Am I Smart?

I’m on vacation for a couple of weeks, so instead of updating and explaining the news, I’m going to wax philosophical. Today’s topic: Am I smart as I think I am?

You, of course, can apply this question to yourself (if you’re smart enough).

In my case, you’d think the answer was obvious. I can’t possibly be that smart.

Or can I?

In my experience (which, admittedly, is pretty weird), people who think they’re brilliant are usually pretty stupid. Think of all the bloviating types you know who are full of themselves, have all the answers, and insist those are the right answers. You know who I’m talking about. Those guys are almost always wrong.

It’s usually the people who have doubts that have brains.

As you also know, I have all the right answers. Therefore, I am stupid. No one with this kind of confidence can possibly know what she/he is doing.

But wait! I realize I’m an idiot — therefore, I’m a genius.

But wait! Since I now know I’m brilliant, I can’t be all that intelligent.

But wait …

You can see my problem (if you’re smart enough). There must be a better way to resolve this issue of intelligence. This is not only vital for your self-esteem (unless you’re too dumb to care), but it’s also critical for those of you doing hiring. You need to find job applicants who are not only insightful but also aren’t mired in a never-ending spiral of wonder about their own abilities. Believe me, I could have accomplished a lot more in life if I hadn’t been worrying about this issue. Or at least I think I could …

Anyway, I do have some suggestions for determining intelligence that could be applied to yourself or others.

Comprehension. Can you explain why the dumbest people keep getting elected to office? Is it possible that the smartest people are being elected to office? But if they seem to be the smartest people …

Oh, never mind.

A better question is: Is reality real?

Visual perception. Do you believe what you’re seeing? Really, do you believe it?

Arithmetic. Story problem: Two lawyers are going to court from opposite ends of town. One is driving three times as fast as the other. The other is riding a bicycle and has a 50% chance of slamming into an opening car door. What is the Rule Against Perpetuities?

Memory. What is the Rule Against Perpetuities? Has it always been that way?

Creativity. Create an alternative, more plausible definition for the Rule Against Perpetuities. For example, it’s a ban on old people on hip-zoned areas of the city. Or it’s the key element of R.A.P. music designed to limit endless beats. Or it’s a limit on how many games on Jeopardy you can win.

If you can get someone to believe your definition, you’re a creative genius.

Logic. Explain why the Rule Against Perpetuities can’t last forever.

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