Too often times I see lists of misconceptions like this on the internet that just make it seem like the misconception is a blatant/obvious fact or extremely well researched criticism rather than just coming from someone’s own personal perspective. So I just want to remind readers that these are my opinions on the issue and it’s up to each individual to live and learn and determine whether or not they agree with such things for themselves.
There is no good measure for the highest levels of depth, perspective or wisdom in my opinion. Men like Einstein and Darwin had only above average IQ’s but had far greater insights than men such as William Sidis whose IQ was off the charts.
Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory is the perfect example of our society’s misconception that IQ has anything to do with genius or intelligence. The character of Penny from the same show is actually not aware of her own intelligence. Human social interaction takes such advanced ability that there isn’t even a proper measure for it. People think that if something can’t be measured that it doesn’t exist.
Furthermore, that Goethe was the smartest man in history because of his high IQ is also a misconception in my opinion. Men admired Goethe because he seemed enabled. Why do people pick Goethe over William Sidis? Both men have very high IQ’s. It’s most likely because Goethe looked classy and enabled while Sidis appeared almost autistic or disabled.
Going back to The Big Bang Theory, the men on the show are often described as “geniuses.” I definitely do not think anyone with a high IQ or a PhD is a genius. I would not consider Sheldon, Leonard, Howard, or Raj’s characters to be geniuses.
People whom I consider to be scientific geniuses: Newton, Darwin, Einstein
People whom I do not consider to be geniuses: Bohr, Heisenberg, Planck, Francis Crick, Robert Oppenheimer, Kurt Godel and many, many more. These are men of talent and skill, and many despite opening up new areas of thought did so through luck and talent rather than the raw nature of genius, at least in my opinion. Nowadays, if you can do large calculations in your head or remember the weather of every day since you were born like those autistic savants you are dubbed a genius. During prehistoric times, the human mind evolved to realize that these things are not that important and I would say mother nature got it right up to this very day.
2) There are no evil people.
For me this is just obviously not true. Men like Stalin or Pol Pot did not commit their level of atrocities because they were actually trying to help anyone but themselves. It’s interesting that Western media will label Stalin as a sociopath (which I’m sure he was) and has no problem painting Hitler and Pol Pot as evil villains (which they are,) but will also create documentaries about how Pol Pot had the intention of restoring Cambodia to its former glory or how Stalin’s reign of terror raises the question of whether ‘the ends justify the means’ as if Stalin actually had his own people’s genuine interest at heart.
Western media paints these men as evil villains because it is convenient, but Western leaders do not want Westerners to question the intentions of the state because Westerners will begin questioning the intentions of Western states. Thus, you get the paradox of Western media portraying men like Stalin as sociopaths as well as examples of good intentions gone wrong. Western leaders would like nothing more than to conceal the fact that their intentions are nothing more than wicked and selfish and try to pass off every mistake as a good intention gone wrong. Films like Babel do a terrible injustice to humanity in painting all of the world’s problems as resulting from forgivable misunderstandings rather than much more sinister forces of greed, elitism, selfishness, false heroism and the like stemming from people who are never sorry for such things unless they get caught.
“The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it.”
― Albert Einstein
I include Einstein’s quote because I also disagree with it. People are responsible for their actions. To take away responsibility from the wicked and put it on the decent lets them off the hook. Just because wicked people are going to be wicked no matter what and it’s harder to control them, doesn’t mean they are not responsible for what they do. It also results in the propagation of the idea that the West constantly needs to intervene which is also problematic (see number 5.)
3) and 4)
“If you are born poor it’s not your mistake; but if you die poor it’s your mistake.”
“The big secret in life is that there is no big secret. Whatever your goal, you can get there if you’re willing to work.”
The way the American economy works, there are only so many ‘spots’ available and men like Alan Greenspan support maintaining a constant level of poverty to force people to work harder so that there can supposedly be more for everyone which is supposed to foster economic growth which will eventually result in elimination of poverty (which makes no sense when you are maintaining a constant level of poverty.)
No matter how hard people work, with a set-up of 1% being privileged and a base-line level of poverty, there is no way everyone can be part of the 1% and no way all people can escape poverty or unemployment.
In University classes, when there is a bell curve and a specific fail rate for each class, no matter how hard everyone works, only some people can get A’s and not all people can pass.
