Intellectual Yet Idiot

Intellectual Yet Idiot

I was looking through my drafts and realized I had fully intended to do a piece on Nassim Taleb’s “Intellectual Yet Idiot” – but the Didact beat me to it with an utterly fantastic article.

It was fun to look over the signs that “you may be an IYI” though and realize a few of them applied to me.

Take TED talks. Most of them are worthless. I’ve seen enough at this point that I refuse to watch one without it being recommended by someone I trust. Why did I watch that many? Blame Mike Rowe. That, and one from Boston Dynamics were sufficiently cool and insightful I thought there might be more interesting stuff to peruse.

Sadly, the next one I saw was Pollan on food. And the bad underlying assumptions just got worse with every one I watched. So I gave up. I fully agree that, in general, TED talks are for people who want to think they’re smart. They market themselves to people who value being smart, and bring on, largely, people saying fashionably “smart” things. Occasionally the stopped clock has the correct time.

That said, the one by Alexander Macris, creator of the OSR-style Adventurer Conquerer Kings system (ACKs) was also worthwhile, on how our language has progressively dumbed down.

I also ping on a couple others – “Used to think fat was harmful”, “Only drink red wine with steak” (at least when drinking wine vs. beer) – and used to believe a couple others.

FWIW – I don’t think the checklist is a “if you (falsely) believe these things are true” so much as, based on your lifestyle, and in some cases “intellectual signaling” – first edition copy of Black Swan as an item got a laugh from me – a set of flags that you may value the appearance of intelligence and signaling you’re part of the “smart” crowd more than actually being right.

It’s an accusation I often seen thrown by liberals wen arguing with them and not budging because the facts presented are either on my side or neutral – “you just have to be right.”

Well, yes. I do. But not in the context they mean. It was, admittedly a long journey to this point as I used to have a lot of ego invested in not only having the right answer but in not being wrong, and trust me, “you can’t accept you’re wrong” is exactly what is meant, and from what I’ve seen of their behavior, total projection on their part.

I do, in a sense, still “have to be right”. However, I care about arriving at the right answer, and lost much of my ego on arriving with it in the first place. I can and *do *change my mind on things, even not as easily as I likely should.

I want the truth.

For those who are interested, here’s Mike Rowe and Alexander Macris.

 

About Last Redoubt

Ex nuke mechanic, jack of all trades.