8 June 2008

Sick of Being Sick

Take this test!
Like a meticulous collector, you've fed your brain a unique set of facts and figures over the years. Words, numbers, you've got it all. That's what makes you a Facts Curator.

Whether or not you intend to absorb every piece of information that comes your way, your mind has certain steel-trap qualities to it. You are a knowledge sponge. You have almost enough words in your head to fill a dictionary, and you're equally adept when it comes to manipulating numbers. You can also detect important patterns in number sequences, and probably remember the mnemonic devices you were taught in grade school.
You may feel comfortable in classroom settings where absorbing details is critical. You're also able to learn from example and piece together all the little facts in life to get to the big picture. That's why you never stop accumulating information as you walk through life.

Your strengths lie in both the verbal and math realms — placing you in the same arena as someone like Bill Gates. Gates has the ability to not only store and retrieve an especially large amount of specialized data, but to translate and present that information to the population at large. His entire empire is based on this unique talent. And to think — your brain works in this same way! When it comes right down to it, you and other Facts Curators can ride a wave of information to live a truly enriched life.

Because I was bored today and still ailing from a nasty cold, I decided to test my IQ for fun. I got 136 which isn't bad considering I didn't resort to pen and paper and completed the test in bed, at invalid pace. So ok, I'm not a genius like Sharon Stone (she got 140), but at least I have the social intelligence not to attribute May's Sichuan earthquake to bad karma.

I find it amusing how this profile draws similarities between Bill Gates and me (or anyone with similar test results as me). I guarantee you that Bill Gates and I have very little in common. I'm hardly business driven and have very little ambition. I also don't have a clue how to turn my many far-fetched ideas into profitable enterprises and wouldn't know how to begin to execute them if I wanted to. Most of the time, I sit there passively contemplating extravagant scenarios but I do nothing about them.

In fact, this IQ thing is completely retarded. It's very much a Western concept. It falls on its face in certain rural communities where social, spatial and naturalist intelligences are more important for success. I'm therefore not a strong advocate of Binet's IQ test for rating individuals' cognitive abilities. I think the validity of any cognitive test depends largely on what parameters are being tested and whether those parameters are relevant to that community's values and lifestyle. In general, I am more inclined towards Dr Gardner's eight intelligences:

Linguistic intelligence ("word smart")
Logical-mathematical intelligence ("number/reasoning smart")
Spatial intelligence ("picture smart")
Bodily-Kinesthetic intelligence ("body smart")
Musical intelligence ("music smart")
Interpersonal intelligence ("people smart")
Intrapersonal intelligence ("self smart")
Naturalist intelligence ("nature smart")

Emotional intelligence (EQ) is also an attribute that I respect and value over IQ. Sadly it is hard to come by these days. Society still seems to raise IQ on a pedestal at the expense of humanistic aptitude.

I was reading a French forum a couple of months ago. It was my impression that French people seem to be understandably pro-Binet. Of course I shouldn't generalise (after all, I'm part French) but that's the impression I got from the posts. The forum comments were rife with vicious personal attacks on other bloggers' low intelligence or 'lack of logic'. There were several people being accused of 'having a low IQ' because their arguments were judged as not making any sense. Even poor grammar was seen as a good excuse for holding others with contention. The comments went on and on, with each blogger insinuating that they were more intelligent than the other, as if IQ mattered above everything, over social skills for example. In many French forums that I have encountered, there seems to be a general concern for who will deliver the most high-impact argument and assert their intellectual superiority as opposed to who will demonstrate the most regard for other people's opinion and communicate most diplomatically. The forum encouraged depersonalisation, aggression and objectification of other members. It was like a bunch of apes trying to show how clever they were by clubbing all the other apes. Very disturbing.

I've been sick for several days now. Fun fun fun. Just my luck that it's a long weekend and I could be out and about but I have no choice but to be in bed pretending to study.

Hence all that bitterness.

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