If you’ve never come across one Sam Vaknin before, I assure you, it is worth your time to go and look him up. He is an extraordinarily brilliant man – his IQ is apparently somewhere around 180 (or so he says). He did a PhD thesis about – and I wish I were making this up – a “time particle” called a chronon, which he claims determines the way that time behaves as a field, and events that we perceive in time are perturbations in that field.
I have two degrees in mathematics, and I don’t understand one word of what any of that means. All I know is that he is, by every possible measure, an extraordinarily brilliant man. If you go and look him up, the list of professional publications that he has to his name, and the number of times that he has been cited for his work in physics, and in clinical psychology, is frankly STAGGERING.
He is also a diagnosed psychopath, and an extremely flawed man who has served time in jail for securities fraud, and whose first marriage (I think) failed pretty spectacularly, and whose record of failed and broken relationships in business and elsewhere is pretty appalling. He himself used to say that he is a colossal failure.
In other words, he is an extremely intelligent, extremely dangerous man.
As such, he is in an excellent position to explain to all of us what it is like being highly intelligent, in a world full of idiots:
Let us be clear about one thing: Mr. Vaknin is absolutely CORRECT about the “stupidity tax”. I did a long podcast about this a while back, when I had to live in a country run by, for, with, and of people with an average IQ across the entire nation of about 76. Living in a world full of stupidity is not fun, easy, pleasant, or healthy. In a world where you are essentially the smartest person in the room no matter where you go, it is a constant drain on your mental energies and resources to have to deal with the idiots of the world.
There are, however, a number of problems with Mr. Vaknin’s proposed “solutions” to this issue.
Let us take first his notion that being forced to listen to the idiots of this world is a form of “mental rape”. I find this a distasteful metaphor, and that is putting it rather mildly. The reality is that if you don’t want to be forced to listen to someone’s opinion, then you can simply walk away. There are more ways than ever to tune such things out. You cannot escape a rapist anywhere nearly so easily – violation of your body (and spirit) is not comparable to listening to someone’s inanities.
Second, we must always keep in mind that, to Mr. Vaknin, EVERYONE is a moron.
Take Our Beloved and Dreaded Supreme Dark Lord (PBUH) Voxemort the Most Malevolent and Terrible. As he often reminds us, he is a literal superintelligence. His IQ is at least 150. This makes him considerably more intelligent than me, and it makes the gap between him and the average human almost incomprehensibly large in terms of intelligence.
That gap is larger than the gap between the average human and a functional retard. Think about the stupidest person you know that is still a functional human being, and then compare him to yourself.
That is how OBADSDL(PBUH) sees YOU.
Mr. Vaknin has an IQ – so he claims – of 180. IF TRUE, that means OBADSDL(PBUH) looks like a functional moron, to HIM.
The point of this aside is to show you just how far outside of “normal” people like Mr. Vaknin are. There are very few of them in the world. Inevitably, they probably see the rest of us more or less like drooling imbeciles.
A world built and designed around them, therefore, will by definition be unlivable for the ordinary man, just as a world designed and built for the functionally retarded would be unbearable for the average man too.
This leads us on to the third point, which comes from what Mr. Vaknin said about being forced to listen to people without the knowledge base or qualifications to speak intelligently on any given matter. This presupposes that intelligence and qualifications go together. In my experience, and in the experience of most of my readers, the exact opposite is true – the more qualified you are, the dumber your worldview tends to be. (This is not, of course, a hard and fast rule – I will happily put my own qualifications up against any knock-kneed Ivy League dork, and I assure you that in most cases my qualifications match or exceed theirs. Qualifications have absolutely nothing to do with quality, in my experience.)
Mr. Vaknin appears to build toward an argument that only the most intelligent, the most qualified, should be permitted to determine what the rest of us think and do and how we live. This is a recipe for utter disaster, which only a psychopath would fail to see.
I do not say this as a criticism. Psychopaths, by definition, are unable to judge moral matters, because they lack a sense of morality to begin with. As such, a psychopath cannot be expected to understand that morality has little to do with intelligence.
This is the lesson taught to us in no less a book than STARSHIP TROOPERS, easily the greatest military sci-fi novel of all time. In that book, we find many powerful lessons about the true nature of morality and governance. And one of those lessons has to do with the fact that possessing high intelligence does not automatically confer any ability to govern others. To do that, one must have “skin in the game” – and there is nothing to indicate that the highly intelligent have any more skin in the game than the stupid.
This is where Mr. Vaknin, for all of his vast and incredible brilliance, always falls down. As intelligent as he is – and he is staggeringly smart – he is still not more intelligent than tens of thousands or millions of people put together. Worse, he does not have the kind of vested interests in their lives, nations, and communities that they do.
What business, then, does someone who cannot possibly possess all of the necessary information to know “what is best”, and who does not have a vested interest in making sure that he is actually right about “what is best”, have to decide “what is best”?
And that is the great downfall of the highly intelligent, relative to the highly stupid. We constantly construct for ourselves these brilliant ideas about how the world can and should run – and we inevitably run into serious problems when we try to make them work in the real world.
Ultimately, living in Idiocracy is something to which we might all have to resign ourselves, though it doesn’t have to be that way. There are ways out, for ourselves and our posterity, but only if we learn some very harsh lessons and make sure that future generations do not make the same mistakes that we and our ancestors made.
Doing so will require us to jettison a lot of nonsense assumptions and stupid ideas that we have been conditioned to accept – by, ironically enough, people of extremely high intelligence. But we must do so if we want to stall and eventually reverse the catastrophic decline in overall intelligence, and the consequent destruction of social boundaries, norms, and basic creature comforts.