What We Common People Donít Want To Understand


John Wright


Liberal philosophers, politicians and writers have identified some of the despicable circumstances that have been perpetrated in the past and the present by powerful people. I am unsatisfied with the breadth of their topical coverage, for no one ever seems to identify exactly why people in power do what they do. Okay, of course some searching questions have been asked, and usually deflected rather than candidly answered. Yet, this leaves us lacking a valid explanation for why some of the powerful would choose to exercise their power in such a way as to herd the common people into political and economic enclosures that assure they will not impact the present or the future in any significant manner.

This article is intended to strip the veneer off the powerful and highlight the misconceptions of many of us regarding the relationship of our abilities to our rights. It is an exercise in hard realism instead of idealism and it will not please many. Taken wrongly, it could be used in a Machiavellian sense to justify cruelty. Prepare yourself to feel insulted, but please do not sulk, for depression or self-pity are not sound positions from which to grow.

What does the term intelligence quotient, or IQ, actually mean? At a superficial level, it is a single number that is presumed by the original creator, Stanford-Binet, to provide the individual a gross measure of their learning capabilities via measuring age related accomplishments, relative to the rest of the people tested. IQ is your apparent mental age (how well you demonstrate what you can do relative to all that there is to do as defined by the test and by the performance of all the other people taking it) divided by your actual age and multiplied by the number 100. In short, the more you know and the younger you are when you know it, the better. The less you know in comparison to other people of your age, the worse. If the IQ test result is sub-divided into the respective areas or aptitudes measured, it is presumed to provide a map of individual differential capabilities across different types of human abilities.

The test questions comprise a continuum of difficulty in each area, from the trivial to, for most of us, the extremely difficult. Properly structured, it is assumed that a large population of randomly selected test takers will generate or find correct answers to only some of the questions, and a poor test would be one where the test takers know all the answers, or, none of the answers. By design, the test results will be "normalized" to produce a normal, as opposed to skewed, distribution of people vs. correct answers. This means that the typical or average test subject of a given age will correctly answer some number of questions and that number will be assumed to represent average intelligence for that age group.

Ultimately, the IQ test is a measure of only some of a variety of factors in life that project the likelihood of individual success in particular areas of human endeavor. So much for the formality of the common understanding of IQ. I will not digress into the social arguments relating to environmental effects on development, for that is a fool's paradise for making sometimes-valid excuses for poor performance. Performance due to environmental considerations, and inherent capability, are uniquely different subjects and they mix about as well as oil and water, conceptually. Both do, however, affect test results.

Once we get to the action level, IQ means a great deal more than the common definitions given above. First, there is the matter of multiple aptitudes in the individual, and how they determine or limit the possible wholeness of the eventual knowledge of the individual. Second, there is the matter of degree of difference in any given aptitude across the population. Third, the aptitudes presumably measured by IQ tests are not the only capabilities that determine how well we might survive and indeed prosper. Simply consider the uneducated but financially successful professional boxer, who may have scored dismally in IQ tests yet out-earned 90% or more of the population, due to an inherited physical capability developed to its fullest potential in an environment that honored (used for money) that capability.

Broad based or multiple aptitudes define the ease with which an individual may choose to learn diverse subjects and harness the knowledge for individual success and a broader understanding of life as we know it. The extreme cases we normally use to define the range of this phenomenon are those of the idiot savant vs. those of the philosopher-artist-scientist. Singularity is seen as a weakness, and indeed, it is when the individual encounters challenges outside the area of developed and/or inherited competence. If we think of all current categories of human knowledge across all subjects we are aware of, we might envision a circle or a pie chart, segmented into very many sections. In a hypothetical and ideal circumstance, some individual(s) might be able to span all sections completely. This model will be expanded later.

The degree of difference in any given aptitude, and indeed the relative strengths of the aptitudes to each other, determine the potential for learning and applying knowledge, and especially the likelihood of the individual discovering new knowledge beyond historical human experience. We thus have the possibilities of singularity in a specific ability leading to a specific success and those of the combination of abilities leading to conceptual symbiosis and integration and applied multiplicity.

