share.  They have to be taught to be caring.  They are more likely to learn these qualities from parents who care enough to teach them.
Leroy Added Sep 17, 2017 - 7:58am
"It is said that India has more genius than we have population."
 
And it has been said that China, by the numbers, is the largest Christain nation (I still doubt it.).  But, you are right, Dr. Rupert.  There are a lot of smart people who come out of India.  The best of the best often end up in the US.  Sometimes we make the mistake of judging a culture on what we see.  We see the best of the best and assume it is a nation of intelligent people.  We make similar assumptions about Asians in general.
 
Some people like to say that intelligence is an innate quality, in the DNA.  The truth is that it is heavily influenced by environment.   
opher goodwin Added Sep 17, 2017 - 8:21am
Leroy - the point I am making is really that intelligence has many forms and that intelligence tests only tell part of the story. I believe that some forms of intelligence are not measurable.
I also believe that intelligence tests were devised with cultural bias as Dr Rupert said. We need to take that into account.
I think you are right about qualities. Intelligence and qualities do not correlate. There are probably the same number of intelligent caring people as stupid caring people.
I think those qualities are every bit as important as intelligence. I think we see that on WB. I also think that schools have a big role to play in teaching those qualities. You are right when you say they have to be learnt. It is too important to leave to parents. Some parents don't have those qualities.
opher goodwin Added Sep 17, 2017 - 8:23am
Leroy - I am sure there is a number of environmental factors but I contend that all races have the same potential. It is only racism that says otherwise. We are too new as a species to have digressed much from our African ancestry. We are all human.
Leroy Added Sep 17, 2017 - 8:58am
IMHO, Opher, is that it would be illogical to assume that we are all equal, that one may have more of this and less than that but in the end, it all equals out.  We evolved differently.
 
It is said that Africans have the most diverse DNA.  I believe that to be true.  If I had to hazard to guess, I would guess that far East Asians have the least diverse DNA.  Japan comes to mind.  That must result in some evolutionary differences.
 
To apply your theory, one would have to assume that prototype man had the same potential of modern man.  If you accept that this is not true, how could you accept that different species or subsets would evolve the same way.  They took different paths.  I can accept the fact that intelligence may be an important survival tool and some groups, even races, might have a higher intelligence than another.  
 
It would seem that intelligence is not so important to survival today.  It would not surprise me that over time we all revert back to the mean. 
 
It may be pointless to talk about which race is superior.  Maybe one race or sub group on average can run faster or longer or is more physical than another.  I think it is indisputably so.  Why can't we say the same about intelligence?  Why are we afraid to do so?  All you got to do is look at college football to see that one race is disproportionately represented.  Unless you think it is caused by racism, you must admit that there is an unlining difference.  Under different circumstances, this might be the most important survival tool. 
William Stockton Added Sep 17, 2017 - 9:07am
Leroy, you may think me off-the-cuff and terse but I do not front people here with pleasure.  There is a vicious battle occurring in civilization for civilization.  
Far too long have the diligent lingered and "played nice" while a political cult has taken over our educational systems, media, and government.
 
Here's an example from opher:
"I contend that all races have the same potential. It is only racism that says otherwise."
 
That is a patently absurd and stupid statement to say that race has nothing to do with potential.  It is typical of the left to say such fucking, outright lies.  It is so obviously a lie that I am left with two possible conclusions:  opher is a complete idiot; opher is deceitful.
How can I say this?  Because the NBA is 80% non-caucasian for a damn good reason . . . certain races produce better sporting athletes.  This is so obvious that I can only assume opher is a fucking liar that follows a corrupt political cult.
 
There are also many well-known statistics that also correlate race to learning potential where Asians are sitting on the top of those IQ charts.  Does it bother me that another race is superior in learning to my race?  No, because I don't follow a corrupt political cult that uses racism to distort every legitimate form of science and logic.
 
See Leroy, you think this is a pillow fight when in reality people like opher want you either dead or at the bottom of society . . . solely because of your skin color.
Dr. Rupert Green Added Sep 17, 2017 - 9:55am
@ Leroy. " I think it is indisputably so.  Why can't we say the same about intelligence?  Why are we afraid to do so?  All you got to do is look at college football to see that one race is disproportionately represented.  Unless you think it is caused by racism, you must admit that there is an unlining difference.  Under different circumstances, this might be the most important survival tool. "
 
Is there a sport that requires higher mental faculty? Who dominates? 
Is there a sport that requires more expensive equipment and facilities? Who dominates? Racially, what did Tiger Woods and Serena Williams do to golf and tennis respectively? Why are Africans master and mistresses of marathons?
 
What did the guy playing with his peas discovered about big and small and strong and weak that caused him to clone them for particular ability?  In the days, were plantation owners not breeding Blacks to be strong as a mule to plow the fields, while he was creeping and distributing some of superior European sperms to the funky Blacks enslaved women?  Yes. Their wives enamored by the product of this breeding were secretly taking some of that "big black" inferior sperms.  Shit. messing up the true blue blooded White race. White men had to put a stop to that shit. The Supreme Court Loving Law was the answer. 
 
Were Whites not recently into seeking superior intelligence in that the sperms of White geniuses were frozen and offered to White women buyers. Shit a child turned out to be mentally deformed. They shut that program down, publicly anyway?
 
We accept there are pretty, tall, short blue eyed, brown eyed, red eyed people, but we cannot accept that there are intelligent and less intelligent people. For context lets keep the group in their own countries. Some little south seas boys can navigate the oceans by the stars and some cannot. Figuratively speaking, some people can drop a dime in rocks and it grows to a dollar the next day. Other people you give fertile land and they could grow a blade of grass.
 
Oh that brilliant South Seas boy would be a dunce in an American classroom not having anything to do with astronomy.
 
OK lets prove if race and intelligence correlate. But that is stupid, intelligent people exist in all races.
 
Still the "unintelligent black soldier man" placed many dicks in the superior German women. They also did of French, Italian, and other Whites. Perhaps some of these women had children.  So, compare the intelligence of those mixed-race offspring of those Black solider men to those of White soldier men.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Leroy Added Sep 17, 2017 - 10:04am
"It is typical of the left to say such fucking, outright lies.  It is so obviously a lie that I am left with two possible conclusions:  opher is a complete idiot; opher is deceitful."
 
The third and most likely scenario is that he lives in a fantasy world where he wishes we were all equal.  He, being an avowed socialist, makes me believe that I am not too far off the mark.  He is a little too timid to use the "c" word, IMHO.  He claims to be a scientist but I don't know what his credentials might be.  Perhaps he was a scientist who became a biology teacher.  Being a teacher certainly doesn't make you a scientist.  His views, IMHO, are not based in science. Nevertheless, he seems to put feelings over science.  Why can't we all just group hug and sing Kumbaya?
 
