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Monday, November 18, 2019

Saying the wrong thing: a brief autobiography

The difference between the higher- and lower-IQed is that the higher are generally capable of seeing patterns more clearly, and grasping more complicated concepts.

It's not that they don't do as many stupid things.

I'm a case in point. I was told when young that I had a high IQ, but over the course of my lifetime, that doesn't seem to have cut down the number of dumb things I've said in the least. (In all honesty, it may have increased the number.)

I probably say more awkward and social inappropriate things than an 85 IQer. (This is not false modesty.) These faux pas fall into three major categories.

The first stems from a lifelong desire not to be boring. (I can't bear the company of the boring, and am well aware that others can find me so.)  But if I try too hard to be amusing, or say the unexpected,  I often lose sight of social propriety. (Which, frankly, I've probably done with this blog.)

The second category has to do with wanting to prove my masculinity, or my nerve. Even worse, in order to keep up that somewhat hollow macho front, I'll sometimes feel compelled to do something foolish. I don't even need someone else to manipulate me by challenging my masculinity, I do it to myself.

The final reason is just my blunt nature. I wouldn't ask someone if a certain pair of pants made me look fat unless I wanted an honest answer -- so I assume others do, too. Most people, of course, know better.

Little white lies: at 65, I'm still gettin' the hang of 'em.

Those three reasons probably account for maybe 75% of all the dumb things I say. The other roughly 25% are simply mistakes, usually just sloppy errors.

I usually know I've said something stupid the moment it's out of my mouth. Still, that's a second or two too late.

You'd think I'd learn from my errors. But somehow, I don't. (And how dumb is that?)

I suppose the biggest conclusion to be drawn here is that you should never, ever say anything in an effort to prove you're not boring, or are macho. And, tact is always a plus.

I don't think I'm alone. I've seen many smart people make unforced errors, if not quite as frequently as me. (I hope for their sake that they don't spend their lives the way I do, reliving their worst moments.)

There's not a day I don't do that. And that may may be the stupidest thing of all.

Looking at this post the next day, I see it's worse than introspective: it's navel gazing about my navel gazing.


Anonymous said...

Good to see you're back writing again! Don't be too hard on yourself for occasionally saying the wrong thing. People need to toughen up these days and learn how to shrug off remarks that may come across as inappropriate, crude or insensitive. At least you have some self-awareness of your habits, as opposed to many boors and lunkheads who don't. I'd rather risk the occasional shocking comment from someone like you than be forced into sullen silence or have to guard my every utterance.

John Craig said...

Anon --
Thank you. I basically agree with you in principle. It takes a lot to offend me, so my baseline assumption is that others are like me, and so I trespass. But yeah, I generally prefer the company of stream-of-consciousness types to Emily Post-style good manners. That said, the fact is, I have made a ton of mistakes in my life, many of which leave me shaking my head later on and wondering, "What was I thinking?"

Runner Katy said...

Glad to see some content from you again! I would argue that at least as socially incorrect as some of the blog may be, we, your readers all enjoy it. Also, please don't spend your time reflecting on past mistakes. Especially since you said you don't learn from them. Just leave them there, in the past and look forward to the now and whatever fun mistakes may be coming soon. :)

John Craig said...

Hi Katy --
Thank you very much. (But if I didn't self-flagellate over past mistakes, I wouldn't be me.)

Hope you're doing well.

Anonymous said...

In the first place IQ tests measure intelligence as defined by the people writing these tests. Very little can be said of a person based on how fast they think in numbers or solve riddles designed by others. Objectively one can be good at math, i.e. think like a computer in numbers, but that really doesn’t tell you anything. Generally we know if someone is dumb as a rock or bright. We know that IQ test results usually fall in line with differences between the races being apparent (each of the 3 main races have a different skull shape and this surely does play a role in neural development). As a concept though, what is the point of intelligent. If two people are considered intelligent and one is a free thinker/independent/libertarian/Christian/conservative and the other is a liberal/statist, then intelligence means nothing. If one can be “intelligent” but a liberal, then intelligence is of no value. The Bible talks about wisdom and not intelligence and maybe that is something to strive for that actually matters. It could be that liberals see the patterns but let their emotions override the truth.

Whatever the case I appreciate your posts and welcome back. You do have a sharp mind and a perspective I wish was more prevalent.

John Craig said...

Anon --
You raise a lot of good points. IQ seems meaningless when you consider all the people who test above average but then believe the ridiculous propaganda that the media and academia feed them. Sometimes it almost seems that you have to have at least an average IQ to allow yourself to get so thoroughly brainwashed. (Blacks and Hispanics, who average lower than whites on those tests, don't seem to have bought into the Leftist mindset on anything other than race to the extent that whites have; which is why, for instance, Pete Buttigieg's support among blacks is so low.)

With liberals, I think it's partly that they let their emotions override the truth, but it's also that they let their egos override the truth: they've been brainwashed into thinking that "good" people don't notice certain patterns, and they want to think of themselves as "good," so they shy away from the evidence.

Thank you, but I'm not really "back." I'm going to continue to be sporadic, at best.