Now we get to the operational quantification of IQ. I assume that you understand the idea behind a distribution curve. It is simply a visual representation of how some population is distributed percentage-wise in relative terms against something being measured. With IQ, a normal or Bell curve is usually assumed, perhaps incorrectly, to represent the population, and an IQ of 100 is the gross assignment number of capability that represents the tiny area at the top of the curve with the largest population. Approximately half of the total population is thus assumed to be at or below 100 and half at or above 100. Thus, following that limited model, the extreme left would logically be an IQ of zero and represent an extremely tiny part of the population, and the extreme right somewhere in the range of 200 representing another extremely tiny part of the population. One might argue that extremes of zero and 200 are unreasonable, for while we cannot conceive of a negative IQ, we can conceive of ability beyond the artificial number of 200. Sometimes that is referred to as being "off the chart" or unmeasureable by the IQ test or not conveniently visually expressible via the normal distribution model.

The convenience of the IQ model is useful for broad generalizations, but the model does not tell us anything about the specific impact or meaning of our individual differences. This is particularly true when we consider variable aptitudes across different tasks and present only the composite or averaged whole. What does it mean when we say that person X has an IQ of 100 and person Y an IQ of 150? It can mean a lot. And it may mean nothing. It all depends on the environment in which the individual lives and what they attempt to do within that environment, not to mention how they may be affected at some time by those outside their immediate environment. In short, composite measures do not provide us indications of the relative distribution of our individual abilities to learn, yet they do provide us a general likelihood or probability of potential competence in one or more areas of endeavor.

Well, there was nothing new in the above descriptions. Many of us have a pretty good idea of the structural and conceptual strengths and weaknesses of the IQ model. So why all the discussion and apparent build up of IQ factors in this article? In short, we will now learn the applied meaning of IQ, leadership and social factors that have resulted from our IQ differences. It is a great deal more than a simple recognition that "brighter" people are more likely, on the whole, to succeed in whatever they attempt to do.

Let me first make a few points entirely clear: Environment is a limiting factor that may cause an individual to develop lower levels of competence than might be theoretically possible. Environment can never cause a person of limited inherited aptitude to become a genius or develop into anything beyond that implied by their inherited aptitude(s). Being the best that you can be may be saying very little of relevance, and for that we should all be saddened and also energized to change that situation. Now lets proceed.

If I have an IQ of 90 in visual perceptual relationships I will not become an artist or a design engineer of any notable competence, if indeed I can find anyone at all to educate or employ me in those areas. If, however, my IQ is 120 in that area, I will likely fit in well in typical occupations that require that aptitude. Yet, I will likely not create new knowledge of great meaning to my profession. If I have an IQ of 150 in that area, I may become relatively famous for the "creative" aspect of my accomplishments. If I have an IQ that is "off the chart" in that area, I may or may not radically transform everyone's understanding of art or engineering by conceiving and then developing and introducing altogether new understandings in my profession.

It is a common misunderstanding to assume that the simple numerical relationship on the IQ scale means a linear change in aptitude. For example, one might wrongly assume that a person of IQ 180 would be twice as capable as a person of IQ 90. The truth is that the former individual is many orders of magnitude more capable than the latter. Moreover, the complexity of the material to be learned may deny knowledge forever to the less capable, regardless of effort expended, for the inherent aptitude is inadequate to grasp subtleties, permanently. Thus, if you have the misfortune to be part of the lower half of the population, you are permanently denied the ability to understand even a tiny part of the world as known by the population of IQ 150 and above. There is nothing you can do about that personal limitation up to this point in history.

Recalling the earlier model of the circle or pie chart, note that it can be blown up into a sphere to represent both coverage of areas of knowledge and depth in amount known. The so-called "ideal" person would be the largest sphere possible up to this time in history, for they would know all that is known about all human endeavors and our earthly environment. They would not, however, know that which we have yet to learn, either categorically or in depth or completeness of knowledge. Where do we fit in to that model? Think about tiny, highly irregular meteorites flying through space, in short spans of time drawn to their deaths by gravitational forces. Not a pretty picture, is it?

