Congratulations! You’ve made 1,500 posts on WordPress!
^ Message received ^ this week
by O Society July 31, 2019
Got the above saying 1500 posts in a year, which is what, about 5 posts a day? Lemme see 1500/365 is… I used to be able to do this kind of thing in my head… more like 4 posts a day. I dunno why they think this site has been up for 6 years. It’s been one.
So if you are a regular reader of O Society – and I think we have at least 2 or 3 at this point – you will no doubt realize there isn’t much in the way of divulging personal information, stories about the kids and what we ate for dinner and the stuff which people usually blog about or do on social media. There are reasons for this. Yet is seems to go an entire year without saying anything personal is a bit weird.
Today is a rare exception – lucky you ha ha! – when we shall drop the guard so to speak, and talk about ourselves. M’kay? M’kay.
When I first joined Facebook 5 years ago, it was to post pics of my new daughter, basically so I didn’t have to try and keep track of who had seen her recently and who hadn’t. A PEZ dispenser for kid’s pictures. That’s what Facebook appeared to be from the outside.
I had some serenity about it in the beginning. I remember driving to work one morning and posting a picture of a gaggle of Canada geese I took out the window of my car. They were crossing the road, little babies and such, and there was more than one mated pair of adults, so it took a few minutes for them all to cross. Long enough for me to take a pic and upload it to Facebook and write a couple of sentences anyway. Car was stopped at the intersection and I couldn’t go anywhere, so might as well…
Can’t find that baby geese picture now, but here’s one I posted on FB later, which clearly illustrates the direction in which things were to go on social media:
That’s Bo and Luke Duke out the windshield of my car. We’re at the drive-in window.
As you might guess, after maybe 6 months of keeping my mouth shut, I couldn’t take it any longer. I started telling people, “Why no, Albert Einstein did not say ‘Everyone is a genius,'” which is a manufactured quote people post often on Facebook:
My intention was to try and help clear up some misunderstandings. It’s probably this guy’s intention as well. Don’t get me wrong, I am not an astrophysicist. My brother majored in physics and works for the patent office so he’ll know far more about Einstein than I do.
Do you understand all the details in a paper like ^this one^ the first time you read it? Because I don’t. I’m not that smart or well-versed in astrophysics or something. Like most people, sometimes I feel like I grasp what Einstein was talking about with relativity… then inevitably, something else comes along which makes me realize my understanding was shallow previously, and now it deepens. This is a tremendously humbling experience, and it happens repeatedly. This is how we learn. We get a big head, someone comes along with a tack and pops the thing, and as we hear the balloon go “Wheeee” flying all across the room, we realize we’ve more work to do.
However, I did read his book on Relativity, which you can find here and another book of his writings on ethics and religion and so on called Ideas and Opinions, which is here. So I can at least recognize his style of writing and the topics he tends to speak on because I read two of his books. Doesn’t make me special like a snowflake. Anybody can read these. That’s why I put the links here.
Einstein doesn’t say much about geniuses, much less stating you and I and he and everybody else is one. So this “quote” on what’s called a “meme” doesn’t sound right.
The way people typically measure genius is with an Intelligence Quotient. An IQ test. To see if you have one greater than your shoe size I suppose. The point is this IQ thing (whatever it measures) grades on a curve. A normal distribution, called bell curve because of its shape. Nerds call it Gaussian. Like this:
Now I don’t even know what my IQ is or yours and don’t care much. That’s not the point. This isn’t about bragging or ranking each other. It isn’t identity politics, here the identity being segregating the “Smart” people vs. “Stoopid” people.
What it is about is something should bother you about the statement, “Everyone is a genius.” Even if you don’t have this bell curve in front of you to see it’s probably more like 0.1% of us, the statement itself should bother you. Why?
Because follow the logic to its only conclusion: if everyone is a genius, then no one is – duh!
We can’t have a sub-population of the general population called “genius” if the entire general population is “genius.” To say so is just a stupid statement. And we shouldn’t let ourselves get away with stupid statements or with letting everyone else around us pass them around and believe in them. This entire process makes everyone more stupid than when they logged on Facebook in the first place. Why?
Because we live in a fantasy world. A world where I can believe whatever I want because it makes me feel good. The Disneyfication of America isn’t new; it began long before Facebook and Twitter and Instagram.
If you want to believe whatever you want, I can’t stop you and neither can anyone else, but for gawd’s sake, don’t blame Albert for it. It’s not his fault you weren’t paying attention and don’t know WTF a standard deviation is. Take some responsibility for yourself. Shit, c’mon man!
But no. What do we get instead? Idiots like this one called “James Thompson” making a case the average IQ is 82.
