Specialness Issues….

This is something I found at The Dilbert Blog, maintained by the creator – Scott Adams himself. It struck a chord with me wrt the many things he seems to be discussing here. I may not be thinking completely rationally here, and maybe his article is just catering to a side of me that needs to be catered. But, have a read. I think it definitely will mean something to everybody!

I am putting here a few quotes that just meant something to me!

According to the experts, there are many forms of intelligence. Standard IQ tests only capture a few types. But you can also have musical intelligence, social intelligence, kinesthetic intelligence, and so on.

One type of intelligence that I never hear discussed – and might be the most important one – is the degree to which you believe you are “special.” Or to put it bluntly, the more special you believe you are, the stupider you are.

Your belief in your own specialness will blunt your conventional intelligence when it comes to many types of decisions. For example, if you are an Elbonian, and believe Elbonians are extra special, your approach to a problem will be “How should an Elbonian solve it?” as opposed to “What’s the best solution?” The next thing you know, you’re boiling a newt during a full moon to cure a headache, even though you have aspirin in the cupboard and know what it’s for.

If you have the same religion or political affiliation as your parents or your community – considering all the different choices available to you – then you probably have specialness problems.

When I discussed in this blog the question of whether the universe is intelligent, the people who believe humans are special objected, although they didn’t couch it in those terms. The objectors imagine Shakespeare writing those plays – a special human just like them – while discounting the contribution of the big old unspecial universe that gave cause to him. For this group, their conventional IQ is quite high, as evidenced by the sophistication of their arguments about proximate causes and semantics and intent and quantum randomness. But in the end, their conventional intelligence is thwarted by their sense of specialness. They are skeptics, damn it, and skeptics don’t accept an intelligent universe, no matter what that dictionary says is an acceptable definition of intelligence.

You can judge your own specialness quotient by your reaction to this post. If you are chuckling to yourself because humans are indeed inconsequential in the big scheme of things, you probably have no specialness issues. But if you are already writing a comment involving free will, quantum uncertainty, proximate causes, and alternate dictionary definitions of intelligence, you probably have a specialness problem.

[source: http://dilbertblog.typepad.com/the_dilbert_blog/2007/02/the_specialness.html ]

Yeah, I know – I have practically quoted the entire post. It may have hit upon me as a revelation, for the reason that I _did_ have specialness issues. The details are still something I am coming to terms with =)!

10 thoughts on “Specialness Issues….

  1. Was wondering where you’d gone off to… thought you got lost in the Erlangen snow 🙂

    Btw, haven’t seen you around. But then that’s cos I haven’t been around much anyway except for my work desk- don’t know what I’m talking about? I’m in Erlangen now 🙂

  2. Whoa, you are in Erlangen.. Well, I stay pretty close to where you work. I stay almost opposite the IKM office.. =)! How do you like Erlangen? I can only say one thing – I miss Bangalore =D!!

  3. So Henkestrasse I suppose? :).

    So far, I’m finding Erlangen fine :). I was all prepared to be lonely here, and wanted to take the first flight back home when I landed – cos I found the houses n streets so devoid of color! But some of my good friends have come here too, so now, I’m enjoying my time here. Have a month more to go.

    I can imagine you’re missing your friends quite a bit :). One year is a long time… and of course, nothing can replace Bangalore, and India, in fact. Look at it this way, soon you’ll be back home, luxuriously enjoying your time with friends and family… So till then, keep your chin up!

    Went to a place called Chiemsee over the weekend; Its a beautiful place… there’s a huge lake, and two islands that you can visit – have you gone there already?

  4. Yup, I have already been to Chiemsee. Btw, how was it this time of the year? Anyhoo, lemme know if you have any further plans of going places… Will try and join ya guys =)!

  5. The place was beautiful, and the backdrop of the snow covered Alps was breathtaking. I would love to see it in Spring though, because this time, all the trees were bare. But then, that does have some sort of a romantic beauty too 🙂

    Yeah, will let you know when we go on the next trip!

  6. Yup, been there.. Nice place.. Make sure that you take the subway system there k!! So easy to use and go through the boat trip that takes you around the 37 bridges of Paris allrite =)!

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