The truth is, William, that we agree more than we disagree.  I just take a different path to make my argument.  You can attract more flies with honey than you can with vinegar, as they say.
William Stockton Added Sep 17, 2017 - 10:48am
I get it, Leroy.  And there was a time for giving people the benefit of doubt ("he lives in a fantasy world where he wishes we were all equal").  However, that time is long gone IMO.  I think it is prudent to think the worst about some here.  They can prove to me otherwise.
 
I'm not here to attract flys.  In some ways, I aim to match or beat tactics by being equally offensive as the racist bullshit the left is cramming down societies' throats.   
I am not convincing anyone that wouldn't already have my predilections.  My offensive comments are also not turning anyone away (I think Trump proved that brilliantly).  However, I will aim to be incredibly annoying to those that first show disrespect toward me.  That is my rule.
 
opher's song hasn't been Kumbaya.  I'm sure you saw his language against our sitting US president.  First blood.
Dr. Rupert Green Added Sep 17, 2017 - 11:17am
@ @Rupert, stop your "Muh Dick" exposure! Do you walk around with your hand down in your pants? "Big black" 
 
Mr. Yoder. I read some compelling history books that you would not find in school. Read The Mismeasure of man, A Mind of its Own: A Cultural History of the Penis, Before the Mayflower, and Hope Franklin's The Making of the African Americans.
 
Note. "[Griffith] portrayed the emancipated slaves as heathens, as unworthy of being free, as uncivilized, as primarily concerned with passing laws so they could marry white women and prey on them," Dick Lehr, author of The Birth of a Nation: How a Legendary Filmmaker and a Crusading Editor Reignited America's Civil War, tells NPR's Arun Rath.
 
My writing is not about advancing hatred, its merely telling the truth. Birth of a nation tells of the Big Black.
 
 
 
 
Leroy Added Sep 17, 2017 - 11:21am
Dr. Rupert, once again you confound me with your remarkable talent.  I am so confounded that I am not sure if you are agreeing or disagreeing.  You are a natural born politician and I wish you the best in your campaign.
 
Please note that I have made no comment on which race might be superior.  I freely admit that IQ tests may have a bias.  Success in the world is largely defined by the Western  culture, for better or worse.  In that context, IQ tests can be a predictor in aggregate of success.  There is overlap between the races.  There are brilliant people from all races.  And, as I have said, environment plays an important role.  Not all races have equal opportunity in that regard.
 
If KJU sets off a nuclear WWIII, intelligence may longer prove the predictor of sucess.
 
 
Dr. Rupert Green Added Sep 17, 2017 - 11:45am
@Leroy. I am agreeing with you and providing ammunition to use against those with eugenics thinking. 
Stone-Eater Friedli Added Sep 17, 2017 - 1:42pm
Katharine
 
Great post. I think we could best live with an enhancement of social intelligence :-)
Stone-Eater Friedli Added Sep 17, 2017 - 1:48pm
New Zealand is well known for its discriminatory policies toward the native Maori people
 
Hm....wasn't there people in the US before we European assholes invaded them ? Wherever the white man went, he destroyed. Question remains though if others would have behaved differently if they'd had the possibilities.
 
There we get back to social intelligence.......
Ian Thorpe Added Sep 17, 2017 - 1:51pm
I've always said educational qualifications are a poor measure of intelligence. My BA in literature opened doors for me when I was younger, even though I worked in computers, but all it proves is I'm good at talking bollocks about books.
Here's how I think of the life skills versus paper qualifications issue: Suppose you are on your way to visit South Africa when your plane comes down in the Kalahari desert, killing everyone on board except you and one other passenger. Would you prefer that other person to be:
a) A Theoretical physics academic
b) A San bushman returning from a cultural visit to Europe?
Stone-Eater Friedli Added Sep 17, 2017 - 1:55pm
BTW: How can you notice that someone is intelligent ? When he listens to what you say first, instead of trying to flood you with his own blather.
Leroy Added Sep 17, 2017 - 2:40pm
"a) A Theoretical physics academic
b) A San bushman returning from a cultural visit to Europe? "
 
I would want a professor like on Gilligan's Island.
opher goodwin Added Sep 17, 2017 - 2:45pm
Leroy - as a biologist I have to point out that we haven't been around long enough to have evolved much. The differences between races are totally superficial - skin deep. Our genetics is pretty uniform In terms of most attributes were are still pretty equal - the bell curves will sit nicely together. Evolution is slow. We as a race are new.
opher goodwin Added Sep 17, 2017 - 2:46pm
Leroy - the differences within races is greater than the differences between races.
opher goodwin Added Sep 17, 2017 - 2:54pm
William - it is certainly true that certain races have developed in conditions that have created differences in physiology. Slavery for instance created an artificial selection for strength and stamina. Certain high regions of Africa created efficient systems that favoured long distance running because of low oxygen levels. Some tribes had sexual selection to create tall or short people.
I do not deny there are physiological differences and anatomical differences. These can come about relatively quickly. What I do dispute is that there is any major change in the human condition that will be drastic enough to affect brain development.
IQ tests, as I regularly used in my profession, are not accurate enough to use as anything other than a rough guide. They have too many cultural biases and inaccuracies. I worked with them. I used them regularly.
Instead of your rudeness perhaps you should learn to think and debate rationally instead of resorting to abuse.
I am a professional in this field. I am not a liar - and I base my thoughts on sound science. What do you base yours on?
Ian Thorpe Added Sep 17, 2017 - 3:16pm
Leroy, well if we're into wishful thinking I'd have a red haired movie starlet like in Gilligans Island (although that was about 50 years ago, I'd guess she's hanging now) and hope the survival skills I learned as a boy in Shropshire would be enough to get me out of the place alive.
Stone-Eater Friedli Added Sep 17, 2017 - 3:31pm
Ian
 
I know which movie you have in mind. Just watched part 2 last night LOL
Stone-Eater Friedli Added Sep 17, 2017 - 3:33pm
the differences within races is greater than the differences between races.
 
Bold letters, Opher.
Stone-Eater Friedli Added Sep 17, 2017 - 3:36pm
BTW Opher
 
Your reply to William is spot on. And that realization doesn't require an IQ of 140 ;-)
William Stockton Added Sep 17, 2017 - 3:58pm
opher, this is how stupid you are.  Let me explain it in simple terms so you can understand.
You have accused me and others of racism here (abuse?).  Yet you say that all race is just a social invocation to categorize people and has no biological basis (race is only skin deep).
 
So why then would you need to call anyone a racist if race is not science nor real?
 
