Human Intelligence Manifests in Multiple Ways
I often say that a mathematician thinks in numbers, a lawyer in laws, and an idiot thinks in words. These words don’t amount to anything. I think you have to draw the conclusion that there is a global riot against pseudo-experts. I saw it with Brexit, and Nigel Farage [leader of the U.K. Independence Party], who was a trader for 15 years, said the problem with the government was that none of them had ever had a proper job. Being a bureaucrat is not a proper job. __ Nassim Nicholas Taleb
Nicholas Taleb is the author of several books which look at the dynamics of human societies from a contrarian point of view. When prompted by a mainstream interviewer to discuss Donald Trump, Taleb repeatedly confounded the interviewer’s attempts to get him to condemn the American president.
Well, with Trump, Modi, Brexit, and now France, there are some similar problems in those countries. What you are hearing is people getting fed up with the ruling class. This is not fascism. It has nothing to do with fascism. It has to do with the faux-experts problem and a world with too many experts. If we had a different elite, we may not see the same problem. __ Nicholas Taleb
Taleb seems immune to the journalist’s attempts to shape the interview, because while the journalist is limited to thinking in mere words, Taleb sees more deeply into the reality underlying the words. This is something that most journalists, social scientists, and other intellectuals seem unable to do. This is because Taleb is not only an author and wordsmith, he is also a statistician, a financial trader, and a risk analyst. Such activities imply putting “skin in the game,” and going far beyond the trite and pompous intellectualism of the modern age.
You can see in the graphic above, that the verbal component of the IQ score is only one part of the whole. There is no good reason why journalists, social scientists, and other intellectuals should dominate and distort modern societies so thoroughly — particularly in the age of the internet.
And sure enough, The Audacious Epigone points out that alternative viewpoints are beginning to pierce the bubble of politically correct mainstream intellectuals. On the internet, the philistines are beginning to make substantial inroads on the elite insider intellectual establishment of news journalism. While the elites call “foul!” and protest against the “fake news” of the newcomers, too often it is the established elites who are guilty of faking things.
The dominance of dishonest, rent-seeking intellectuals and pseudo-intellectuals is not limited to news and entertainment media. It extends into universities, foundations, NGOs, political lobbies and activist groups, intergovernmental organisations, government bureaucracies, legal groups, and all other cultural institutions within society.
The Dominance of Word-Thinkers is Like the Tail Wagging the Dog
Modern success is built on advanced science, mathematics, technology, telecomputing, and other wonders that go deeper, higher, and farther than the manipulation of the surface meanings of words. Successful modern societies and economies are not successful due to their word-thinking intellectuals, but in spite of them. Intellectuals are like “ambulance-chasers” who latch onto successful enterprises and attempt to extract rent from them. And no wonder, since attorneys make up a substantial portion and driving force of all groups that use words to control power and influence. You could say that many of today’s intellectuals are the parasites and zombies of the “respectable world,” and make the reign of the elites possible.
It is the Full Range of Human IQ that Successful Societies Need
… you might say that countries depend on those with IQs of 120 and above. These are the people who can follow “college format” education in which they read provided references and work out the implications for themselves, guided by tutor and test feedback. The USA can rely on 8% of their people to do such work, Mexico 2%. If countries can find such people, retain them, and deploy them properly, with a good pyramid of helpers below, then the country concerned has a good prospect of doing well. However, given global competition, countries need many people of IQ 130+ to really prosper, and such people tend to emigrate to the strongest economies, where they will earn most, so less able countries are often denuded of their brightest citizens. The USA can rely on 2% of their population to do such work, Mexico 0.3%. __ James Thompson
Countries such as Mexico, Brasil, and South Africa have plenty of people who fit the description of journalists, philosophers, and intellectuals. But because of a lack of generalised competence in science, technology, mathematics, and other more practical areas, such countries cannot build competent societies to compete in the modern era. Low average IQ is part of the problem, but a much bigger problem is lack of “smart fraction” persons who are strong in maths and the sciences and technologies which require a strength in maths.
