Friday, July 06, 2012

Mini-Post 2: Are the People With All the Power and Glory in This Society Psychopaths?

No, of course they aren't, and even if they were, that still would not be a valid excuse for one's own failures, especially those of character. Still, the idea seems to be gaining currency amongst that middling portion of the population that thought we were all friends and that is still signifying its willingness to jump through just about any hoop to be allowed to preserve any shred of its late 20th century socio-economic status (I obviously would align with this latter group if my status had at any time been thus high). The master class not only isn't softening, but is getting more intrepid and sadistic in its torment of what remains of the old mass middle. I may not be exactly persuaded yet that in a truly just world, the people who now earn 500 times the annual salary of the average chump would actually deserve more than what they are currently allowed to accumulate, while the aforesaid chump's own pay would be slashed to a level more commensurate with his skills and the reality of the global marketplace for labor--perhaps a tenth of what it is currently, or maybe even nothing at all--but for some reason the conviction and the heart or will to forcefully and continually press the argument against it has no strength in me or anywhere else. All the effective fury lies with the people who already have won everything a thousand times over, and a handful of their giddiest supporters. Doubtless once you have had a taste of triumph in life, you feel a hundred times stronger than you did at any previous time in your life and you want to indulge it as regularly as possible.

This article, has been getting some attention on the internet of late. The most interesting part is towards the middle, the section about the high regard, almost reverence, for extreme intelligence, or brilliance, among the meritocratic elite, and, it is suggested, the rampant vanity which consequently afflicts a growing number of those who are supposed to possess it. Wall Street firms openly operate and promote themselves on the assumption that they are manned, without even a hint of irony, by the absolute smartest people in the world. Of course if you have never substantially failed and have always been profusely praised and rewarded even at the most exclusive schools and other institutions on the grounds of your superior intelligence, there is no reason why you would not believe this, though it does strike me as likely to promote a psychopathic personality development. Nonetheless, it is true that the most brilliant collective of people on the planet has been gathered somewhere, and if you believe the proper use of intelligence is to ensure oneself as many riches as possible, the argument is plausible. To be honest I can endure them more than the science crowd, which  is even more committed to believing in this extreme gradation of intelligence, especially at the top end, such that the cognitive gulf between the greatest physicist in the world and the 20th greatest is as wide, and probably wider, than that between me and the special needs guy who sweeps the floors at the local amusement palace.  Like everything else, being smart at this level is a much more serious matter than I had any idea of at all until I was in my mid-30s. You pretty much have to shun the company and conversation of anyone normal, including and probably especially your intellectually weaker relatives. You will have to become alert to the kinds of serious subjects that the smartest people consider important.You can't just show up in life at age 18 or 19 or 20 with a decent native intelligence and expect to catch up or accomplish much intellectually anymore. By then it's sink or swim. No one has the time to nurture your blankety-blank... 

Boy, this article went nowhere. I'm too tired, every damn day, to get across what I want. 

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