You are a double-talking fuktard using race as a weapon.  However, you then fall back to race being biologically non-existent when it suits you.
Gawd you lefties are fucking stupid and hypocritical asshats!
John G Added Sep 17, 2017 - 7:19pm
Libertarians eh?
They are perfection personified to themselves.
To stupid to know they're stupid to others.
Saint George Added Sep 17, 2017 - 7:59pm
New Zealand is well known for its discriminatory policies toward the native Maori people.
 
Deny, deny, deny.
Katharine Otto Added Sep 17, 2017 - 8:55pm
Opher,
I think you captured the spirit of my article in saying there are many other qualities that are at least equal and maybe preferable to what we call "intelligence."  
 
I would also claim "intelligence" is contextual, depending on where you live, the culture you live in, and what it takes to be a functional member of that society.  It's a much larger concept than IQ tests can measure.  I'm glad you have worked with IQ tests, so you know of what I speak.
Katharine Otto Added Sep 17, 2017 - 9:00pm
William,
 
Jordan Peterson is the very professor I was referring to in the article, and I don't think much of him or his ideas.
 
I also think the race issue is overplayed, and nobody benefits.  I'm a fan of gene-mixing, myself, but for other people, since I chose not to propagate at all.  The planet is overpopulated, and it didn't need me to reproduce. 
 
My main point is that by focusing so much on only one human quality, we might miss others of at least comparable importance.  We have the potential for great diversity and learning from each other, but all this one-upmanship, based on arbitrary standards helps no one.
Katharine Otto Added Sep 17, 2017 - 9:03pm
Stone-Eater,
Social intelligence?  As Opher says, we haven't evolved that much yet.  Maybe we can learn to cooperate before we poison the planet or nuke each other out of existence.
Katharine Otto Added Sep 17, 2017 - 9:08pm
Ian,
I'm a big believer in what I call "Survival Skills Technology," which includes the resourcefulness to be able to make the best of any situation.  Resourcefulness is a kind of "intelligence."  George Romey mentioned "wisdom" above, something which is also nigh impossible to measure.
Katharine Otto Added Sep 17, 2017 - 9:15pm
Dr. Green,
I've heard that some African slaves taught their white plantation owners many secrets of irrigation and planting, which their tribes had developed in Africa.  We don't know much about the "native intelligence" they brought with them.  Too bad.  
 
Who knows what knowledge the whites wiped out with the genocide of Native Americans?  By extension, I wonder how many natural remedies and other folk wisdom have been destroyed by European guns and attitudes wherever they (we) have gone.  They trampled cultures without ever trying to understand them.  Is that "intelligent?"  Not in my book.
Katharine Otto Added Sep 17, 2017 - 9:17pm
Leroy,
We in the West have a cultural bias about what constitutes "success," too.  In my silver years, I've begun to re-think what "success" means, and I'm not convinced our society has figured it out.
John G Added Sep 18, 2017 - 4:23am
It's a shame you can't break free of the junk economics and fake knowledge that you cling to Katherine.
The road you are on leads to dystopia and poverty for all.
Stone-Eater Friedli Added Sep 18, 2017 - 7:59am
Katharine
 
I wonder how many natural remedies and other folk wisdom have been destroyed by European guns and attitudes wherever they (we) have gone.  They trampled cultures without ever trying to understand them
 
Yep. I can sign that. I have gotten some insight into that in alll those years in Africa. I had malaria 3 times and with the help of traditional medicine it never lasted more than 2 days ! No need to use that pharma stuff.
Leroy Added Sep 18, 2017 - 8:28am
"We in the West have a cultural bias about what constitutes "success," too.  In my silver years, I've begun to re-think what "success" means, and I'm not convinced our society has figured it out."
 
For sure, there are other factors.  In the European conquest of the Americas, it wasn't so much intelligence that gave the Europeans the advantage; it was disease resistance.  It was more akin to germ warfare.
The Burghal Hidage Added Sep 18, 2017 - 8:35am
When setting out to sea it is always wise to remember that the Titanic was built by the experts, the Ark by an amateur.
George N Romey Added Sep 18, 2017 - 8:54am
Some of the worst human beings in history were extremely intelligent. Intelligence doesn't always translate into morality. As SEF correctly points out there is social intelligence, clearly lacking with many of our leaders.
wsucram15 Added Sep 18, 2017 - 9:47am
This article is not about morality though George. Its about intelligence vs being smart (I would say wise).
The difference between intelligence and "smart", is that Intelligence is not learned, look it up.  This is the tested concept and while it cannot solve ALL the worlds problems is something you are inherently born with.  You can have all of the intelligence in the world but without motivation, its worthless.
 
Smarts or being wise, is something you are taught or learn and again without motivation its worthless.  I put skillset here...and I know more people that do well in this area than in natural intelligence.
 
Social intelligence or cognition, is something many really intelligent people dont have. Social literacy may be the most important skill as a human you have.  George is correct here, this is the disconnect you see with some leaders.  They develop diplomacy..its not the same. 
 
TBH...excellent point. Touche' You know what else I have found, in some cases, not all but some..holistic and natural remedies are so much better than our highly educated and intelligent medical profession in the US. 
 
 
 
Leroy Added Sep 18, 2017 - 9:55am
"When setting out to sea it is always wise to remember that the Titanic was built by the experts, the Ark by an amateur."
 
I would take divine guidance over experts every time, assuming there is such a thing.
George N Romey Added Sep 18, 2017 - 9:58am
What good is intelligence if its not used in a productive means? Some of the worst human beings in history have been geniuses.  But the mix needs to include empathy,  compassion and caring. Otherwise an empty suit with no human value. So yes intelligence does get overrated. 
wsucram15 Added Sep 18, 2017 - 10:05am
Like I said..intelligence without motivation is useless.  Perhaps I should amend that to "proper motivation". 
Anything without empathy is a waste of time.
john guzlowski Added Sep 18, 2017 - 10:16am
You said "waxed eloquent."  That's a cliche.  Is a cliche a sign of intelligence or the opposite -- or is it a non factor in judging intelligence.  
 
Thank you.
 
I'll wait for your response.
 
Sincerely,
 
John
George N Romey Added Sep 18, 2017 - 10:35am
In our data driven world the intelligent quant types have come into demand. Despite big data epic fails it still rules supreme while wisdom and experience are considered so yesterday.  In the book Shattered the Clinton campaign ignored the rust bel states because whiz kid Robby Mook had "data" that said these states would be solid Democratic.  The staffers on the ground in those states many of them with years in the trenches were ignored in favor of the whiz with the exhaulted data. Intelligence is far overrated. 
Michael Cikraji Added Sep 18, 2017 - 10:40am
If everyone were super intelligent, it would be a VERY BAD thing. Look at Norway for example. Everyone there is a goddamn genius. Sounds great, right? NO!
They've got nobody to clean the public restroom toilets, nobody to clean chimneys, nobody to be a garbage man! Why? Everyone there is busy working on their goddamn third PhD dissertation....
Stone-Eater Friedli Added Sep 18, 2017 - 11:03am
Michael
 
LOL. A refreshing comment.....and actually, it's true !
Stone-Eater Friedli Added Sep 18, 2017 - 11:04am
Jeanne
 
Anything without empathy is a waste of time.
 