Lookit the Gaussian distribution above. The bell curve. The average IQ is set = 100 by definition. That’s how we define average. It can’t equal 82 -you blithering idiot-because IQ is a standardized measurement. Sure, the average person could get stupider over time, but the average IQ will always be 100, just like water always boils at 100°C (on earth at STP smartass). So what’s this guy’s motive?
Let’s lookit his charts:. Here’s the first diagram:
WTF does this even mean? The “fully honest” people live in Germany and the “dishonest” people live in Tanzania? C’mon, man! Shit! You don’t need to even be a scientist to ask a simple question in your own mind, such as how in the blasted blue Beelzebub do you measure the average citizen’s honesty by country?
What, do you go round asking Zee Germans (who just happen to be the most blatant example of WHITE PEOPLE in the 20th century) and Zee Tanzanians (whose country sounds so much like “Tarzan” even if you don’t know where it is on a map, betcha know BLACK PEOPLE live there so Tarzan is the only white guy around).
Don’t even read this guy James Thompson’s essay. I didn’t. He isn’t a real scientist. He’s a racist idiot making up shit to justify his racism. Real scientists know fish climb trees.
Well, maybe not most scientists, but biologists do, like this guy the Quantum Biologist. Did you notice even as this biology guy is debunking the “fish climb trees” thing, he’s blaming Albert for being wrong? It’s news to Albert…
“Everybody is a genius,” said certified genius Albert Einstein. “But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” Well, guess what, Einstein. It turns out that such a genius fish exists.
Surprise! ^ here ^ the biologist guy is wrong too. He’s saying “I’m smarter than Einstein because I know this and Einstein didn’t.” What a jackass!
You see where all of this is going?
Why belabor this point about fish being geniuses up a tree? Who cares about that, Einstein?
It isn’t this specific quote or meme which matters. What matters is the process. The medium is the message. What are we telling each other when we send each other make believe shit like this to make ourselves feel good? Where in the process are we going wrong here?
Why in the hell didn’t some think this through before making memes and passing them on and generally lowering humanity’s collective IQ towards James Thompson’s in the process?
Long before the Trump catastrophe of 2016, I’d figured out the people on social media who claim to know the most stuff are mostly full of shit. James Thompson is full of shit and so is everyone – including the “Quantum Biologist” – who didn’t pause long enough to ask themselves WTF does this quote even mean? Everyone is a genius?
Yes. I get different people are good at different things. Not everyone is good at the same things, namely being “intelligent” in an academic way (or whatever it is an IQ test measures exactly).
So if we say Mozart or Jimi Hendrix or someone like this is a musical genius, everyone knows what we mean. Great. We agree on something. Thing is, I look at a chart like this and say, yes, I’m better at say… the nature thing than the music thing… but I’m still not a “genius” at nature. Not in the sense Jimi Hendrix is with a guitar anyway. I’m not really even sure what a nature genius would look like even if I saw one. Like Tarzan? Is Tarzan from Tanzania a nature genius? Do you see?
My vanity doesn’t require this kind of superficial label. It’s useless in the real world. I have a degree in biology. It’s mostly useless too!
Now, luckily this isn’t one of those “everyone shouldn’t get a participation trophy” grumpy old man rants. That is not the point. This isn’t the PC Olympics either where we mind hurting people’s feelings as necessary. Not hurting folks for the sake of hurting folks – which is schadenfreude or sadism or something – but rather realizing getting our feelings hurt is simply part of the process. If you think you’re entitled to “feel good” or always be “right” or never be challenged or something, go somewhere else. That simple. We don’t do that here.
The point is I can’t just go around believing whatever makes me “feel good” and expect to have a realistic view of the world. We can’t just go around and blame everything on Trump or Hillary or whomever either. We’re in this hellified mess because we participated in the process what brought us here to this moment. WE did it.
Sure, I got a “participation trophy” from WordPress recently. What does it mean? Nothing really. If we’re in some sort of contest here, I don’t know about it nor do I want to be involved in the competition.
Anyway, so that’s my personal story of why I left Facebook and migrated here. A one year anniversary tale. To put it in meme format, which is the basic currency of FB, it looks something like this:
So now we’ve moved on to the WordPress format instead because as a medium, Facebook’s purpose is to de-evolve people’s minds, and this one, well, if you’ve read this far, I’m probably preaching to the choir in the first place by now.
If you get nothing else from reading this essay, please remember the first rule of skepticism is not “be skeptical of other people‘s beliefs,” it is “be skeptical of my own beliefs.” I subject my own stuff to scrutiny. I take responsibility. End of soapbox.
So that’s a bit of sharing. Next time I’ll lay out my Social Security # for everyone to write down for various nefarious purposes. Ahem. Here is the second part of our discourse on this subject: