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Perspectives of the Mind

  1. Nov 16, 2003 #1
    I have this habit of always attempting to look at things from a different perspective. I've found it often helps me if I can understand the thought processes of someone else and how they arrive at particular conclusions.

    So has anyone ever tried to picture the mind of someone vastly different from themselves. Say, someone who substantially more or less intelligent that yourself? For people less intelligent- say someone who is mentally impaired, I try to correlate it with my childhood, and how I percieved the world when I was young. I imagine it must be very similar to that in some ways. Or someone more intelligent that yourself in at least an order of magnitude. I see how they must view mere mortal beings such as myself. The same way an average person views a mentally impaired person. Persons of great intelligence are often percieved as arrogant. But is this truly the case? Imagine how mentally impaired people percieve people of normal intelligence. To them, are we not arrogant and codescending? Maybe the arroagance and conescention is derrive from an extreme lack of patience.

    One example. I once had the priveledge of playing chess with this very intelligent guy. His IQ was somewhere in the 180's. Now, I'm a casual chess player, not ranked at all, and I've never entered a tournament or considered it in my life. I play for the simple enjoyment of the game. But still, I am pretty decent all the same. He was playing a bunch of people and we played a few games. The first game was so not close you'd have thought it was my first game ever.
    After the 2nd game he became impatient and started showing me my mistakes. It wasn't that I was making a lot, simply that he could see more moves ahead than I could. It was more then that, but that was a major factor. He came across as arrogant and condescending. But I put myself in his place, and if I were trying to teach someone who'd never played before, I could see where it could become a chore.

    Maybe it's a personality flaw, but his actions did mirrror the actions of how an average person would treat someone who was mentally impaired. Maybe there's a connection there.
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 16, 2003 #2
    yeah i like to try and see things through other people eyes and minds. Not that i read them but i like to see why people do the things they do. You'll be surprised to find the answer after studying them for a bit. I like to let people know straight out what i think but still keep them answering. Like if i need to borrow some cash from family I'd call and say hows my bestest brother in the whole wide world doing? They obviously answer with either how much do you need or I'm broke.

    But as for the smart looking a bit down on the average i would assume that they don't prefer the company unless it benefits them like maybe the average person may not be great at chess but if you show a sense of humor then maybe that opens up his humor too. But people tend to make snap judgements before they get to know the other but if one tries to get to know everyone then one would not have much free time. Unless you see freedom in getting to know the people. He of course would lower the average person because chess is a game after all and in games you must try to win. I play against any newbie in a game that I take pride in and win easily i either have fun in the beginning but i tend to grow weary of it. So he probably played plenty of chess with people who don't meet his match and tends to find it repetitive and find himself unchallenged. Just a little snap judgement on why the 180 IQ guy seems arragont and condescending.
  4. Nov 18, 2003 #3
    One of the biggest problems that I have with my grandson who is now 8 is trying to explain things or answer his questions in a way that he can understand without appearing to be condesending yet answering him truthfully and completely. It can be quit a challenge.
    As far as the chess player, if he were truly arrogant and condesending then he would not have pointed out your mistakes and tried to teach you to play better. You obviously showed some promise or he would not have bothered. By the way the best ways to learn to play better chess is to play some one better than you and teach some one else to play better. Athird way is to find a friend that plays at your level and play often enough and hit the books to try to beat each other. This way you both learn and benefit from the work of the other.
  5. Nov 18, 2003 #4
    I wonder if the masses appear condescending to our seniors. I know that when I reach that age I will have had a very full life. I will have attained a great deal of knowledge. I also know that people will treat you like you are worthless.
    I seen an old guy on TV this week that was the test pilot for the Avro Arrow fighter jet. I immediatly thought, "Dang" I'm not worthy.
    Just a thought.
  6. Nov 18, 2003 #5
    Well it was more than just the chess game that leads me to the label of arrogant. The simple fact that I know his IQ, because he told everyone, unsolicited. The fact that he liked to brag about how smart he was, and how much better he was at this and that, then everyone else, blah blah blah.. you get my point. It was a combination of things that lended themselves to this label. I'm sure he has his reasons for acting out. But I'm not a psychiatrist, so I can only make an educated guess based on what I saw.

    But maybe you're right. The fact that he took time to teach me means something right? It was just the tone and the inferences. The impatience. But I could see where he might get to the point easily.
  7. Nov 18, 2003 #6
    Well he still can be like you discribed him but he decided to teach you a bit to make himself feel higher. If he brags his IQ then he obviously takes alot of pride in being smart and teaching others feeds that pride. Because to teach someone you must know something they don't. A sense of knowing more comes with it.
  8. Nov 19, 2003 #7


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    I don't know if the comparison of mentally challenged people to children is really an entirely appropriate one, even if it is probably adequate on some level. It's basically impossible to really know what it is like in someone else's head, although there are some ideas on the matter.

