We have all come across them, sometime or another, these exclusive little groups and clubs. Little bands of intellectuals and high class prudes who tend to look at you down the length of their respective noses. You might as well have them stick signs around stating: “No Dogs and No Normal People Allowed”.
Certain people and certain places seem to have this little thing going on. There are banks that don’t give you their full service because your balance may not be in 7 digits. There are certain boutiques where the sales people (who are probably poorer than you anyway) look at you askance. I don’t even need to mention the clubs. It can be a right pain in the arse having to deal with places like this. I don’t dress to impress, nor do I flaunt, so I usually have to settle for a few firm words in English to get things done, and a very pointed ‘thank you’ at the end. As my uncle once said, “Its all about money in this bloody country!” and I have to agree with him. There is not much you can do about it really. You can either create a big fuss and try to make a difference, like for example, wearing sarongs to where ever you please. Or you could make tons of money, and THEN ask everyone to stick it where the sun don’t shine. For now, I simply ignore it all.
But there is another form of this exclusive attitude that has nothing to do with money. Rather it is a form of intellectual grouping that excludes anyone whose IQ is below a certain level, or whose debating skills are not up to par. It is exceedingly evident on the internet, where google and the existence of a time gap between statement and repartee, allows debates to go on ad nauseum. Blogs seem to be custom built for this sort of activity. Just take a look around the blogs in Kottu. You will find a ton of debates going on, with the key feature being the trampling of one side of the argument, and the humiliation of its proponent. What some of the debaters really want, is not to prove the validity of their point, but rather to prove the strength of their intellectuality, or the power of their argument. It may be a fine line to draw, but it is a line nonetheless. These type of people are at times unable to comprehend any other point of view besides their own. In their minds, what their view is right and everyone else can go to hell.
As a teenager I used to love debates. I was relatively good at debating and would spend hours on a subject and at times follow it for days, persistently like a dog worrying a bone. I would debate with my Muslim friends, Atheist acquaintances, Christian colleagues, and Hindu room mates. Then once during an online free-for-all with a friend, I was called a retard. Now I have been called many things, and profanity being leveled at me was not a new thing, but the venom imbued in that one word surprised me. For a moment, I wondered why that was an insult, though at the time I preferred the politically correct term: mentally challenged. It was then that I realized that, to this chap, the greatest insult was an insult to the intellect. He was a chap so obsessed with his own intellect that nothing else mattered as much.
I have grown up since then, and no longer find it imperative to prove to others that I am smart. I know that I am intelligent, and it doesn’t matter to me what others think about that fact. But there are a lot of people who are yet to discover that little tit-bit of wisdom. They argue, being either openly profane or sprinkling their comments with sarcastic smilies. There are bloggers whose writings and comments I used to admire, but now they are simply content with winning an argument, or putting the other person down. It’s sad really. They don’t realize that they are simply going around in circles.
As Edward De Bono said:
For example, a highly intelligent person may take up a view on a subject and then defend that view (through choice of premises and perception) very ably. The better someone is able to defend a view, the less inclined is that person actually to explore the subject. So the highly intelligent person can get trapped by intelligence, together with our usual sense of logic that you cannot be more right than right, into one point of view.
I try to keep an open mind myself. You have to listen to another point of view if you want to learn. It does not matter if you do not agree with it, you just have to listen to it and dampen the impulse to fire a volley back. Else:
So we sometimes find that the intelligent person is trapped into one point of view by his or her ability to defend that view.
This is the intelligence trap that we fall in so easily. I say to you, stop with the petty attacks. If you are intelligent, good for you. Just try not to shove it down another’s throat. There is nothing better than a good constructive debate, so Ladies and Gentlebloggers, please leave your egos at the door and join the party.