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Since August 30, 2002
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Source: http://www.emptyv.org/MiahKnowsAllandMore.htm

"Dear Miah, Who really is the smartest man alive?"

That depends on your measure of intelligence. MENSA holds that Nikos Ligeros, a math and computer science professor, has the highest IQ ever recorded-189. A 100 IQ score is generally accepted as average, so this man is 89% smarter than most people. The problem with this score, though, is that it comes from a test that is ridiculous. IQ tests, in general, are not a measure of general intelligence. Rather, they are a measure of one’s scholastic aptitude and test taking abilities. The IQ test shows the value we place in pen and paper schooling.

Another, perhaps more apt, measure from Howard Gardner holds that this logical, mathematical, linguistic intelligence is only two of several different types of intelligence. These other include:

-Spatial: the ability to formulate an internal map an navigate the environment

-Musical: the ability to see and understand pitch, rhythm, etc.

-Body-Kinesthetic: as related to motor movement

-Interpersonal: ability to understand others, how they feel, etc.

-Intrapersonal: how well one knows one’s self

Using this model, a Michael Jordan or Yo-Yo Ma would be just as intelligent as Nikos Ligeros. It would be a different type of intelligence, yes, but an equal one. The problem here is that our society does not really view them as equal. Take elementary schools, for example. In the state of New Mexico, there is no line item offering money for music programs. But, you can be sure that as soon as the children begin to spell, the school is preparing them for standardized testing by having them fill in the scantron’s that are so ubiquitous with public education.

The way I look at intelligence is more adaptive. It is a measure of your ability to live. Not in the “survival of the fittest” sense, though. Rather, if you can go about your life fairly well, so that you are content, then you are “the smartest man(or woman) alive.” You may not be where you want to be now, but you are working towards that end. It’s more forgiving than the other measures. It understands that life is not perfect. People will experience grief and depression but, if they didn’t, the moments of joy would not mean nearly as much. There may be times when they cop-out when asked about the plumping properties of various meat products. Hell, they may not even feel like answering anybody’s question. Yet, at the end of the day, they can hop into a hot bath, close their eyes, and stop thinking.  If only for a moment.