By Gregory Mitchell
Sternberg said that stupidity is not the bottom end of the IQ scale, but a separate cognitive factor that could be isolated and measured. Even high IQ people can be stupid, in which case, they have Negative Intelligence.
A major cause of Negative Intelligence is an inability to throw away false or out of date information, and continuing to hold on to steps of reasoning that have ceased to serve a purpose once conclusions have been reached. This type of information causes mental clutter, thus overloading Working Memory. It is called Exformation.
A person with high Negative Intelligence would typically have a high IQ but also a low Rationality Quotient. Rationality in this sense is the capacity to reflect, thus overcoming the need for impulsive closure. In other words, logic leads and then emotion follows should it be warranted, retaining the capacity to introspect.
Remember, Hitler had an IQ of 165, but also a high level of Negative Intelligence. High IQ and high Negative Intelligence is the most dangerous: a person who is high on the scale of destructivity.
Otto Fenichal maintained that “People become stupid ad hoc, that is, when they do not want to understand, where understanding would cause anxiety or guilt feeling, or would endanger an existing neurotic equilibrium.” This is called Cognitive Dissonance.
“Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe.” ―Albert Einstein
Confirmation bias apparently affects all of us. Simply put, we tend to first form an opinion, and then look at the evidence supporting that opinion. If evidence to the contrary is presented, we either downplay it or outright ignore it.
Negative intelligence or stupidity is the opposite of ontological Intelligence. With a high level of Negative Intelligence a person has a poor model of what exists; in other words, his map does not reflect the territory.
Stupidity and intelligence are not two ends of a continuum, they are two independent dimensions. It is possible to have a high IQ and be stupid or ignorantly blind at the same time. This is Negative Intelligence.
A person with a high score in Negative Intelligence often has social interest, but is socially Inept. A criminal can be charming when he is getting what he wants, he has the social skills - witness the con man - but he can just as quickly turn nasty when his needs are not being met. A person with high Negative Intelligence lacks the intuitive ability to pick up subtle cues in social situations, so he is experienced as a boor. Negative intelligence is a consequence of bad parenting and an even worse educational system that undervalues intuition and creativity. Negative Intelligence is not a conscious choice, it is something a person is stuck with, unless appropriate interventions are made. In a specialized professional situation that requires reflective thought, a person with high Negative Intelligence may acquit himself quite well, but in novel situations and in situations where he operates pre-reflectively, things can go very wrong. He is not very creative in a useful way.
There are two types of ignorance, negative ignorance and positive ignorance. Negative ignorance is when you think you know it all but don’t. Positive ignorance is when you know you don’t know it all. You can move forward from the latter.
Self-deception is a process of denying or rationalizing away the relevance, significance, or importance of opposing evidence and logical argument. It has been argued that humans are, without exception, highly susceptible to self-deception, as everyone has emotional attachments to beliefs, which in some cases may be irrational. Some evolutionary biologists, such as Robert Trivers, have even suggested that, because deception is such an important part of human behaviour (and animal behaviour generally), an instinct for self-deception can give a person a selective advantage: if someone can believe their own “lie” (i.e., their presentation that is biased toward their own self-interest), the theory goes, they will consequently be better able to persuade others of its “truth.”
This notion is based on the following logic. In humans, awareness of the fact that one is acting deceptively often leads to tell-tale signs of deception. Therefore, if self-deception enables someone to believe their distortions, they will not present such signs of deception and will therefore appear to be telling the truth.
It may also be argued that the ability to deceive, or self-deceive, is not the selected trait but a by-product of a more primary trait that is selected. Abstract thinking allows many evolutionary advantages such as more flexible, adaptive behaviors and innovation. Since a lie is an abstraction, the mental process of creating a lie can only occur in animals with enough brain complexity to permit abstract thinking.
Otherwise intelligent individuals may also become stupid when their rational thought is derailed by strong opinions or rigid beliefs. In this case the victim falls into confirmation bias and begins selecting data: becoming intentionally blind and deaf to contrary evidence, while at the same time collecting evidence which supports the beliefs. Rather than being based on low intelligence or missing knowledge, this is the stupidity of closed-mindedness and willful ignorance. Note that modern science specifically evolved to combat this form of stupidity. During scientific thought, we constantly criticize our own beliefs and assumptions (attempt to disprove hypotheses), while also using humility and extreme self-honesty to reduce our ego-based biases.
A saying attributed to Albert Einstein is “Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former.” Stupidity may be more accurately viewed not as the opposite of intelligence but as a kind of flawed intelligence, the darkness that makes the light of true intelligence visible. Contrasted with ignorance, which is the lack of knowledge, not the lack of intelligence.
|MIND DEVELOPMENT COURSES 1-8|
Many people have bad experiences at school and perhaps later in life, when attempting to study a new subject. It is easy to quickly get bogged down with new terminology, and often, new concepts and procedures seem unclear. This situation can quickly get out of hand as the student gets left behind and the subject either becomes an ongoing struggle or it is abandoned. But none of that is necessary; it is possible to succeed with the study of any subject.
With this course you will learn how to study a subject with maximum comprehension, with excellent recall, and with the ability to apply what you have learned effectively.