Metaphors can be useful to illustrate a point, but it is important to avoid mysticism and extension of the metaphor beyond its relevance. Thus, we will forget about our meteorite status for the moment and focus instead on the implications of dealing with larger meteors, planets and stars and how to change our apparent fate to the better.

Lets suppose you happen to have leadership aptitudes. That is to say, for whatever reason, you learn early in life how to convince other people to do what you want them to do. Your IQ in that area we will assume to be somewhere in the vicinity of 150 to 180. You are very quick on the uptake, i.e. you learn rapidly in real-time contact with others and you are capable of rapid, accurate and creative response. You will likely also have compelling physical features. You will be followed. Your word will be law to your followers. You will understand that all leaders have a social, intellectual and geographic domain that represents the difference between themselves and the people they attempt to lead, and also that the domain is affected by the presence of other people of undefined or unknown ability to lead within the physical or social domain.

You will have a superiority attitude, no matter how well intentioned you are towards your followers. This is not elitism, which is simply smart-ass differentiation, practiced by those who confuse wealth or inherited position or unbalanced savant qualities with broad mental prowess. It is simply a clear understanding that almost all others lack your highly developed perceptual skill set. You will thus realize that you can have few, if any, true partners. That is an accident of birth and not a burden that you should bear until and unless you use your aptitudes to the detriment of your followers or others outside your domain.

These differences are not minor in amount. Most people you meet will be of sufficiently lower aptitude that they will be easily swayed. You will be a chameleon of many possible colors; each used as necessary to gain loyalty. You might also think of yourself as the teacher in a kindergarten class. It becomes clear that there will be only one way and one person who will make the essential decisions, for you cannot trust the judgments of your followers, and in comparison to your situation they will not grow appreciably in knowledge or skills through time. At a practical level, you are responsible for their general wellbeing in order to maintain your own position.

What is worse, you understand that most of your followers are so deficient in reasoning that when you attempt to improve their life they will do irrational things, like overpopulate. They will rapidly come to believe their improved living situation is owed to them and is not enough. You are thus in a most impossible situation, for if you exercise humanitarian values carelessly you will bring down your society economically. If you fail to be humanitarian, you will be guilty of being the enemy of Humanity. Finally, there will be many other would-be leaders who will attempt to unseat you by whatever means are most practical for them. The often referred to strain and loneliness of leadership have their origins in the above problems. As you evolve or devolve in your behaviors, it is not difficult to understand why, for you, unlike most people, recognize that you are headmaster in a school for the retarded. It is too easy to devolve in that environment, regardless of the high ideals that may have characterized your early life.

Now, let us reverse the above scenario. Lets assume you are a follower, that is, a person with a leadership IQ of about 80. You would like to be a leader, for you do have opinions and you would like others to do as you say. Somehow, they do not. They respond at best with tolerance of your right to express your opinions. You resort to physical violence periodically to demand respect, and the results vary with regard to your sense of progress. Your inability to stimulate those around you by words to do your bidding eventually causes you to "throw in the towel" and follow, for you discover that is the only secure way you have of eating regularly. You learn to be subservient and you find it necessary to have heroes in whom you can believe, for you cannot believe in yourself, particularly with regard to your ability to lead. You will eventually cease to think about leadership, or, you will likely wind up in prison.

If you want to understand precisely where you are in the pecking order of leadership IQ, pause for a moment and consider how often those in charge of everything around you come to you for guidance or permission. Each of us can determine that answer easily and in a very personal way. Most of us feel "lucky" if there are one or two areas in life where our developed competence causes us to be sought out for advice or adulated for our concepts or appreciated for the products we make.

You might also look at your specific knowledge of all the things you use in life or services you depend on, for your IQ in areas other than leadership is the foundation from which you develop all other skills. Can you design and build a moon rocket? Can you develop a new drug to cure cancer? Are you competent to perform brain surgery? Do you know enough to design and build an automobile? How about a house? Can you design and build an electrical appliance like a vacuum cleaner? If necessary, could you make glass for your windows? Can you read well enough to follow a recipe and create food items that other people praise? Is it not clear that our developed skill sets, underpinned by our basic aptitudes, define each of us relative to those who have produced the best in all areas of life?

