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Isn't it pretty?

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Is Intelligence a Gift?

I often wonder if intelligence is such a gift. I have known many incredibly intelligent people in my life. I attended a public high school which offered only an excelerated program, so the students in my school could brag about having high enough IQs to get in (unfortunately, a lot of them actually did brag about such things regularly). I also was part of an Honors Program in college which offered an incredible curriculum that I managed to mostly ignore while in college-partying mode (took me a while to get serious about college). And outside of my educational experiences, I have met and formed relationships with extremely intelligent people whose brains opened many doors, whose academic achievements are to be wowed about, and who could certainly hold their own in any intellectual discussion. But what good is it? Those highly intelligent people I've known have also often been the most arrogant, lazy and mean people I've come in contact with. Even though they could have used their intelligence in ways to better our planet, our political systems, our relations; they don't bother. Some of them spend their time making sure that their bank accounts are well-stocked, some of them don't bother to do that. Some of them use their intelligence to make others feel like less. And some of them use their brains to manipulate and deceive - highly intelligent people are often incredible schemers and plotters. Don't get me wrong. Not everyone who is intelligent is a horrible person. Some smart people use their brains in wonderful ways. I have had smart people who have motivated me, taught me, inspired me. Led me in the direction of following my dreams. Given me much to think about, and have believed in me. Smart people have brought to fruition programs for healing and justice, and social welfare. Many good things come from intelligence as well. But I have also been inspired by those who work 10 times harder to get by because their intelligence isn't quite so high on the IQ charts. Those who, against the odds, succeed. I admire those who work so hard so much more than those who don't. Because I think so much in this world is due to effort. I think you grow as a person so much do to the hard work you put in - it doesn't come easily. So while I am certainly happy that I have my intelligence, and that some things aren't so hard for me (like school), I wonder who I would be if things were different. If in some ways, I would be a better me, someone who had accomplished more, in growth rather than grades. Or maybe, hopefully, you can have both. I just hope I don't ever take for granted those "gifts" that were handed to me. I hope I don't (again) squander my natural talents. I hope I use my gifts for the good.


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