The ultimate one.
William Stockton Added Sep 18, 2017 - 11:19am
"We have the potential for great diversity and learning from each other, but all this one-upmanship, based on arbitrary standards helps no one."
 
I agree, Katharine.  Weaponizing sex or race differences is a tactic used by the malevolent.  Our societies will have moved past these race issues when we can praise each other for our differences . . . I hope that can happen.  The first step would be for us to stop using skin-tone as any classification for political merit or accusations.
wsucram15 Added Sep 18, 2017 - 11:25am
Thanks SEF..Ive been preaching that one on here for almost 4 years.
Simply Jews Added Sep 18, 2017 - 11:26am
Katharine, you've asked a lot of good questions in this post.
 
I would dare say that intelligence by itself, while it probably could be measured, is only a tool given to us by a play of DNA (or God, if you prefer). Still, it is only a set of tools, using which we can develop into experts in some field. Being an expert definitely doesn't make us wise. Indeed there are many famous experts who happen to be blind and pitiful in everything but their chosen field.
 
That same intelligence could lead us a bit further to develop some wisdom, which (in my personal book) is a much more valuable trait. Not all are getting there, of course, and even for those who attain wisdom, it could be used in not very humane ways. But it is quite another subject.
mark henry smith Added Sep 18, 2017 - 1:15pm
Thank you, Katherine. I have had many discussions with many people regarding this topic.
 
The theory supposes that only intelligence can save us from ourselves, since so much of our current success has been driven by new gadgets and medicines, but can intelligence be guaranteed to create a more perfect morality? Are we morally better than our ancestors? Can we find an answer without limiting the argument?
 
As far as survival of the fittest meaning what we want it to mean, that the intelligence we value is shown by accepting the aggressive model of success we promote in this culture, shows a misunderstanding of what survival of the fittest means. The random changes in our DNA that allowed us to become the creatures was are, upright, big-brained, bipedal, opposable thumb, took place eons ago. The explosion in technology is extremely recent. Maybe the intelligence that allowed us to survive and come to dominate the earth is not because of our advances in technology, but despite them, and all of these things we've made that we believe will protect us from nature's vagaries, might be the seeds of our demise, or vast diminish-ment when conditions change.
 
What Darwin saw was that over time, small changes in the DNA (of course he didn't know about DNA, but did know about selective breeding) changes that might not provide an obvious advantage now, allow individuals with those change to have an advantage in finding a niche to exploit.
 
Many of the niches being exploited now are fabrications of humans that exist outside of natural systems. That humans like to think that they can exploit niches devoid of understanding the total effects on natural systems and have that work long term isn't smart at all.  
 
    
Ray Joseph Cormier Added Sep 18, 2017 - 3:25pm
Katharine, what a refreshing 'common sense' article. I 'liked' it.
 
This line is so true: They may be clever, but they are not smart.  If they were smart, they would have figured out how to teach stupid children to read and write, stop wars, feed the hungry, and prevent disease. 
 
I posted this on my FB page Sept. 13. Click on the script to see the image;
Yesterday I was Clever, so I wanted to change the World.
Today I am Wise, so I am changing myself.
Henry Ortiz Added Sep 18, 2017 - 3:38pm
I think we "sometimes" get confused and forget that intelligence, wisdom, knowledge and common sense are different things.
 
Vikings, Ancient Greeks, Medieval Europeans,us (today). they/we were/are all intelligent, the difference is what we all have done with it, and what resources we all have had.
Katharine Otto Added Sep 18, 2017 - 3:58pm
Lots of thought-provoking comments here.  I could call them "intelligent," but that's just my view.  I believe curiosity and open-mindedness are signs of intelligence, and I don't believe this is hard-wired.  
 
The willingness to keep learning and evolving beliefs may be a sign of intelligence or of wisdom and maturity.  
 
I don't believe intelligence is a fixed quality, even if IQ scores remain stable.  Some people are better test-takers than others.  I do believe open dialogue, such as we have on WriterBeat, stimulates consideration of many viewpoints, and I enjoy the diversity of interests and opinions.
 
Is that "intelligent?"  Not for me to judge, but the questions and answers are fun to read.
George N Romey Added Sep 18, 2017 - 5:48pm
Intelligence  is overrated because it's proven the most intelligent people often make bad decisions.
opher goodwin Added Sep 18, 2017 - 6:43pm
Sef - that is a biological fact that I gleaned from a research article on DNA from a sound source in the journal Nature.
opher goodwin Added Sep 18, 2017 - 6:45pm
Michael - no they would have made the robots do the shitty jobs so they could have time debating, playing, solving problems and creating things.
opher goodwin Added Sep 18, 2017 - 6:46pm
William - I can't believe what I am reading. I agree with you. Praise the differences but know they are skin deep.
opher goodwin Added Sep 18, 2017 - 6:49pm
Mark - You are right - not many people understand survival of the fittest - it can mean the slowest, quietest, stupidest, less courageous, most retiring, best coloured, or simply the ones resistant to the latest virus. I wrote a book about that.
Leroy Added Sep 18, 2017 - 6:50pm
It's not so much how you get yourself into a situation.  We all can make bad decisions.  It is how you get yourself out that counts.
opher goodwin Added Sep 18, 2017 - 6:51pm
Katharine - I reckon there are signs of intelligence here on WB (in amongst the entrenched verbiage)
Ray Joseph Cormier Added Sep 18, 2017 - 7:55pm
Prime example of US Intelligence doing the same thing over and over again, getting the same failed results, but still doing it.
 
EXPORTING US DEMOCRACY
Glenn Verasco Added Sep 18, 2017 - 10:55pm
I love it, Katherine!
 
My experience as a high school teacher has taught me A LOT about multiple intelligences, which I think is what you are implicitly referring to.
 
 
Some of my students can write a clear thesis statement at the drop of a dime, some can't do it when I am practically dictating what to write to them.
 
Some students can answer the most puzzling and counterintuitive questions I present, but those same students cannot answer the most basic, literal questions you can imagine.
 
Some students laugh hysterically at my most subtle jokes, other students think I'm being serious.
 
Some students glare across the room at anyone who makes a peep out of turn, others cannot comprehend that they are disrupting the class.
 
