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What Is the Key to Intelligence, Can One Really Get Smarter?

  1. May 15, 2013 #1
    Is intelligence the ability to imagine new prospects, and then follow them through? Is it raw computing skill, or the ability to focus various brain centers at once so a strong mind can juggle multiple problems at once (characteristic of Aspergers)? With goal directed activity, with a finish line in mind, it may be accessed as emotionally being able to navigate the harsh waters of life. In another context, it could be the ability to first volunteer the (correct) answer. Regardless, when I think of widening horizons, I think fabout time spent walking outside, playing music, thinking with focus and sleeping a lot. While certain activities like cardio exercise, nutrition, or learning a new language are sure to help, the central question remains. What is intelligence, and can one draw from a source, the type is immaterial, to increase this base trait.
     
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  3. May 15, 2013 #2
    You can be as intelligent as the average super genius, but still be a fumbling fool. Which is why I recommend wisdom above intelligence. Take Grigori Perelman, for example. He's considered one of, if not the greatest mathematician alive today. But he rejected both the Field's Medal and $1 million dollars, which makes him an idiot and ignorantly selfish. Fine, don't use the money on yourself, but what about others?
     
  4. May 15, 2013 #3
    I think it's beyond any of us to say precisely what it is. My best guess is that it has various incarnations, which is why one person can develop the Theory of Relativity, another can write Hamlet, and another can compose the Goldberg Variations. However, this also makes it particularly hard to define. Perhaps intelligence is simply excelling at something.

    As for the question regarding "getting smarter," that's extremely difficult to answer. It's a part of the Nature vs Nurture debate, and I'm not going get into that right now.
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2013
  5. May 15, 2013 #4

    reenmachine

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    Why exactly did Grigori Perelman owe to "others"?

    The man heavily contributed to mathematics and all reports suggest that he did it for free (without salary) at least for a couple of years before posting his three papers.

    If accepting the money and the fields medal was a problem for him (for any subjective reasons) , it's really his business.
     
  6. May 15, 2013 #5
    One day Grigori is going to look back and punch himself in the face for rejecting the money.
     
  7. May 15, 2013 #6

    reenmachine

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    If he turns into a money-driven person , I'm sure somebody will be willing to hire him for a 6 figures salary.
     
  8. May 15, 2013 #7
    Perhaps money is not a concern of his? Why does that make someone an "idiot"?

    You can say the same about other things, too. You don't like a certain food, what?! what are you, an idiot? You don't like sex? Are you stupid? You don't want a new car, what's wrong with you?

    See how dumb your paragraph was?

    Grigori Perelman is a brilliant mathematician, who doesn't really care about money. So what?
     
  9. May 15, 2013 #8
    Pretty touchy question. Hmmm. I think, in my opinion that intelligence is ill defined. It's really a matter of opinion.
     
  10. May 16, 2013 #9

    Ryan_m_b

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    General intelligence is a good example IMO of a reification. There's this odd idea in society that the more intelligent you are the better you will pick things up but in my experience it's incredibly topic limited. We've had many threads on this before, seems like they pop up every few weeks. I'd suggest doing a forum search.
     
  11. May 16, 2013 #10
    When something is both practical AND logical, like receiving $1 million dollars (especially when Perelman is living in the basement of his mother's house), declining such an offer suggests a mental disconnect. Perelman was trying to make a statement, but it comes off as "I'm above these formalities."

    The man is a genius, no doubt, but a 40+ year old living with his mother? get a life (get wise). Hence, wisdom > intelligence. @ OP, don't confuse the two.
     
  12. May 16, 2013 #11

    Ryan_m_b

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    Who are you to judge someone for living with their parents? How exactly is it indicative of "mental disconnect" that someone doesn't follow the same path as everyone else?
     
