[ExI] high quality minds

Stuart LaForge avant at sollegro.com
Tue Sep 11 03:47:33 UTC 2018

Bill W wrote:

> OK, then, let's take a different slant - what is a genius?  There are
> plenty of people who have IQs above 145, like me, who have done nothing.

Oh come on. You've done a lot of things but more to the point, everything
you have ever done has been documented and logged by the laws of physics.
You will exist as a smear of holographic information on the cosmic horizon
for all of time. And that's just in *this* causal cell. In other causal
cells you live on in every possible permutation of your life. Be merry.
You have lived. The universe has noted this.
> I realized very early that I was deficient in imagination, creativity, or
> whatever you want to call it.  So I think we have to move beyond IQ. If we
> define genius in retrospect, anyone who makes a major contribution to the
> field could be called a genius, regardless of IQ.  Musical elites have
> estimated Mozart's IQ to be around 190, but Beethoven's only around 120,
> and arguably Beethoven was more creative.

Intelligence and creativity are properties of individuals. Genius is a
historical job description. Many are called to be geniuses, but few are
chosen. History is the tale of the journey of billions told from the
perspective of the few. Shit gets left out. It's just the way it works.

> Turning to math and science, I
> have no idea how to rate discoveries, but I'll bet some of you do.  The
> main definition problem to me is the binary nature of how we are using
> the word genius - have it or don't.  It's got to be more nuanced than
> that.

The way I see it, genius is something that can only be ascribed to someone
after the fact. A fact that is often brought to light by sheer luck or
grave necessity on the part of those geniuses. What this means is that not
every smart talented person gets to be a genius, because genius is not the
property of an individual but the union between a historic circumstance
and the ability of individuals in that circumstance to discern
opportunities in the noise of now.

> It seems to me that the greatest genius is the one who has made
> the greatest leaps in intuition, relying less on previous people, like
> Darwin did on his grandfather Erasmus (how much is known of this?).

Yes. But history is all too inclined to view scientific and technological
achievement as some kind of winner-take-all sport where one man must rise
above all others and push the world into the future.

I am inclined to agree with Ms. Ballard on this one. Progress is a team
sport and "genius" is a dumbed down story for the masses.

Strange that you would invoke Charles Darwin and not Alfred Russell
Wallace who may have even been your own kin. He independently discovered
the mechanism of natural selection at about the same time as Darwin yet
often gets forgotten due to the over-simplification of pop-culture
history. That and maybe being Scottish or some such nonsense. ;-)

Stuart LaForge

> On Mon, Sep 10, 2018 at 8:45 AM, SR Ballard <sen.otaku at gmail.com> wrote:
> In a certain way, I subscribe to both theories, but I don't hear it
> talked about much more. I think that the basic foundations of our modern
> science might have required geniuses. Not because non-geniuses would be
> incapable of discovering those things, but that non-geniuses require a
> modern-like education system and scientific apparatus in order to make
> the types of contributions that they do today. Without that framework,
> I'm not sure many non-geniuses would have the education or mindset to
> properly consider questions, and even less to formulate
> usable scientific answers.  After an initial foundation of education and
> scientific methodology is established, I believe most of scientific
> progress is inevitable. I do, however think that the 90/100 view is too
> rosy. Genius is really not all that uncommon, I don't think, and it is
> concentrated in scientific and similar fields.

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