When I started teaching, I thought people were blank slates for the world to paint. Now I know that people are unique individuals with their own gifts and flaws. Being a teacher is all about helping them find their strengths and overcome their weaknesses. :)
opher goodwin Added Sep 19, 2017 - 3:47am
Glenn - I'm glad you recognise the different types of intelligence that exist. There is quite a range that IQ tests do not do justice to.
John G Added Sep 19, 2017 - 4:58am
opher goodwin Added Sep 19, 2017 - 5:41am
John G - I'm surprised to find you on a thread discussing intelligence! Still only capable of a few words I see (well five to be precise).
Billy Roper Added Sep 19, 2017 - 10:14am
I'm perplexed as to why, if intelligence is overrated, the different races have not contributed equally to human civilization, science, and technology.
Michael Cikraji Added Sep 19, 2017 - 10:57am
Billy,
It has largely to do with climate and resources. In general, people in warmer areas tend to move slower and get less done. People in colder areas feel the push to be more active, because they have to plan things out ahead of time... or they'll freeze to death come winter!
Ian Thorpe Added Sep 19, 2017 - 11:28am
Opher, I've understood since school days that "survival of the fittest" means "the best equipped and most able (fit) to adapt to environmental changes," not who goes to the gym most often or can run a marathon in under two hours. I agree that most people do not appear to understand this including, unfortunately, some scientists who seem dedicated to the cause of helping the unfittest to survive and perpetuate their genes.

When we talk of survival of the fittest, politically correct thinking is not part of the deal. One ought to call to mind the lines from Tennyson's poem "In Memoriam,"

Tho' Nature, red in tooth and claw
With ravine, shriek'd against his creed

Though Apple and Google executives may blather that the next stage of human evolution will be our merging with computers, in fact, given that computers have neither DNA nor reproductive organs it is more likely to be a return to knuckle dragging, tree dwelling, hairy arsed creatures. Yes, evolution is widely misunderstood.
George N Romey Added Sep 19, 2017 - 12:41pm
Years back we celebrated what Henry Wallace called the common man. The person that was average. Went to work or cared for a household, good family person, a good neighbor, respectful, responsible.
 
Starting in the 80s you no longer could be average. Everyone demanded the best. Now the average is the above average.
 
Ian I agree we are going and we go back in time. We will learn that average makes the world stable.
John Minehan Added Sep 19, 2017 - 3:11pm
A good novelette on this issue is Cyril M. Kornbluth' s The Marching Morons.  I read Murray's The Bell Curve and wondered if he wasn't doing a satire on Kornbluth's novelette . . . but that was Idiocracy.
The Burghal Hidage Added Sep 19, 2017 - 7:33pm
Katherine -  You should read Dr. Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs and Steel.  A brilliant work rooted in sound science it speaks to the origins of human intelligence and culture as impacted throughout history by differing environments. It provides a thorough explanation for the apparent disparities of development of one culture vs. another. There is no "superior" race. Most of our differences are rooted in little more than an accident of geography.
Katharine Otto Added Sep 19, 2017 - 9:04pm
So many good comments and observations here I don't know how to respond.  Thanks for all the insights, folks.
 
On a personal note, I have been trying to eliminate the ants from my kitchen without using poison.  They are oblivious to boric acid, diatomaceous earth, and chlorine.  I've had to raise my cleaning standards, but even that only sort of works.  Now I must accept the sad fact that the insects are more intelligent than I am.  At least they go dormant in winter, so there's hope.
 
Billy, I believe different cultures contribute different things to "world consciousness."  Our Western love affair with science and technology has come at a huge cost, such as perpetual war and internal strife. I'm not sure everyone would agree that we are any more "civilized" than other cultures.
 
Burghal,
I'm familiar with "Guns, Germs, and Steel," but haven't read it.  I have read Diamond's "Collapse," and was impressed.  Thanks for the recommendation.
 
Katharine Otto Added Sep 19, 2017 - 9:07pm
John M,
I've never heard of "The Marching Morons," but will see if I can find it.  My stack of "To be reads" is mounting, partly because I'm spending so much time on WriterBeat.
 
How do you people manage to italicize, anyway?
Katharine Otto Added Sep 19, 2017 - 9:10pm
Ian and George,
If we can re-capture some of the best from the past, it would be a good thing.  I'm sad to see we've lost so much of value, as we rush headlong into an uncertain future.
Katharine Otto Added Sep 19, 2017 - 9:16pm
Glenn,
You sound like an inspiring teacher.  I, too, believe in encouraging people--not just students--to go with strengths and interests.  They may not become millionaires, but they will derive more enjoyment in life.
 
In line with that, I've been wondering if our notion of fitting people to jobs rather than vice versa is debilitating for society.  I figure it would be easier to do in small business and harder in corporations and government.  
Katharine Otto Added Sep 19, 2017 - 9:18pm
Ray,
I followed your link.  Chilling, isn't it?  Is this what we call "civilization?"  That version of democracy is what I call clever but not smart.
George N Romey Added Sep 20, 2017 - 8:30am
Katharine we seem to be recreating the situation that caused a Great Depression and then a world war. We think because we have new technologies we are immune from past mistakes.
Minister Peaceful Poet Added Sep 20, 2017 - 8:54am
I used to think I was stupid because I never graduated from high school, didn't do very good in school and then I became tech support.
 
I've helped computer engineers get their computer back online so I figure I'm not so dumb after all. 
 
 
George N Romey Added Sep 20, 2017 - 8:58am
MPP I have found people with a high school degree working in blue collar jobs have a much better grasp of our economic situation. They understand it's mostly greed and myopic thinking. Those with fancy degrees want to blame it on convoluted ideas of globalization and technology forces.
Stone-Eater Friedli Added Sep 20, 2017 - 12:44pm
What gets you through life smoothly is social intelligence. Without that, no matter which "IQ" you have, you will fail in the end.
Katharine Otto Added Sep 20, 2017 - 3:09pm
George,
You seem to be talking about the people who feel the ground-level effects of grandiose policies, that work only on paper and in theory.  The blue-collar types know they are being bullied and conned but don't know what to do about it.  
 
In the public mental health system, I dealt with the jobless, homeless, and drug/alcohol abusers, who have learned how to work the system's perverse incentives to survive.  These people had "street smarts," and I had to admire them for it.  Too bad the system itself is so dysfunctional that the down-and-outers had few other options.
Katharine Otto Added Sep 20, 2017 - 3:16pm
MPP,
You sound like a case in point.  Neither high school nor college degrees prepare people adequately to function in the "real world."  I'm a fan of tech schools, myself, where students are trained and get hands-on experience in doing something useful.  Too bad high school and college don't incorporate more work skills training, up to and including paid positions, even if only part time.  
 