    Autistics, for instance, are said to think predominantly in visual images rather than auditory self-babble. There are also theories that part of their behavior can be accounted for by acute sensual experiences and/or a strong immersion in their own inner world. For me, the best analogy for this last part is not childhood but being under the influence of marijuana. I have had some experiences where I was so immersed and fascinated with what was going on in my own head that I had very little will/interest/strength to pay attention to or carry on a conversation. There was a very strong feeling of 'social inertia,' where carrying on a conversation becomes almost a Herculean chore. I imagine this is the closest I will ever come to understanding the social peculiarities of autistics.

    I guess the important thing to take from all that is that the childhood comparison is missing a lot. There is a big intelligence gap to be sure between an average person and a mentally challenged one, but I think the primary difference is the qualitative state of consciousness of the respective parties. I would say that intelligence differences are secondary to these qualitative differences. For instance, if autistics were not so absorbed in their own private worlds, they would probably be able to function better in society and thus would be considered more intelligent.
  9. Nov 19, 2003 #8
    I umm.. *cough* know what you're talking about hypna.. maybe you're right and that is a more accurate perspective. So then are we all "surronded by a fog" compared to the geniuses? It's a good comparison, but you're talking about a lack of focus and concentration.

    (I'm going to reorg this into tiers for simplicity - 1st tier mentally impaired, 2nd tier average, 3rd tier genius)

    So anyhow, you have a good picture of 1st tier compared to 2nd tier, but there are some key differences I think when differentiating 2nd and 3rd tier, 2nd tiers don't necessarily lack the focus and concentration that 1st tiers do. However they lack the ability to more quickly click things into place. It's a subtle difference no doubt, and I'm not even sure I can vocalize a comparison. It's more akin to the grasping of a concept. It's the ability to think not just with clarity, but in different demensions. it's as if tier twos are 2 dimensional while thoe select few can conceptualize in 3 dimensions. 1st tier can think in 2 dimensions,but the lines are just a little fuzzier then they are for 2nd tier. In fact I believe intelligence is geometrical in nature, and grows as such.

    Using this we can take a story problem. tier 1 wouldn't grasp the concept, and would instead focus on the unimportant details such as the people named in the story. Tier 2 would accurately and logically solve the puzzle by means of mathmatical deduction, While tier 3 would not only grasp the answer easily, but see the reverse engineering the led to the answer, and reform the question to better reflect the purpose of the question.

    that's my take on it anyhow, but then I'm not a super genius, so I can only make an educated guess.
  10. Nov 19, 2003 #9


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    I pretty much agree, Zantra-- I meant my comments to refer to 1st and 2nd tier, not so much to 2nd and 3rd. But I also wouldn't be surprised if there actually were some qualitative difference in how geniuses perceive the world as opposed to average people.

    Aldous Huxley, for instance, speculated in The Doors of Perception that some artists become artists because they actually see the world differently from most people. When he said that, he didn't mean that they have a different intellectual outlook on life so much as a different visceral perception of the world. I wouldn't be surprised if the typical genius has a visceral perception of the world different from the typical average layman-- perhaps some sort of subtle feeling of greater lucidity or ease of thought/perception, or something along those lines. What I am pretty sure of, though, is that the qualitative difference in consciousness between 1st and 2nd tier is greater than that between 2nd and 3rd.
  11. Nov 21, 2003 #10
    Yes, I saw that episode of South Park too (if you don't know what I'm talking about then, just ahem.. forget I mentioned it).

    Anyhow, South Park tries to integrate moral lessons into thier shows a lot more now(maybe some repentance for all the swearing;). One show was about retired people, and weather or not they shoould be allowed to drive. So at the end where they have thier moral conversational wrapup, Stan talks about older people having earned thier wings. And that while they do reach that age where driving is a danger to others and themselves, they shouldn't be treated like children, but with respect.

    I have a grandfather of my aunto who drove until he was 97 years old. When he was 95, he just up and bought a new car for cash(cuz when you're that old, you can do stuff like that:wink: ) But even beyond that, he was in my estimation, fully capable of driving at the time he got his car. He and I spoke a few times, but I wasn't really close to him. However, I remember I met him once, then didn't see him again for over 6 years. And when I did, he remember exactly who I was, and he was well into his 90's by then. He was perfectly lucid, no signs of mental impairment in the least. In fact I knew 40 year olds who were less together than he was. My aunt mentioned that he could remember things from when he was 5. Now granted, this is the exception to the rule, but If it were my call I wouldn't have denied him a license.

    But sadly there are those who drive well past thier prime driving age, and do pose a danger. Unfortunately I fear we sometimes don't take thier feelings into consideration as much as we'd like to or should. No, they shouldn't be allow to drive if they pose a danger. But they've earned the right of respect, because of what experience brings(I'll just toss that out and see if I get a nibble;). They may not be smarter, but 99 times out of 100 they've seen and done more then you have. And that my friends, is experience.
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2003
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