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malune

Ironic thought in a passive world

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I wasn't really sure where to post this, but as a curious student who believes at least part of the GD.NET community has highly intelligent contributions, maybe this is the right place. :) I've been reading up about alot of subjects recently that I found myself interested in, and I thought it may be a good idea to actually express what I am thinking and question things in order to get constructive thoughts and ideas from others. Looking at previous work and history on Leonardo Da Vinci and Albert Einstein, I came to a personal conclusion that the reason they are considered geniuses was not solely due to their intelligence, but because of their outstanding contribution to knowledge which did not previously exist. They thought outside the box, created what their intuition believed was possible, and were classed as superhumanly intelligent by the masses. Einstein was meant to be poor at mathematics and partly dyslexic, yet he was still a genius because he invented and formulated empirical evidence which was not present at the time. I personally think he was driven by passion more than anything else. With passion, can we all be geniuses? Isn't what defines intelligence how much we can control our own minds anyway? Another commonality that is pertinent between Einstein and Da Vinci, is that they are clearly active thinkers, and what is left recorded of their lifestyles shows this as well. I also think nowadays people are moving into a passive mode of thinking. We play video games, listen to music, watch TV instead of doing other activities which may benefit us physically and mentally. I think the move from active thinking to passive thinking may degrade our ability to be truly intelligent, because a mix between passive thinking and a conceptual world seems to proclaim the eventual instantiation of a race of humans that are lazy, and just think about everything without wanting to do anything - a true computer scientist. ;) What, in your opinions, defines a real genius? Is the ability to harness this mental power within all of us but we just don't know how to use it? It is said humans only use 6% of their brains(saying that, I had a conversation with my younger brother and he said if we could control all of our brains, we could send ourselves hormones and therefore grow pubic hair at the age of 3), surely 94% of what is left holds immense untapped potential for the human race? Should we strive to be active thinkers or is passive thinking completely acceptable? Would the advocacy of active thinking help us change the way we understand ourselves, and help defy the boundaries of our minds?

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I have been thinking about this a lot recently too.
I just finished reading Chris Crawford's book Interactive Storytelling and there is a chapter called Verb Thinking that is a really interesting look at the way we think and different ways of thinking.

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Genius is to me, in short, someone who sees a 'connection' in different pieces of information, information that is useless for most other people who can not make that unique link, and create something really new and useful with that. So 'genius' is imo mostly a creative thing, not intellectual.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
The Ten-Percent Myth

http://www.snopes.com/science/stats/10percnt.htm

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Don't forget luck. Yes, passion drives us, but there is a critical aspect of being lucky enough to have the right base of information, the right stack of critical data, and be lucid enough to make the connection. If you're passionate about your chosen field, you'll have a greater chance of hitting the luck.

-Kirk

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Quote:
Original post by malune
I also think nowadays people are moving into a passive mode of thinking. We play video games, listen to music, watch TV instead of doing other activities which may benefit us physically and mentally.


While I agree with the physical side, but I definatly do not agree with the mental side. If anything I believe we are far MORE activly mentally that at any previouse time in history. Your average pesant in the dark ages couldn't read, write, speak any other languages, had no knowledge anything outside his little town, and no way of getting that information. When he went to church the priests spoke to him in latin (which he didn't speak) and gave no other form of education, except what his parents taught him about taking care of the farm. People would spend their entire lives in the one place, work just to feed themselves and their families then die - that was it. There was no knowledge of the wider world, there was none of this "active thinking" going on as you put it in the average person. Consider that the two people you mentioned lived 500 hundreds of years appart and I think its clear just how much active thinking went on in the past. The idea that we're getting more and more stupid is pure myth! While its true that there are a large percentage of the population who don't use their brains much (not because they can't, simple because they dont need too), I can't see a time in history when its ever been different. Infact with modern education at least everyone is forced to give it a try for a while. Sure many people go back to leading normal boring lives but even so I can't see how thats any different to the past. When has it ever been different?

[Edited by - kaysik on March 16, 2005 5:17:58 PM]

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I see it as two groups of people. In one group you have the individual in other group bunch of individuals working together. If you are working alone you have to go thru that feedback loop ie. discover problem, propose solutions, solve it. You get better at it but the real thing that is missing is cooperation and that is where group two comes into place. With more people you can begin to fill in your own weaknesses and together you can form formidable human computer. Thanks to groups we evolved to our current form. I don't believe in geniuses simply because I've experimented on myself and discovered that you can do anything if you put your mind and enthusiasm to it. You have to acknowledge the fact that you can grow your brain and that is the real secret. You get it better by following the loop I outlined. You just keep doing it over and over and taking past experiences into account and implement thinking out of the box as well and you mix it all together and with a hint of subconciousness helping you, you get to perform some feats that look like miracles to others.

Computer is a perfect feedback loop for our minds. You type in your solution, run it, debug it and you see the output. Possibly modifying it then feed it back in and run through that loop again. In addition I believe based on my own examination that our subconciousness plays a large role in helping us find answers. It definitely does it faster than our thoughts and perhaps is a distribution network that collects relevant information and works on it then passes the results onto our conciousness. The best way you massage this subconciousness is by giving it as much info as you can. Have you ever lay in bed at night thinking about a problem and all of a sudden came up with a solution for it? I've noticed that it has been happening more frequently to me leading me to conclusion that it is something we can train and get better at. I think Newton knew about this and forced himself to think, many times until he had a headache. So if you can improve the speed of your conciousness and subconciousness then no wonder you can be better than other folks and seem to be a genius in other's eyes.

So you have to force yourself think and being a couch potatoe doesn't help much unless it stimulates your thinking which very few tv programs do. Reading books stimulates visual cortex so that you can "see" the solutions in your head better and with the help of better memory recalls you can solve the problem in your head easier. Recently I played a text based game and it was interesting to go thru this process of creating visualizations in my head coupled with remembering locations of items and steps needed to solve the puzzles.

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