We are the most intelligent species on earth, at least that’s what we think. Religious faiths have considered humanity as the greatest creation of god, while scientists have made it a point that we remain the greatest creation of evolution. The irony is that, though both consider humanity as the greatest form of life, they fight with each other to defend their reason for our greatness. Fighting is a sure proof of our intelligence. Stay with me, i will prove that you are stupid!
We are so intelligent that now we are very close to the creation of artificial intelligence. There are lots of things I do not understand, but what I fail to understand the most is the word ‘artificial’. It is defined as something produced by human being that is not natural, but contrived or false. So the house you make is contrived, but the house a bird makes is natural. That would mean that we are not part of nature. Aren’t we? How can we be, we are more intelligent.
We are yet to reach a consensus on the definition of intelligence. Vaguely, intelligence is defined as abilities for abstract thought, understanding, communication, reasoning, learning, planning, emotional intelligence and problem solving. However, none of those qualities are unique to us. But that does not mean that we are not intelligent, it only means that we are yet to find the right definition.
We do not need a proper definition to distinguish between intelligent and stupid people. It’s obvious. Your ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend is stupid, you boss is always stupid, a person whose ideas does not match with you is a stupid, the looser you see on the roadside is stupid. Einstein is a benchmark for intelligence, even though he was so blinded by his faith that he did not accept his own theory and wasted the last half of his life. I am not saying here that these people are stupid or intelligent, but are we intelligent enough to judge? Isn’t our judgement of intelligence always biased by the way we think? Why do we always try to judge a person by our biased mind? Do not tell me that IQ tests can prove intelligence, they are biased themselves.
Our biasness about the superiority of our intelligence is like the Ptolemy’s self-congratulatory geocentric model. To Baba Ramdev’s fans he is intelligent because he knows the truth of life. Baba Ramdev thinks he is intelligent because he can fool a major chunk of people and become rich and famous. To a terrorist, he is intelligent because he is fooling the security and attacking the enemies of his faith. The mastermind of the attack thinks he is intelligent because he can easily fool few target people to believe that they are fighting a religious battle, while the truth is just dirty politics. While to others, all these people are just plain stupid.
By the simplest definition, intelligence should be something that will make us successful as an individual and as a group. Surprisingly, by that simplest definition human beings fail to qualify as intelligent. There is no direct correlation between success and intelligence. Some studies claim that in success less than 20% is contributed by intelligence. Nassim Nicholas Taleb in his book Fooled by Randomness wrote that major part of success is luck (without divine intervention). I would also like to add hard work and perseverance.
Now let’s see how intelligently we behave as a group. Let’s consider a group party where everyone is going to share the total cost equally. People’s intelligence makes them realize that they have to eat more so that they do not end up paying more that what they ate. Inevitably the total cost increases. Even though each and every individual behaved in a rationally intelligent way, as a group their behaviour was stupid because all of them ended up paying more. That is how mankind has behaved over and over again creating an exploitation pyramid described in my post Epilogue of Blood Barrels and Blood series. In our greed to get more than required we destroyed the balance of nature, resulting in inequality. To sustain civilization that inequality has to be sustained, thus was created the 'sense of separation' in terms to status, religion, patriotism, democracy, skin-colour, caste etc. This sense of separation helps in exploiting people so that some people become rich at the cost of others. It is ultimately responsible for all our troubles, from pickpockets to World Wars.
You might argue that, me being able to write about our lack of intelligence from my laptop over the internet, is a proof of our intelligence. Is it? According to David Landes book The Wealth and Poverty of Nation, while 250 years ago the difference of income per head between the richest and poorest was just 5 to 1, now it is over 400 to 1. Planes, internet, nuclear arms are not signs of progress as long as one-fifth of the world’s current population of around 6.4 billion people is undernourished. Mac D, KFC, Coke, Pepsi is useless as long as 20 million infants born per year are underweight, and more than 5 million of them die of hunger at a rate of one child every 5 seconds (read more).
Extracting more resource from earth cannot solve the inequality. All resources are limited, and the by-products of civilization will only end up polluting the environment further. This will ultimately reduce agricultural land. Our history proves our stupidity. We are driving the sixth mass extinction at a rate faster than species can evolve (read more).
Life is not about intelligence or superiority. It is about surviving. I am not saying we are the most stupid species; we aren’t the most intelligent either. We are just a part of nature, we cannot survive alone. The earlier we understand the better. Or may be, it’s all insignificant from the perspective of universe, and our destiny might well be predestined. We are here just to increase the randomness till it all ends. The truth we might never know with the flawed structure of our brain, but one thing is easy to understand, intelligence is realizing how stupid we are.
Cheers to our stupidity!