It’s easier to blame people for not working hard enough than blame a system that is inherently flawed. In my opinion, it’s simply not fair to say: “it’s your fault for being poor” when there will be a faction that is poor no matter how hard everybody tries. It’s not fair to say: “you can all be part of the 1% if that’s what you really want and you work hard enough for it” because it’s statistically impossible.
5) We don’t intervene enough.
Yes, Western media loves showing examples of where the West did nothing resulting in many people dying. This tricks us into supporting interventions that really do not serve to help the people of other countries anyway, but in the name of humanitarian intervention.
To be honest, we are better off just letting these genocides take place rather than going into a country with the false illusion of truly caring for others. Only in the most extreme of circumstances should we allow foreign intervention and the public must be 100% informed that it is merely the support of the lesser of two evils.
Better yet would be if Western media would report on the genocides Western countries have been contributing to such as what was occurring in East Timor a few decades ago. As Noam Chomsky said, “the simple way to stop terrorism is to stop contributing to it.”
We in the developed countries allow terrible suffering all around the world all the time without caring much about it. We let people within our own cities suffer all the time without caring about it. (I’m not saying this is right, I’m just saying it’s the case.) So why is it that once in a while we suddenly care so much about the plight of one people or another who are featured in the news? And why is it that those people whose plight we suddenly care so much about always have some resource Western powers are so interested in?
Unless Western states are UNEQUIVOCALLY interfering with the best interest of another people in mind, they shouldn’t be doing it. But this never occurs. Why would it? Why would the United States, Britain or any other Western power (Canada included) spend so much money on military operations just to help another people when domestic funding shortages are always a concern unless there is something in it for them as well?
Of course the people of Rwanda want the Western states to intervene. Who wouldn’t in that situation? The Western states didn’t because there was nothing in it for them. This greed is the same reason they do what they do in the Middle East. This doesn’t mean we should start sending armed forces all over the world. Malicious intent will always result in more harm in the long run.
People should just support natural peace keepers and real human rights activists rather than calling for state and military intervention to solve all the world’s problems.
Noam Chomsky said it perfectly: if you want to support democracy in another country that is currently overrun by an authoritarian regime, you do it by supporting the grassroots democratic movements within that region rather than sending in the military of self-serving foreign interests to topple the current regime and set up new ones that could equally care less about the populace of that region.
6) Success only comes to those that follow the rules.
Obama has been rewarded for being a pawn to the system so to him it might genuinely look this way. Obama also makes this statement so that the population is easier for those in the administration to control. It’s pretty obvious that knowing which rules to follow and which ones to break affords the most success in this society. Then there are those with enough money to hire lawyers and lobbyists to alter the rules of society to benefit themselves so they aren’t technically breaking “the rules” (other than those of natural ethical conduct.) Then there is the international scene which is largely lawless (save for a body like the UN which clearly does not have much power) where states basically take and do whatever they can get away with.
We always need to ask:
- What are these rules?
- Who is setting these rules?
- Do these rules and regulations make sense?
- Do the people who create these rules and regulations actually know what they are doing? And are they doing it with the good of the people in mind, or are they just doing whatever makes their lives easier?
Education does a very fake balancing act of formally declaring that they want people to think for themselves while being more interested in making sure people are properly in line with whatever allows for easiest administration of the masses (which includes the masses funneling through college and university as well, so that by the time people reach graduate studies, only the acceptably obedient have been selected for in most cases.)
7) The Nobel Prize committee is infallible.
Richard Dawkins pretty much judges an entire people based on the number of Nobel Prizes that group has received.
The Nobel Prize like any other prize is given out by PEOPLE who are highly susceptible to error and bias like everybody else. One of their greatest follies is the need to maintain a pseudo-divine aura of prestige and reputability which is also played up in Western media to make the prize look like it represents the height of human intellectual ability and achievement.
Again, the people sitting on the Nobel Prize committee are the same as people sitting on any committee who are keen to try to make sure they are protecting their own lot at the same time as they dole out “reputable recognition.”
Albert Einstein was not given the prize for relativity. He received it for the photoelectric effect because it was a safer choice.
The peace prize being awarded to people such as Kissinger, Obama, and Liu XiaoBo speaks for itself.
For me the highest levels of thought, wisdom and intelligence are beyond reward, recognition, or any type of standardized measure. I actually think the verses of Emily Dickinson read in the right context and in the right frame of mind constitute some if the highest levels of thought, wisdom, and intelligence. However, such things are highly personal and not easy to come to a consensus on with a large group of people enough to be able to give a formal award for such an accomplishment.