Dishonesty of the Elites is Not Limited to Intellectual Fields
Modern elites have focused upon particular areas of science which offer them immense rent-seeking opportunities for parasitism and influence peddling. By controlling what is published within a particularly trendy area of “science,” elite string-pullers and their operatives-in-place can channel lucrative government favours — into the $trillions over time — to themselves and their cronies.
All of this potential for past, present, and future loot comes as a result of seizing control of the verbal narrative, and growing and milking opportunities for cronyism, graft, and rent-seeking into the fabric of government and intergovernmental policies.
Under Obama, such cronyism thrived. Not only did Obama double the US national debt, he transferred hundreds of $billions from the productive economy into the coffers of corrupt foundations, fellow travelers, and anti-western, anti-capitalist activist groups. Can President Trump reverse some of the damage that Obama caused?
People don’t realise that Obama created inequalities when he distorted the system. You can only get rich if you have assets. What Trump is doing is put some kind of business sense in the system. You don’t have to be a genius to see what’s wrong. Instead of Trump being elected, if you went to the local souk [bazaar] in Aleppo and brought one of the retail shop owners, he would do the same thing Trump is doing. Like making a call to Boeing and asking why are we paying so much. __ Nicholas Taleb
With the election of Donald Trump, new voices enter into public discussion. The old intellectual elite no longer has total dominance of what is heard by the public, although the “backlash of the elites” against Trump is certainly quite intense and visible to anyone who looks and listens.
And yet, the elites could not stop Trump from being elected. In fact, they played a part in Trump’s triumph in the Republican primaries by encouraging Democrats to register as Republicans and vote for Trump in primary elections. It was a strategy based upon the belief that Trump was “unelectable.” Needless to say, the strategy of the elite backfired.
Expect to see many more such “backfires” and “shooting themselves in the feet.” As uncomfortable as Trump’s foot must feel inside his own mouth at times, the discomfort of elite intellectuals repeatedly shooting themselves in the foot must be incomparably worse.
Turbulence Ahead: Hope for the Best, Prepare for the Worst
It is never too late to have a Dangerous Childhood.
Rather than to say merely that “idiots think in words,” it is more edifying to say that “idiots can only think in words.” And today’s university intellectuals and typical media pundits do a pitifully poor job at that.
From a cognitive standpoint, words and language are a serial form — at least as used by media, social science professors, and other propaganda purveyors. Other forms of cognition — mathematics, patterns, body based intuitions, procedural learning and practise etc. — can take more multi-dimensional, parallel, simultaneous forms.
If a picture paints a thousand words, then some forms of cognition are more elegant and potent than others. Of course words are capable of so much more than imagined by our dumbed-down educators and media pundits. But only when they are skilfully integrated into the larger suite of cognitive processes.
The word is not the concept, the map is not the territory, the model is not the climate . . .
An Orientation Guide to Modern Higher Education
Recent anti-free speech riots at Berkeley and other college campuses and schools illustrate the utterly depraved and decayed nature of the modern intellectual’s verbal repertoire, on campuses and on the media.
Degradation of language and discourse among intellectuals and academics has accelerated rapidly since the 1997 revelations of Sokal and Bricmont in “Fashionable Nonsense.” Back then, the rot had extended mainly into the humanities and social sciences. Now there are very few fields of work or study where the rot has not penetrated.
Overturning Pseudo-Experts; Escaping the Comfort Zone
When most humans are herded into a milling mass of conformists, comfortable with the politically correct talking points handed down to them from above, “common sense” takes on a different and somewhat ominous meaning. This is what we see when the indoctrinated herds are confronted with new ideas and directions of thought — no matter how well supported these ideas may be by research and detailed observations.
For tamed conformists to escape the comfort zone of groupthink is one of the most difficult things they will ever do. As Albert Einstein said:
If we can surmount our discomfort and cognitive dissonance long enough to weight the facts, we can escape the herd and begin thinking for ourselves — in as many modes of thought as we are capable of.