There appears to be no direct correlation between college--especially liberal arts college--and the outside working world.  I got my first job after-college job because I could type, from doing term papers.  I went back to school later, which anyone can also do.
Katharine Otto Added Sep 20, 2017 - 3:26pm
Stone-Eater,
Social intelligence is probably harder to define than IQ, but I agree with you.  Maybe social media plays a role in helping develop it.  Also, despite the hype against formal education, classrooms do provide situations in which students can develop social skills.  So does church (even for atheists), and other situations that bring people together for some group agenda.
 
Shared purpose is a great facilitator for social intelligence.  I think of musicians in concerts, actors in plays, and other opportunities where people cooperate to make everyone shine.
Katharine Otto Added Sep 20, 2017 - 3:28pm
John M.,
And I figured out how to italicize, by seeing the obvious, after admitting my stupidity (i.e. ignorance) for all the world to know.
 
There is value in admitting what you don't know.
George N Romey Added Sep 20, 2017 - 3:57pm
Katharine the anger has spread to the white collar world particularly older workers that are let go but never hired again. Some of what we see is heartbreaking. Those that worked so hard and at age 55 are competing with the people you described for public assistance. This is what our top down economic policy has brought us.
 
I will disagree I think many Americans know what needs to be done just there aren't any leaders with any balls and the system has been rigged so we can't do for ourselves. I firmly believe the elites want to resolve entitlements by getting most people to self abort before age 65 and based upon recent suicide rates they are succeeding. What's happen to a once self reliant people makes me sick to my stomach. 
 
When the system becomes rotten it destroys self sufficiency. This is the same system cooked up by supposedly the smartest ones in the room. We give away manufacturing and people from the factory floor to the plant engineering office lose their jobs. Yet we scratch our head and wonder why retailing is dying and debts are soaring. This is what the elites dreamed up?
Dr. Rupert Green Added Sep 20, 2017 - 6:03pm
@Katharine. We in the know are aware of the books outlining the agricultural and other skills the enslaved Africans brought to America.
Katharine Otto Added Sep 20, 2017 - 10:35pm
George,
Your comment deserves its own blog or series of blogs. Maybe people know what needs to be done but don't know how.  The nanny state has been brewing for a long time, and your guy, FDR, was a major promoter. As promised in a comment on your blog, I've picked up FDR's biography again, re-reading the first hundred days.
 
You're right that self-sufficiency has been undermined, along with people's initiative.  Why try if you have to compete with the government, which has assigned itself the authority to control every aspect of your life?  The down-and-outers have been broken by the system, then are blamed by the system for being crippled.
 
I believe it's a mistake to hope for leaders.  Leaders got us where we are now.  I believe the winds are shifting, but not in the directions others predict.  The industrial age has peaked, and Americans aren't consuming as much as before.  There is a more frugal mindset afoot.  People like us would do well to celebrate the idea of reducing consumption and getting more value for money, including taxes.  Remember the song with words to the effect of "Freedom means nothing left to lose?"  There's value in that.
 
Katharine Otto Added Sep 20, 2017 - 10:38pm
Dr. Green,
I wish I knew more.  There's a lot of folk wisdom, remedies, and skills out there, too, that books don't cover.  I hear bits and pieces of it, from time to time.
Katharine Otto Added Sep 20, 2017 - 11:27pm
Today, I read a most timely and pertinent blog post on mathwithbaddrawings.com, by Ben Orlin, a math teacher.  This post, "The State of Being Stuck," is about an interview with a world renowned mathematician, Andrew Wiles, who solved a 400-year-old math problem, "Fermat's Last Theorem," and the secret to his success.   
George N Romey Added Sep 21, 2017 - 8:41am
We are in an economic death trap. Weaker demand leads to cut backs and employers have excess labor. So employers cut wages and make more jobs part time. The entire process keeps repeating. To add insult to injury our government gives us a made up unemployment number and jobs number. Do some research on those new jobs created  each month-its a totally made up number.
 
I don't trust government and I trust big business even less. They are in bed together to take this country for themselves. I sincerely believe they want the 90% to die or self abort before age 55 as not to add any financial burden onto government or the private sector. I've come to realize there is great evil running the show. An FDR, JFK or Eisenhower would not be possible today. We are living through the Final Solution Part 2,
Katharine Otto Added Sep 21, 2017 - 11:54am
George,
Most depressing, and I agree with a lot of it.  The "health care industry" is intent on treating people to death, or at least until their assets are exhausted.  I believe that's why "physician assisted suicide" is gaining support, even though Dr. Kevorkian went to prison for doing the same thing.  Euthanasia is becoming more accepted in places like the Netherlands and Denmark, and doctors are passively going along, wimps that they are.  People can always rationalize what they want to do.  It's the basis for the mandatory Affordable Care Act, a government-guaranteed subsidy for the insurance companies.
 
The aging are seen as burdens to society, and it doesn't help that they are seeing themselves the same way. Before the Industrial Age, the concept of retirement was unheard of, or people were expected to take care of their own families.  The elderly had more self-respect and respect from the culture.  At least, that's my romanticized view.  Useful skills were passed on from generation to generation.
 
Now, with FDR's great idea of Social Security (which I'm on), retirement is not only more attractive but mandatory, but the "unintended consequence" is those retirees are costing the government more than it wants to afford.  Not only that, but the Baby Boomers, who have the most accumulated wealth on Wall Street, are withdrawing their money.  The stock prices are going up while value is going down, forcing businesses to cut costs to show the profits their stockholders have come to expect.
 
This new generation of throw-away people (Baby Boomers) has been caught in the cross-currents, but who could have seen this coming?  Those who rode the crest of the wave have never learned to deal with the troughs, so may be particularly bitter.  
 
I suspect we are seeing two "economies," one for the institutions, and one for the individuals at the ground level.  The government propaganda is geared toward the institutions and Wall Street "investors."  The ground-level economy includes the black market, and those who use commodity money, barter, and other methods of exchange, under the radar.  There's more to it, because it's a comprehensive philosophy that has to do with a prevailing attitude more than anything else.  
 
Your despair doesn't help you.  When you attach so much self-worth to job and paycheck, you short-change yourself.  Read the above-referenced blog on the value of being stuck and recognize your current situation as a phase.  Also, my earlier WB blog on the recycleusedpeopleprogram may inspire more hope.
 
George N Romey Added Sep 21, 2017 - 1:07pm
Katharine I've never tied my self respect to any job, at least since I was age 30.  I do miss what a steady good paycheck provides in the form of comfort and security.  I've never been good at sitting still and when money is low your options become limited.
 
If I knew today what I knew then I would have skipped college and became a truck driver when that paid a good living.  Many of us got taken in by the entire "college will set you up for life" mantra (and be sure to go back and get that MBA).  Our parent's lives were greatly enhanced by education.  Now its nothing more than a talking point by the Democratic Party that has no answers other than "go to college!"  Absolutely pathetic.
 
You touched on something important.  We live in a finite world yet we think money is infinite.  We think government can spend to the nines, even on totally worthless endeavors like the Middle East.  Investors think companies can continue to grow sales and profits to no end.  All of it has led to the gimmick economy.  Asset prices soar and money is put into the economy at historically unknown low interest rates yet it still spurs no real economic activity other than for the elite few that game the system for themselves.  This is nothing more than dying sign of an economy and society.  Think of the heroin addict with needle tracks all over their body shooting up once again for that high.
 
None of this sustainable.  At some point the totally fictitious unemployment rate and job creation, retail sales number, inventory production rate, etc. will no longer hide the fact that we are in a modern day version of the Great Depression.  In the 1930s at least FDR didn't deny reality.  Today Trump has become nothing more than another cheerleader for the team losing 42-0. 
 
As I've said before its sad and bewildering when everything you knew and honored becomes a total farce.  This is what has happened to more and more Americans.  There are still many in denial, just look at some of the posts here on WB.  They might stay lucky or one day they will get an email to come to the HR director's office.  They will find their HR director and their immediate manager sitting with somber faces.  They will be told nothing against you but we must make cutbacks in order to stay competitive or keep the same level of profits.  They will be sent away if they are somewhat lucky with a severance package.  For those over age 45 they will in all likelihood enter a bizarre world unimagined.  Then their value system will also be turned upside down. 
 
I understand why people here (and everywhere else) will vehemently deny what is happening.  They deep down fear that occurring to them.  I remember back in 2010 or so the site Gawker had stories of the unemployment.  In the threads would be these awful stories of people sleeping on couches of family members, getting their food from food pantries. begging social services for assistance, sending resume after resume out with no response, going on job interviews (that take money to attend) with never a call back.  It was very difficult just to read, yet somehow I thought "oh no that will never be me, I'm safe at my job and could get another one within six months if something did happen."  Wrong.
Katharine Otto Added Sep 22, 2017 - 10:31am
George,
Yes, we as a nation, and probably as a world, are in a state of denial.  It may explain why we are so quick to lash out at anything or anyone that confronts it.
 
You and I, and some others on WB, have at least acknowledged how betrayed we feel.  That threatens deniers, who then turn their fear and rage on the messengers, but the number of messengers is growing.
 
Others, who "go along to get along," don't want to admit they've been conned, so they continue to be used.  They want to identify with the "winning team," so "identify with the aggressor," as Freudians say. That willingness to compromise on principle comes at a gut level cost, so those people must "look good to feel good."  That's where the US stands now.  Of course, there are exceptions, and I admire your honesty, because it's hard to admit when you feel used and betrayed.
 
I'm curious.  If you were giving advice to your 30-year-old self, based on what you know now, what would you say?  By 30, you had already gone to college.  Now, even truck drivers are suffering.  With the banking industry and stock market so unreliable, the old advice to work hard and save for retirement no longer seems valid. There are no safe havens.  This is a dilemma I wrestle with and have no answer. 
 
George N Romey Added Sep 22, 2017 - 1:12pm
Katharine a great post. I'd tell any 30 year old if you have a mechanical ability get trade skills. Even consider a job on an oil rig or cargo ship. Those office jobs will continue to be low salary, unstable and tremendously boring. Find a niche if you can.
 
What I've learned over the past few years is that our government is far worse than Hitler and more chilling. We've have killed millions of people including our own to promote our hegemony for the .1%. True evil. Now there is good evidence that many of the top elite have for years been engaged in human trafficking, including well known names.
 
There will always be the naive sent to slaughter. In the WW2 concentration camps people would think they were being sent into warm showers and that's what the guards would often say to calm prisoners and get them into the showers. 
Katharine Otto Added Sep 22, 2017 - 9:16pm
George,
I agree about the trade skills.  I took a photovoltaics course at the local technical school.  If I hadn't gotten into medical school, I was planning to return to school in alternative energy engineering.  It seems to be coming into its own.
 
G. Edward Griffin, in The Creature from Jekyll Island, claims the Federal Reserve is owned by five families, but he doesn't say who they are.  Do you believe they are part of the .1%?  I keep wondering who these shadow figures are and how their strategy works.  Do they control through the central banks, through loans to governments?  We know names of many rich people, but the real string-pullers probably use other people's money and hide in the dark.
George N Romey Added Sep 22, 2017 - 10:03pm
Katharine the Fed is owned by the major New York banks. The Fed is there to bail them out like they did with trillions in QE. Most of the powerful stay well out of the spotlight and do not want their names public. You can get some of their identifications from research, very few would be known names. A few people like Jamie Dimon and Lloyd Blankfein are publicly known.
 
Trump was never invited in because of his brash and loud behavior. He doesn't fit the mold. The Council on Foreign Relations CFR is supposedly the primary organization for the Deep State.
 
Furthermore there are former special ops members and others that know of these groups that claim many of the CRF are tied to human trafficking, including some very well known political names. I'm not 100% convinced of this but I wouldn't be shocked. These people over the years have killed the Kennedy brothers and MLK, lied us into two wars and endless skirmishes and were part of 9/11. I'll write more on 9/11 over this weekend. True scum. And our political leaders are for the most part enablers.
 
While I have doubts about Bernie Sanders he is the only one to call them out because they all are millionaires and billionaires and they do control government for themselves only.
 
And to your original thesis all of the Deep State could be called brilliant. It's just they are also psychopaths and sociopaths too. Some real sick puppies. They hide behind their lobbyists, clandestine organizations, PACs and middle men. Katharine start to watch some YouTube videos or check out some good books and your world will be open to an untold, pure evil, terrorizing world.
John G Added Sep 23, 2017 - 9:50pm
The Basics of Modern Money.
I'm sure neither of you doom and gloom merchants will watch this but at least I tried.
Quite why you choose to believe the gold bugs over empirical evidence is not evident to me. They are just people with an agenda and they're not giving you any proof or even substantive evidence of their 'theory' (I tend to believe it's a deliberate false narrative).
The basic fact is that only congress can spend into the economy and tax out of the economy and only the treasury can create and destroy net financial assets in the private sector.
You've been conned.
Saint George Added Sep 24, 2017 - 3:03am
LOLzZ! Communists posting YouTube videos purporting to teach us about money and capitalism!
Katharine Otto Added Sep 24, 2017 - 1:28pm
John G,
I watched your You Tube, and disagree with the basic premise.  It only tells me we don't need the government.  I don't believe in "growing the economy," for one thing, so the government's excessive growth is anathema to me.  What the government spends on, like wars, federal bureaucracy, and legislation, only gives me more reason to hate it.  
 
Katharine Otto Added Sep 24, 2017 - 1:43pm
George,
I'm beginning to think the 1% is a myth.  People like Jamie Dimon use other people's money to wield their power.  I'm more inclined to believe all those government employees (federal, state, and local), as well as everyone who has IRA, 401(k), or financial investments, are heavily invested in the status quo and being used by the "Deep State."  It's a case of "compromise the opposition," or "hire the opposition."  Like the Jews being told the gas chambers were hot showers.
 
Washington and Wall Street have been co-dependent since Alexander Hamilton was Treasury Secretary. With the creation of the Federal Reserve and income tax in 1913, the stage was set for the federal government to reach more deeply into individual pockets than ever before.  The creation of tax-deferred retirement savings gave the government and corporations the means to use that money for enormous worldwide power grabs, with no one the wiser.  Those who control large pots of money, like public retirement funds, are only interested in profits, not in quality, environmental concerns, social concerns, or fairness.  Mere employees often don't know or really care how their money is used.
 
A friend of mine asked her "wealth manager" to sell stocks in companies that do animal research.  He told her it was too hard, so she dropped the issue.  That's where we stand and why the 1% continues to thrive.
 
The Occupy Wall Street movement missed the point. A more effective movement would be to Abandon Wall Street, but middle America doesn't have the courage to do that, at least not yet.
George N Romey Added Sep 24, 2017 - 2:23pm
Katharine you are right. People scream about the 1% yet support the 1% by overt consumerism. If people began to lead more simplistic lives and not become further indebted to the criminal banking system for more consumerism it would hit the 1% hard.
 
Americans are usually their own worse enemy. The corrupt cabal took over because we as a nation let them.  
Katharine Otto Added Sep 24, 2017 - 7:24pm
George,
Thanks for the affirmation.  When I had more money, I wasted it and bought things I'm now trying to get rid of.  Possessions really do tie you down.  I think the younger folks are realizing that.  Slow to buy homes, get driver's licenses, have babies.  
 
Wealth ain't what it's cracked up to be.  It makes you predator bait.  
George N Romey Added Sep 24, 2017 - 7:40pm
Katharinwhen I did have money I spent it on travel.  I've never been big on material possessions,  too much stuff to maintain.  Now that I'm poor its been much easier to adjust.  I haven't been in a mall since 2012. I haven't been to a doctor since 2009.
 
When the fall comes people are going to have a hard time adjusting to having much less.
Katharine Otto Added Sep 25, 2017 - 12:16pm
George,
While I agree the system is unraveling, it's hard to know how, when, or what will precipitate its fall.  Like with termites in a building's foundation, you don't know when the building will  collapse, or what will remain that's salvageable.
 
I'm not kidding when I encourage people to work less, earn less, spend less, and pay less in taxes.  And grow food.  Growing food is not easy, I've found.  I admire farmers more than ever.
 
Also, your post about 9/11 shows how the Deep State, such as it is, can turn disaster into a profit-making venture.  The fall you predict may only play into their hands.   We as a society seem to place way too much value on money for its own sake, having been seduced by the Deep State mind manipulators into believing it has real value.
mark henry smith Added Sep 25, 2017 - 12:33pm
I believe that we underestimate the survive-ability of the consumer mentality. It accepts that anything can be turned into a product with the right marketing and the right protections from infringement.
 
Look at what the puppet masters have done. They've convinced the brightest and the best of our elites to become moneymen, as if the answers to our problems can be found in the accumulation and distribution of money, when any philosopher knows that answer the answer to our problems is always found in the accumulation and distribution of resources. We fail to understand the difference at our peril. Sorry, did that sound too intelligent? I hope not.    
George N Romey Added Sep 25, 2017 - 1:50pm
Katharine with the eventual fall in our debt based non productive economy many will be forced to live with less. It happened during the Great Depression. Consumerism won't die, it didn't in the 1930s. However people with live in smaller dwellings, have fewer and older gadgets, dress simpler, etc. This will be a damper on larger companies and of course jobs. I see a jubilee coming as Americans will default in mass and throwing people out of their home will become a social thunderbolt.
 
The 1930s cleansed the system and set the stage for an eventual vibrant middle class. If this occurs again maybe we can hold onto a middle class living longer than just 50 years.
Katharine Otto Added Sep 27, 2017 - 11:24am
MHS,
There is consumption and there is "consumerist mentality."  The money churning frenzy that has gripped the US (and maybe the world) is neither desirable nor sustainable, I think.  There are so many demands on time, attention, and allegiance that I feel overwhelmed and often don't know what to do first.  I certainly have to make careful choices about how I spend and usually have little left over after taxes and food.  I suspect many others feel the same.
 
I agree that anything can be turned into a product, but I don't agree with protections from infringement. The value of a product comes from the effort expended in creating it, and if you have a prototype, you can always prove authorship or inventorship, if necessary. Neither Benjamin Franklin nor Thomas Jefferson believed in patents.  Public domain technology allows everyone to take ideas and creations to new levels.
 
The rules for individuals are different from those for corporations, which may be a big part of the problem. Individuals no longer have the rights nor access to lawyers that corporations have, and this is how the "puppet masters" pull the strings.  ("Marionette masters"?)
Katharine Otto Added Sep 27, 2017 - 11:35am
George,
I don't dare predict what may happen in the future.  I see in the present indications of what you are predicting.  
 
For all his provocations and insults, John G. makes a good point when he says the government holds a monopoly on the money it creates for the purpose of paying taxes.  It has an unlimited supply, by that token.  
 
What he doesn't say, or appear to realize, is that the empty money has decreasing buying power for goods and services, and taxes take an ever-increasing bite. This destroys initiative for working and paying taxes, and for supporting the government(s).  Witness the brouhaha over the NFL and the national anthem.
 
If, as I've realized on my own, government exists to fund itself, we have to wonder about the relevance of government, especially since it spends so much money on things I passionately disagree with.  Laws exist to provide jobs for lawyers, but that doesn't mean the laws are just or morally superior in any way.
 
If the jubilee is coming, as you say, I would hope that it means the dissolution of most laws.  I believe this is already happening, as evidenced by the underground economy and black market.
George N Romey Added Sep 27, 2017 - 1:36pm
Katharine I believe we have enough laws they just aren't enforced. Look at how Obama let every banker off Scott free. If we had a government that actually governed for the people we'd probably need less government interference. Big money interest could not buy the system. This would take recreating our government which will only happen with social revolt. 
 
BTW this article is falling well below in the ranks, might be time for another great article.
Katharine Otto Added Sep 28, 2017 - 3:06pm
George,
Working on it.  Spending more time on other peoples', like yours.  Plan to get off politics awhile and back to health care and science.
George N Romey Added Sep 28, 2017 - 3:41pm
I hope that's natural healthcare and real science. Medicine today is about making generational addicts.