Maybe Einstein wasn’t as smart as we thought…

I was reading this article this morning about how genius may not be as easy to find these days as it was when Einstein was around. I have no idea why, but I thought for a moment and then it hit me. Maybe the only reason why everyone thought Einstein was so smart is because there was just a whole bunch of shit we didn’t know back then. Hmmmm? Perhaps it wasn’t genius after all. Maybe it was just that he was one of the few people who were looking for answers past the everyday, common responses to problems and questions.

Today, there are even fewer of these inquisitive types out there. Most seem content to complain about what they don’t like, but never offer solutions to the problems. They may know what to do and they may in fact, have a genius-level solution to the issue; however, they are reluctant to share because they don’t want to be bothered with the repercussions of greatness. I see this all of the time. People out there who are willing to accept the status quo because they don’t want to do anything that might create more work for themselves. It’s astounding, really. For example, I recently had a substitute teacher fill in for me when I was out sick. I had left some lesson plans on my desk that included having our fourth and fifth graders read books aloud in front of the class. No, I wasn’t trying to torture them. They actually enjoy doing this. I give the students who wish to read a page the opportunity to do so. No one is pressured into doing this if they don’t want to. It gives them a chance to feel good about themselves, to feel important as they stand up there and tell a story. The point is to get them reading and listening.

In any case, I had a note from my sub when I got back that this exercise didn’t seem to go very well because some students weren’t reading loudly enough or whatever. She wrote, and I quote, “You make things much too hard on yourself if you don’t mind my saying…” I read this and I thought, “WTF, byotch?” This is what I think to myself when I hear something so absurdly stupid as her statement. How am I making things too hard on myself by allowing the kids to try their hand at reading aloud? Pardon me for trying to be creative. It really doesn’t hurt me at all to do this with the kids and when I’m working with them, I actually tell them to speak up or I help them sound out a word that is unfamiliar to them. That’s what teaching types are supposed to do, right?

Obviously, I was a little pissed about the comment. Granted, small minds often leave a trail behind them that shows they were there. Little destructions that tear down the progress the rest of us have been working doggedly to make. I’m sure this person isn’t stupid. Hell, she may be extremely intelligent. But, if you are lazy and somewhat unmotivated, it might come across to others that you are just an idiot. Nothing I can do about that one, she’ll have to work on that one herself.

The point of my ranting this morning is that the idea of being a genius may not necessarily be as great as what we once thought it was. It’s likely that lots of people have some unmotivated genius in there somewhere, but what good is it? Unmotivated brilliance is well, not very brilliant at all. It’s kind of dull, actually…kind of not bright…well, you get the picture.

To further illustrate what I’m saying, go out and get the movie, “Idiocracy” with Luke Wilson. You’ll see what I mean. It’s a movie about a slacker who gets cryogenically frozen and brought back in the future. He’s the most average person on the planet at the time he’s frozen, but by the time they thaw him, he’s considered a genius. Maybe that’s good news for some of us. Perhaps our mediocrity will serve us better in the future. Don’t stick yourself in the freezer just yet, though…

Until next time…

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The Difference Between Ignorance and Stupidity…

I might as well write this now. I’ve thought about it before, but now I know the difference. What I am referring to is that line between being ignorant and just being stupid. This is what I came up with:

Being ignorant means, by definition, that you lack knowledge or comprehension of the thing specified. Being stupid, on the other hand, means that one is given to unintelligent decisions or acts. In one instance, you simply aren’t armed with knowledge and therefore cannot be reasonably expected to do the correct thing in a given situation. In the other, well, you just don’t have the ability to arm yourself with the knowledge necessary to do the correct thing. No matter what happens, you’re not going to be able to figure it out.

I met a shining example of the latter today. I’m at my desk on the telephone trying to listen to someone’s voicemail greeting so that I can leave a message for them. This lady, whom I’ve never met before, comes into my area and starts asking me questions about a print job. I am completely ignorant in this instance. Note, I had no knowledge of what she wanted, who she was, or why she was asking me questions. Ignorant.

Upon seeing that I was on the phone, most people would turn and wait until I hung up the receiver and asked what they needed. Most people would do that. But not this lady. This lady, instead keeps talking even as I glare at her to shut the #@$& up so that I can hear my phone call. Obtuse. Stupid.

When I finally hung up the phone, she was still hanging around the area. She had moved into another corner of the room and appeared to be searching for something. I asked her what she needed and she launched into some sort of speech, though I’m not sure it had the energy of an actual speech, it was more like absent-minded babbling. I still had no idea what she needed, who she was or why she had come to me. Ignorant.

She left, but then a few moments later, returned. This time, I had my purse, my briefcase and my keys in hand and I was ready to leave the building. Upon seeing this, the lady proceeded to ask more questions. I told her that I didn’t think I could help her with her problem and that I wasn’t necessarily sure who could. Perhaps she should ask someone else. Most people would say, yeah, I’ll try someone else. Not this lady. She continued asking me questions although I had made it quite clear that I was not the person who held the key to her dilemma. Stupid.

Hmmmm. I’m not sure how to recover from such an encounter. It almost had me doubting my own capacity, but alas, I feel much better now that I have shared the moment with you. Alas, you are ignorant no more. 😉

Until next time…

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