The Bell curve approach to understanding fundamental aptitude distributions, supplemented by the realization that each 10 points of IQ means at least a hundred fold increase in potential ability that might be harnessed, leads to a realistic understanding that hierarchy is the only practical result in human society throughout our civilized history. Notions of equality and fairness are readily seen as fundamentally impossible, for as we span all people we find Humanity represents some twenty or more subspecies of creatures who happen to look similar but are extremely different in functioning capability. We cannot trust just anyone with major responsibilities, any more than a kindergarten teacher could trust the children to lead themselves to knowledge and good socialization skills.

So it is that we finally come around to the truths about our leaders and ourselves, in virtually all areas of life. Our leaders will not publicly insult us, though they all know that at least half of us are as comparatively dull as a fence post. They will manipulate us to their own ends by whatever means are both practical and most economical. Lacking understanding, we are as sheep. We will bleat when we are frightened or otherwise uncomfortable, but we will not normally do anything of consequence about our discomfort, for we lack the ability to perform effectively on our own behalf.

It is natural to raise questions about our comparative differences out of disbelief, frustration or anger. For example, if our leaders are so smart, then why haven't they already solved societal problems? Or we might challenge the comparative intelligence assertion with: I can grow my food and live a good life on this planet, so I can't believe that leaders or other so called brilliant people are much smarter than me, for they haven't accomplished much in the way of societal miracles or technical progress over the last 6000 years.

Well, lets understand first that most of us are adapted to be simple hunters and gatherers. Were we not so, we would have perished long ago. Second, the material that leaders have to work with, namely, us, limits their success, not only in terms of our intelligence but also in terms of aging and death. We lose much of what we gain in every generation because of our finite lives. Third, the search for technical knowledge via research and its application is indeed a huge challenge. Thus, the complexity of the challenge is the other side of the consideration that has kept our best technical minds very busy from early civilizations up to now. And we have a very long way to go. Please understand that our most intelligent people are dealing with subjects that are so complex for mere humans that most of us cannot even formulate the questions, let alone find the answers. This is why we have historically "thrown up our hands" in our ignorance and put everything "into the hands of God."

We may finally realize that our aptitude limitations and IQ distributions are the fundamental reasons why our societies are as they are. No traditional ideology or religion will make any lasting difference of consequence what so ever. Hierarchy will continue to dominate until we are all equivalent. Confusion will reign until our knowledge is broad and deep. These facts cannot be changed until we harness technology to change us genetically.

These truths about IQ are the primary reason why well-intentioned socialists, educators and religionists never accomplish their humanitarian goals reliably over time. People at large will not function effectively under socialism to each other's benefit for more than very limited periods, for they cannot trust each other to contribute and consume proportionately. They are not intellectually capable of so doing. Small gains from passing socialistic laws are rapidly diminished in effectiveness as the world evolves to new knowledge, new power structures and new sources of wealth. The "bar" is raised ever higher with each generation in terms of who is employable in lucrative, intellectual occupations. Yet, to date, we have not changed ourselves through technology to be more capable. Nor could we. But we will have that opportunity soon.

It is thus impossible for Destiny to support socialism because of the willful blindness of its leaders and the gross ignorance of its followers. They are all forgetting the fundamental IQ factor in determining success. They have chosen to drug themselves with visions of fairness predicated on good will alone.

Do you now understand why leaders behave as they do? The best of leaders actually do try to combine the skills of their followers for overall societal success. The best of leaders will try to educate the masses so that we can all be the best that we can be. Our best leaders have every motive to enhance our mental prowess, for their positions are in fact lonely and, when examined critically by them, not fulfilling. They, like us, have a chronic, apparently permanent problem in trying to be successful in achieving ideals. Unlike us, they have the power to do great good or great evil. It is for all the above reasons that we need very effective checks and balances to unseat harmful leaders in every area of life, esp. politics, business, education and religion.