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Luis Javier Salvador

Translator English to Spanish / Spanish to English,


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Survival of the smartest: Brains over brawn, why? (moral question)

Hello, fellow TED users,

First of all, I would like you to look upon this exposition more as a philosophical moral exercise than anything else. As you can expect, this is not in any shape or form a claim in favor of physical abuse or any other kind of abuse, for that matter.

We live in a society where people who take advantage of other people by means of their superior natural strength are rightly considered bullies (except in sports, of course). On the other hand, people who do the same by means of their innate intelligence are considered winners in virtually every possible circumstance. For instance, in the ruthless business world (among many others). Is it right to use this innate advantage to make mincemeat of less intelligent competitors, crush their hopes and destroy their lives? Why is this behavior not even frowned upon?

Some could say that in order to success in life or in business in particular, it's also required to work very hard, that a high IQ is simply not enough. Yet, a similar effort is made by the muscular guy in the gym. Consequently, level of effort doesn't seem to be the key to understand the difference in perceived morality.

Some others could say that strong people can success in sports and smart people in business and therefore, they should stick to what they excel in. Very well, but then we find that in every single sport or physical job, it's morally acceptable to use our intelligence to our advantage (even in weight-lifting, where a wise workout planning is vital), while in white-collar professions, it's unacceptable to use our physical strength to defeat our competition. So, appropriate field of work is not likely to be the key either.

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      Jan 25 2013: I like your vision on morality and agree that kindness should rank up there, but what I meant is that Intelligence ranks the highest in morality when it comes to competition in this ruthless world. Getting rid of competitors by means of intelligence is fine by most people, or at least, it is the approach that is least frowned upon.
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          Jan 25 2013: Thank you for that wonderful advice! I'll try to do that when possible :)

          Focusing on self-improvement is a sensible approach, as releases some of the pressure of catching up with others. Unfortunately, competition is ubiquitous in our society. For example, every time we get a job, someone else is rejected. Every time we occupy a parking space on a packed street, someone else won't. In general terms, every time we make money, someone around the globe loses it. We can't help getting caught up in competition, even if indirectly.

          But I guess we can reduce the exposure to it by following your advice.

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