Jach's personal blog

(Largely containing a mind-dump to myselves: past, present, and future)
Current favorite quote: "Supposedly smart people are weirdly ignorant of Bayes' Rule." William B Vogt, 2010

Intellectual Gratification

Where do you get your intellectual gratification from? Do you read science books? (Not pop-sci, but real science books.) Do you read math books? Do you read philosophy? Do you study history? Do you build things? Do you have a smart friend you like to chat with for hours at a time? Or maybe you graduated school and don't think you have any need to gratify your intellect, you have a job to do and a family to feed, oh where oh where will you find the time?

Does the majority of your intellectual gratification come from a school environment? Or if you finished, was that the primary source?

For the purposes of this post, there are generally four types of students. There's the average student who goes through the system and emerges with a Bachelor's Degree (it doesn't matter what in) and goes on to work for 40 years, then retires. These are the most common but are losing ground to the second group. The second group is made of students with little ability. They don't understand the meaning of intellectual gratification, anything intellectual seems pointless or a chore and they would rather cycle through their short list of websites/games/t.v. shows all day. Thanks to modern mediocrity and races to the bottom, every education system graduates more of these people every year because hey, they have to live to support their mindless consumerism and too many jobs above minimum wage require a degree. The third group is the opposite of the second group, it is made of people with very high ability. They get high grades, they major in the harder Sciences, they get their work done. They have some ratio between consuming for intellectual pleasure and for other pleasure, as well as a ratio between consuming in general and producing. The fourth group is an almost bipolar mix of the second and third groups. They generally have the ability, and they'll have their successes, but they also have their spectacular failures too.

My question is how does a Group 3 member turn into a Group 4?

My current answer is that it's about sources of intellectual gratification. The moment that the majority of your intellectual gratification comes from outside of school, you have become a Group 4.

This theory implies a prediction that fields where it's easy to self-teach much of the material should have a higher proportion of Group 4s than other fields. Fields like programming, perhaps. For some thoughts on that, I invite you to read The Bipolar Lisp Programmer.

Posted on 2012-02-25 by Jach

Tags: philosophy, school


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