Monday, May 26, 2003

Help Wanted

I spent this weekend off-line, with only the rainforest edition of The Age for company. So I was a little nervous this morning when I took my first plunge into the blogosphere: if Tim Blair or Stanley Gudgeon had picked up on this crie du coeur from Hugh Mackay, all I'd be left with to start the week's blogging is the mystery of why I have 3 referrals listed from the ABC News Home Page.

It seems that Hugh has had one of those unpleasant moments of self-discovery that confront us all eventually, and he's not too happy about it. He's realised that there may be people in the population who are more intelligent than himself. Here's what he has to say about them:

But there's another payoff from genetic roulette that is too often confused with achievement: intelligence. One of the craziest features of our culture is the way we rate intelligent people as superior to unintelligent people. We treat intelligent people as elite creatures needing to be "developed" and "accelerated"; we speak disparagingly of unintelligent people as "stupid", "brainless" or "losers".

By definition, more than half the population has "average" intelligence or less. Unfortunately, many people of above-average intelligence are not quite smart enough to realise that their intelligence was handed to them, just like their height.

The issue is not how intelligent you are, but what you do with what you've got. Formidably bright people who coast through life, under-utilising their intellectual resources, squander a valuable genetic gift. Unlike beauty, it's a gift that could be used to benefit those who, because of their more modest intellect, find it tough just coping with the demands of everyday life.

If you're a formidably bright person who coasts through life, under-utilising their intellectual resources, you could probably do worse with your abilities than to ghost-write Hugh's future columns for him. Unfortunately, there's no E-Mail address at the bottom of Hugh's article, but you can probably reach him (eventually) here.

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