My IQ is -i^infinitySun, 17th Sep '06, 7:55 pm::

While talking to a friend, the topic of games and intellect came up. She asked if I'd played Brain Age, an edutainment video game that boosts your IQ. I've never really been a gamer and unless it's a boardgame involving other people and lots of words, I'm generally not interested. I don't even know what games my cellphone comes with.

However the issue of boosting IQ is something I've previously given some thought to. Despite the numerous arguments by IQ elitists, IQ basically measures your ability to think fast. With a high IQ and good memory, you too can win a million dollars on one of those TV game shows. Problem is, that kind of intelligence isn't really benefitial to anyone other than you. People with high IQ's and decent social skills can get great jobs and impress everyone around them. But they don't prove conjectures or spend seven years solving theorems. Or researching cures. Or explaining causes of economic slumps and methods to minimize the severity.

As always, there are exceptions to every rule, but the kind of intelligence that really benefits humanity and the world as a whole, is something that just cannot be measured by correctly identifying the pattern of shapes that comes next in the series. Personally, when I last measured my own IQ upon a friend's nagging, I was surprised to see it was higher than I expected. However, that is something I just don't care about. So big deal that I knew whether two of the following numbers added up to 13 or not: 1, 6, 3, 5, 11. Not. Does my ability to think fast and add a few numbers off the top of my head really help me "understand" complex schemata that describe the inner workings of network protocols at the lowest level? No. For that, I have to spend hours reading, analyzing, and understanding.

I cannot claim that having a high IQ doesn't help me. It does. Personally. When it comes to understanding how to undo void transactions from past periods in a double-entry accounting system, it's great to be able to think quick and learn just enough to get the job done and done well. But it doesn't give me any tools to make a difference to one other person. I've yet to invent a programming language that changes the lives of millions. It's not that I seek some sort of fame and glory. It's just that IQ is not the tool to measure the positive impact a person can have on the society by the virtue of their brainpower.

If more people stopped worshipping the high IQ folks while doing everything under the sun to become "smarter" and instead realized that dedication and selflessness is what's truly needed to make this world a better place, the world indeed would be a better place.

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