Parched Intellectualism

I noticed that Raven and Carole both challenged and pushed Pete to cite where he got his information from when he made a claim about something or related a piece of news, whether political, cultural, or health related. I saw another side to the boy I had been dating. He had a keen, sharp mind and could easily hold his own when his mother threw a question at him that contradicted some statement he’d made, forcing him to think about the subject from another angle. It was like a verbal sort of Ping Pong. Swifter and faster, arguments flew back and forth between them, sometimes the strain of the conversation snapping into laughter. I could not participate, but I watched and listened, soaking up their intellectualism like a thirsty plant. Here was a way of thinking and speaking that I had not been exposed to, but which was something I knew I wanted in my life. It seemed that the three of them had arrived at their liberal views of the world through educating themselves, analyzing ideas, investigating, and researching further what they had learned.

Synanon Kid Grows Up by C.A. Wittman

Brave Enough to Stay Smart


“Be careful, Dave.” My voice cracked; I didn’t want to be left on my own. “Don’t open any doors unless you know what’s behind them.”

“It’s okay,” he assured me. “I’m not brave enough to do anything stupid.” Then he began to descend the staircase.

The Reformed Vampire Support Group by Catherine Jinks

Purpose of Sentience


“That’s what I believe. I believe the universe wants to be noticed. I think the universe is improbably biased toward consciousness, that it rewards intelligence in part because the universe enjoys its elegance being observed. And who am I, living in the middle of history, to tell the universe that it—or my observation of it—is temporary?”

“I thought of my dad telling me that the universe wants to be noticed. But what we want is to be noticed by the universe, to have the universe give a shit what happens to us—not the collective idea of sentient life but each of us, as individuals.”

-The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Don’t Be Stupid


“We tend to learn more completely and better through acting in ignorance. Nature is not a cruel teacher, exactly, but has little patience for careless stupidity.”

Browsing Nature’s Aisles: A Year of Foraging for Wild Food in the Suburbs by Wendy Brown and Eric Brown

Common Corruption and the Fall of Government



It is only when the people become ignorant and corrupt, when they degenerate into a populace, that they are incapable of exercising the sovereignty. Usurpation is then an easy attainment, and an usurper soon found. The people themselves become the willing instruments of their own debasement and ruin. Let us, then, look to the great cause, and endeavor to preserve it in full force. Let us by all wise and constitutional measures promote intelligence among the people as the best means of preserving our liberties.

United States Presidents’ Inaugural Speeches by United States. Presidents.


Stick Finds a Voice


“But the poor stick had a problem – he couldn’t speak. So he couldn’t share his thoughts with any other forest creatures…who would believe a stick, anyway?”

“To his amazement, he discovered that he could draw lines to look like things.”

“He drew faster and faster. Finally he stopped. The dust cleared…and there was the most magnificent sight the forest had ever seen.”

The Clever Stick by John Lechner

Geniuses Make Mistakes


The phenomenon of “techie-celebrity” has almost spilled over into mythology. We all want to write something world-changing like Linux, or design the next brilliant programming language. Deep down we all secretly wish to be geniuses. The ultimate geek fantasy is to be struck by an awesome new concept. You go into your Bat Cave for weeks or months, slaving away at a perfect implementation of your idea. You then “unleash” your software on the world, shocking everyone with your genius.

But even if you are a genius, it turns out that that’s not enough. Geniuses still make mistakes, and having brilliant ideas and elite programming skills doesn’t guarantee that your software will be a hit. What’s going to make or break your career is how well you collaborate with others.

Team Geek: A Software Developer’s Guide to Working Well with Others by Brian W. Fitzpatrick, Ben Collins-Sussman

Controlling the Daydreaming

This Morning Sam Went to Mars is about a child who has trouble paying attention in school due to his love of daydreaming. He also loves writing fiction.

The ‘cure’ is a change in diet, a clear schedule (including sleep) and help (from mom, dad and teacher) with little things like organization and keeping to a deadline. There’s no mention of an ADHD diagnosis or medication – pro or con.


“People were always telling Sam to focus. When they did, he felt frustrated, sad and dumb. Sam’s dad knew he wasn’t dumb, so he brought him to a doctor…And then one day Sam got to school on time with his homework!…He also wrote a really great story that day”

This Morning Sam Went to Mars: A book about paying attention by Nancy Carlson

Intelligence and Human Value


And why do psychologists call it intelligence? Who gave them the right to define and then own that term? Surely many of them do well on these standardized tests. But just because they do well, does that mean that we must all accept that the thing they are measuring—which they are really good at—is the pinnacle of human intelligence? Why do we listen to them? …What if these careful, objective scientists had completely different experiences as children? What if they grew up being denied opportunities because of a low score on one of their very own tests? Would they be so quick to label their tests as intelligence tests? … Maybe they would hold different views about the development and nurturance of intelligence, and focus more research on how IQ interacts with the many other important life traits that are on offer, many of which aren’t neatly captured by a single brief test administered one slice in time?

I firmly believe we can recognize and value every kind of mind without diminishing the value of others. I don’t see intelligence as a zero-sum game: just because someone is talented (whatever that means) by the standards set by society doesn’t mean that the person who isn’t doesn’t have dynamic potential for intellectual functioning. There are so many different paths to success.

Ungifted: Intelligence Redefined by Scott Barry Kaufman