  13. May 16, 2013 #12
    To "judge" him, I'd have to condemn him to some form of punishment. What I did was state actual facts, and emphasize the absurdity of his actions. Denial, a problem dressed as an opinion. It's not about following the "same path as everyone else", it's about identifying and diagnosing the ethical issues of a nearly 50 year old man living with his mother.

    Reminds me of a quote from the film Good Will Hunting; " I mean, you're sittin' on a winning lottery ticket and you're too much of a pussy to cash it in."

    Perelman needs to wake up.

    www.youtube.com/watch?v=XOfFkVCdLQo
     
  14. May 16, 2013 #13

    Ryan_m_b

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    It isn't a fact that living with your parents as an adults a sign of a mental disconnect, nor is not accepting $1 million. If you have evidence to the contrary from an acceptable source then please post it. Otherwise it is just an unsupported opinion. And what exactly are the ethical implications that you are "diagnosing" of a man living with his mother?
     
  15. May 16, 2013 #14
    You might as well say it isn't a fact that piggy-back riding an intoxicated rhinoceros whilst flexing a wheelie on a 10 year old girl's tricycle is a mental disconnect (using your logic). How do we assert if such a situation is true without the proper evidence? do you want to try and ride the back of an African wild animal on your sister's bike to find out?

    No one is denying Perelman's genius and colossal contribution to the mathematics community. But if I said, "Hey Ryan, I see you're living at home at 40 and pretty much broke. Here's 500 Grand. And you said "No thanks, I'm fine." - Give me a valid reason why everyone on the face of the planet shouldn't call you an idiot.
     
  16. May 16, 2013 #15
    From what I've read of him, Perelman is just a guy with really strong principles and has strong (personal) ethical convictions behind rejecting prizes from mathematical organizations. It is his decision. Not one that most money-centered people such as you and I would make irrespective of our principles, but it doesn't make him stupid or an idiot. At most, he is reckless and irresponsible as far as the rest of his family is concerned, but I'm guessing his mother wouldn't have him around if she didn't agree to some extent with his decision.

    Though this guy takes it to the extreme, there are places in society for people with a personality like his: politics and law enforcement.
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2013
  17. May 16, 2013 #16
    "Reckless and irresponsible" - you're being generous. I don't think you understand the gravity of his situation. That's 1 million dollars, that's twice the 500 grand or four times a quarter of a million. I'd like to see you turn down those figures in front of your friends and family and NOT hear them call you an idiot accompanied by a beat down.

    Debating the decisions of a mathematician I don't know personally is pointless though. In my opinion, he's brilliant but foolish.
     
  18. May 16, 2013 #17

    reenmachine

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    You seem incapable of understanding or accepting that some people don't value the same things as you.You also have no idea whether or not Perelman is truly in need of money.What do you understand about the "gravity" of his situation that we don't? I know nothing of Perelman's situation because I do not know him.
     
  19. May 16, 2013 #18

    WannabeNewton

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    Wait, so he's being criticized for not being greedy? Wow, that's a first. Just because you are obsessed with money doesn't mean he has to be as well. You know what's stupid? This argument.
     
  20. May 16, 2013 #19

    reenmachine

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    In this day and age , is this really a first? I'm pretty sure I've heard many people being criticized for preferring a modest lifestyle and valuing other things over money.I don't care if people spend their energy trying to accumulate money , but when they start being condescending it gets on my nerves.The same is truth with people "sacrificing" their lives to raise children that tries to make you feel cheap because you didn't make the same sacrifices.
     
  21. May 16, 2013 #20
    You didn't seem to read the full length of my post, I said maybe you or I wouldn't make such a decision. And you could do without the intelligence-insulting remarks.

    Believe it or not, there are people out there who have principles that are stronger than their materialistic desires. Not everybody has a price. And that's a good thing. I want people like this to work in law enforcement, politics, and similar. Society would be a better if we selected the most self-less, incorruptable people into positions of power that can potentially be abused, instead of out-casting, insulting and berating them for not being like most of us, as you are encouraging.
     
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