8) If you’re not shocked by quantum mechanics, you don’t understand it.
I just personally don’t think this is true. Bohr is filled with bad advice. He says we can never understand the universe, we can only say something about it.
Einstein thought the universe could be understood and was more interested in intuition than anything else.
I think Bohr is just saying that because he doesn’t have the imagination (or capacity) to understand the universe, but wants to make sure that his achievements are recognized. Thus, even if he doesn’t actually understand anything, as long as he is “achieving” something, that’s all that matters to him.
“I don’t understand shit, but as long as it looks like I’m doing shit, that’s all that matters,” is the gist of what Bohr is all about. I see this a lot from scientists and it’s pretty much the difference between merely reading me the time (as Bohr does) and understanding the true underlying mechanics that make a clock tick (as Einstein does.)
The Nobel Prize committee and science in general is dominated by men like Bohr. With string theory, physicists are more interested in mathematical consistency than any real creativity that might be messy and not completely accurate at first, but whose general ideas hold the secrets to new understandings of the way the universe truly behaves.
If you look at J.J. Thomson’s plum pudding model of the atom and compare it to the modern model of the atom, one can see how imprecise but extremely important a very rough, but groundbreaking, idea can truly be. Nowadays, nobody wants to present ‘plum pudding’-type models anymore because they want to present a very impressive model (like our modern atomic model) right off-the-bat; otherwise, it might look silly in comparison to all the highfalutin math and equations (some of which don’t even lead to anything, I might add,) that we see so much of today.
9) Society shouldn’t care about personal growth or development.
Frankly, when someone is preaching the rhetoric of the oppressors, there is a higher chance they will get rewarded by the oppressors. Someone like Charles J. Sykes is exactly that type of person.
What is more important than personal growth, development and self-actualization? What else should we as people be trying to achieve? Nothing, apparently, according to someone like Sykes who just wants people to suck-it-up, buckle down, and be subservient to employers and the capitalist system at large.
10) Chamberlain tried to “appease” Hitler with the genuine objective of doing the right thing to make the world a better place.
The Chamberlain example is an example of pacifism we all have to learn about in school, but is based on enormous deception and misconception.
The first assumption is that Western countries like France, Britain, the US and even Canada are “good guys” and that the well-intentioned governments of these countries are responsible for maintaining the well-being of the planet. The discussion we have in school is supposed to surround what the best plan of action for the Western allies would be in order to maintain world peace: ie. “Should we have appeased Hitler or put a hasty end to his breeches of the Treaty of Versailles early on?”
But the ENORMOUS error is the assumption that the states of the Western allied countries are actually concerned with world peace or trying to bring any real justice to the world. Clearly from other exploits, the Western allied states (like all states) have shown that they could care less about making the world a better place and are largely just out for self-benefit and self-glorification. So why do we bother treating these vicious institutions of power as noble peacekeepers?
The best thing would have been for a GENUINELY well-intentioned state to stop Hitler early on. But this doesn’t exist because why would a state spend so much money on something that doesn’t result in some perceivable benefit to itself?
Chamberlain was not appeasing Hitler with the noble intention if preserving world peace in mind. Chamberlain was appeasing Hitler because he knew that Britain, like France at the time, was frankly too weak to go to war. Even if the allies were strong enough for war, despite knowing of the crimes being committed against certain groups, they still would not have acted until there was something in it for themselves. Let’s say Britain was strong enough for war and did stop Hitler earlier than what was the real case • even in this scenario, it would not have been with the genuine desire to help anybody in mind. They would have only went to war to stop Hitler early on to save themselves the trouble of having to deal with him later, for example, or because Hitler was threatening their holdings somehow and they felt strong enough, and, thus, confident enough, to violently maintain their stranglehold on one set of assets or another.
Western propaganda makes Chamberlain going off to speak to Hitler out to be a scenario where a man genuinely trying his best to maintain peace for the sake of peace is going off to fulfill his responsibility of having to deal with a belligerent. In my opinion, he was merely a man looking out for the interests of Britain (or at least those in Britain that held any sway at the time) and likely his own as well.
Western propaganda makes it seem like Chamberlain’s “appeasement strategy” that was “genuinely aimed towards achieving peace” was a bad idea and uses this as an example of how weakling pacifism is not good for achieving peace (as if that was ever an objective.) With the assumption that the Western allied states are actually trying to achieve peace as an unquestionable assumption, Western propaganda basically implies that the only alternative to pacifism is militarism in order to achieve global peace and justice.