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on judging people by their intelligence

I originally wrote this as a response to someone trying to justify a person like the person that I am about to describe. Enjoy ~

There are lots of people who are intelligent in the world, and there are probably even more people who think that they are intelligent, when actually they are not that intelligent after all. However, due to the complicated nature of the world, more often than not there are people who are above average intelligence in certain subjects, people who excel at biology, say, and those same people are likely to be less intelligent when it comes to other things, for example, chemistry.

Of course, there's no understanding of what intelligence is without also having less intelligent people. This is an idea that I think is tarnished, because most of the people that I have spoken to that are considered less intelligent are actually very intelligent when it comes to at least one thing, they just have not been observed in the right situation, doing the right thing, for the people who think that they're intelligent to see that they're not the only intelligent people in the world.

Anyway, let's go back to our person who is very good at biology. They are studying biology at university (don't look too deeply into this, or ask what part of biology they are studying, because I am not this person. I do not know.). This person can answer any queries that anyone might have about biology, because when it comes to biology, they are the best. And they have been brought up with the mindset that their own self worth comes from being the best.

Now, self worth is a pretty big thing to talk about, and it is also not the main topic that I want to discuss, but people judge their self worth in lots of different ways. Some people will judge how important they are, how much they love themselves, on how fast they can run five kilometers. Similarly, some people might only think that they are worth something if they can lift anything. Some people base their self worth on their skills on Fortnite (I will read this back in a few years, and this single sentence will make this text seem dated). And of course, some people judge themselves based on their intelligence. A person considering themselves worthless because they cannot do any one thing is never a good thing, but in and of itself, having a drive in life isn't inherantly bad. It's good to have goals, it's good for people to be looking for how they can improve, good for people to work hard.

However, as this drive increases, so too does the knowledge that they are exceptional at what they are working for, that they are better than the people around them at biology. In their university, the word "biology" becomes synonymous with biology (naturally this is unrealistic hyperbole, but I hope that you get the idea). And this person starts to change. No longer are they a normal person striving to be better at biology, now they are the best, and the way that they act because of this is also changing. They sneer at people who struggle to grasp the complex concepts that come with degree-level biology. They direct deprecating jokes at their friends doing chemistry, because those couldn't name every single bone inside a frog - in three different languages. They smugly role their eyes when results are handed out, because they know that all the other members of the class have inferior intelligence, so what's the point in even comparing results with them?

The desire to be the greatest has consumed them.

Their entire existence revolves around their ability in one single, miniscule part of existence, blown epicly out of proportion by their desire to be the best. But this is only one small aspect of the problem

This isn't just a matter of pleasantries, though. Belittling people because of their intelligence can be extremely detrimental to the recipient of the exchange. It could permanently alter the way that they see themselves, and affect them for life, even if the culprit only uttered the words to make themselves feel better, trapped inside their superficial prison. This kind of behaviour is elitist.

Most of the time, I'd say that it's okay for people to be the way they are, whatever that is. If someone is Muslim, or someone is gay, that's okay, and that is a perfectly acceptable medium for them to live their life by, because these personal aspects have no bearing on the lives of other people (unless a person is personally affiliated with said people, for example, their parent or their partner, in which case they have even more reason to be accepting of the person). But when the personality of an individual can be described as bigotry, that is when there is a problem. The minute that one person lays into another person, the second that they vocalise their personally held belief that they are superior to someone else because of the grades that they get, that is when it stops being okay.

And anyone who tries to protect such a person, anyone who stands up for such a belief, is not only as bad as the perpetrator, no, they are worse. Because on their own, a bigot's message feebly flies only on their own voice. But when they have support, that message becomes an anthem.

October 09, 2019