I had previously written (in 2004) that my goal was Wisdom.  I think this was my 26th post.  However, I want to log a few thoughts on intelligence.  I had read somewhere that intelligence is the ability to see signal in what would otherwise be perceived as random noise.

For example, when I see numbers and statistics, it looks like a jumble of Sanskrit characters.  It might as well be random.  However, when I see a painting, I see a pattern to the strokes and composition that other people might consider random.  This book I am reading, Flow, talks alot about each person finding the intricacies and detailed signal in certain things in their lives.  These activities give us happiness.

When a grand master plays chess, he/she sees a pattern and a larger movement, where I see a bunch of random moves.  Sometimes people believe that luck or divinity is actually creating the signal in the randomness.  People who believe in Creationism are citing God as the driving force and suspend disbelief and rely on faith.  Scientists believe in Evolution and rely on scientific methods to derive their conclusions.  Both are seeing a pattern which would otherwise be seen as randomness.
So can this definition of intelligence be reconciled with this?  Maybe they are both using intelligence to derive their conclusions?  Is intelligence a ‘good’ thing or is it just a tool to see patterns.  Even if those patterns are made up.  Are the stars randomly placed or are there archers and crabs and heroes in the sky?  Were those ancient astrologers not intelligent?  It seems pretty creative and thoughtful to me.  Hmm, not sure where this is going, but it’s interesting to think about.

In totally unrelated news, Jack White of The White Stripes has come out with a new album with another group called The Raconteurs. They have a song out called Steady As She Goes. (Lyrics)  I love the song.  Give it a try on their website.

One Reply to “Intelligence”

  1. Wisdom is how we use the knowledge that we gather from a lifetime of understanding signals (i.e. intelligence). Intelligent people may not be wise. Anyone can learn to play chess, but only some people see complex patterns, but it is a wise person that uses the lessons in chess to better understand other facets of life. Now learning how to be a wise-ass, that is another story for another time.

Leave a Reply