You will also learn how to take notes at rapid pace from books or live lectures, and how best to represent that information with key words, mind maps and flow charts that aid memory and understanding.
These abilities will be useful for your home studies, at college or work, and for your study of further Mind Development courses. You will indeed be able to succeed at studying effectively those subjects you are interested in, even those that were difficult before.
The practical exercises offered in this course help to develop visual perception, which is one branch of non-verbal communication, and address the subject of breathing and relaxation. Adequate oxygenation of the brain and a relaxed state of being is necessary for further developing the mind.
The eyes and the ears are the main channels through which one gains information about the world. As with listening skills, training in visualization and looking makes you more aware. When you are more aware, the subconscious mind has less influence. This means you are more relaxed, less anxious, less easily upset, a better memorizer - and your vision is improved.
The Effective Communication course offers a series of practical exercises which develop the skills of communication and help the student to apply the fruits of his or her learning here and now - both to his or her personal growth and to the practical issues of personal relationships and business.
Improvement in our ability to communicate externally is reflected by a similar gain in communication between parts of the brain. The practice exercises enable development of all areas of the brain, even those which have been long under-used. They affect, particularly, the integration of the right and left hemispheres of the brain. Each hemisphere governs a different way of thinking and seeing the world. By doing the exercises thoroughly, the student can bring both halves of the brain into mutual communication, so that he or she is freer to think holistically and experience the world from an expanded point of view.
Communication is the vehicle for all further techniques, so communications skills are a vital aspect of Mind Development. The Effective Communication course includes practical exercises to enhance the person's capacity to listen attentively and comprehend. Following that, questioning skills are practiced, which have relevance to communication, memory and understanding. This will help the student to maintain control of communication in practical, social and business situations. You will also learn about practical problem solving and how to achieve your goals in life.
Unless we can wake ourselves up from this mechanicalness and sleep, we cannot begin work on ourselves and we cannot get things done in life. We must learn the mood of concentration - of actually BEING in the Here-and-Now, noticing and observing, and focused on our actions.
Concentration is a means to develop the will, so that life may be lived purposely and creatively, rather than as a reaction to the flow of sensations. Because you will not flit from one thing to another, like a butterfly, you will be able to choose to focus your mind on things, e.g., study or work, and will increase your skills and knowledge in these areas. Most importantly, you will be able to focus more clearly on your vision of what you want to achieve.
In short, your mental life is both intensified and broadened. The ability to concentrate is, therefore, a valuable skill which will enhance all other skills. Almost all the drills and exercises of Mind Development help develop your ability to concentrate. But are there are ways to improve your concentration directly? Yes, and this course teaches the best of them.
We all learn to read at school, after a fashion. But for most of us, this is not an optimal use of our brain power. In this course you will learn to better use the left brain's focused attention combined with the right brain's peripheral attention, in close harmony. Good communication between the brain hemispheres is a prerequisite for creative thinking and also a sense of well-being, where thoughts and feelings are integrated.
Reading may be defined as an individual's total inter-relationship with symbolic information. Reading is a communication process requiring a series of skills. As such reading is a thinking process rather than an exercise in eye movements. Effective reading requires a logical sequence of thought patterns, and these patterns require practice to set them into the mind. The methods currently used in schools do not touch on the issues of speed, comprehension and critical analysis and indeed all those skills which can be described as advanced reading techniques. In short, most of your reading problems have not been dealt with during your initial education. By using appropriate techniques, the limitations of early education can be overcome and reading ability improved by 500% or more.
The course teaches in-depth reading techniques that greatly improve literary intelligence, so that you can clearly perceive the ideas and values that the writer is expressing and relate them to those of other authors and so be better able to make objective conclusions.
Though a highly developed memory and intuitive skills are not essential for life in modern society, they were important survival skills for primitive man who had no reference books to look up when he forgot something, no maps to guide him on long journeys, and was often in perilous situations where intuitive insight made the difference between life and death. To further evolve, we need to reclaim this heritage, which depends on the restoration and integration of our right-brain processes.
Without memory there is no knowledge, without knowledge there is no certainty and without certainty there is no will. We need a good memory to be able to orient ourselves in a rich network of all that we know and understand, to make sense of it and to move forward to attain goals that are based in reality and true to our selves.
You will learn advanced memory techniques in the Creative Memory Course that utilize the amazing powers of the right brain, which enable you to "file away" any new piece of information so that it is readily accessible for future immediate access.
As you continue to use the methods of cumulative perception taught in this course, this kind of random access memory begins to become second nature. Many memory experts call this the "soft breakthrough" because it happens almost imperceptibly at first, instead of hitting you like a mental bolt of lightning. Everything you find important is given its own unique mental file. Just like the executive whose desk has been buried in paper for years, who suddenly discovers his computer can do a much better job of storing and arranging information, a filed, organized mind suddenly begins to perform impressive recall tasks on demand.
Using these techniques Gregory was able to run 100 meters in a time that nearly matched the then British champion, with relatively little physical fitness preparation (60% or less compared with a typical athlete). You may not personally want to increase your sprinting speed, but the principles described here have many applications both for physical and mental development.