Nikko Scelzo

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Is everyone capable of deep intellectual thought?

I have been thinking a lot lately and I have wondered whether or not the average person is capable of the intellectual thoughts of the "geniuses" of our world. Is it possible that the geniuses of our world have just been fortunate enough to connect the dots and that everyone is capable of these thoughts, they just have not had that sort of... self discovery yet.

  • Oct 12 2011: Is everyone capable.....Yes. Will everyone "tap into" it....No. Why? Becuase it requires you to break the mindset of society, swim against the current, question things, don't be comfortable in ignorance. Yet so many people don't know or realize that they are ignorant (ignorance is bliss). and some prefer to happily remain there....not me. yet the more I learn the more I realize I don't know and will never know......and i love that part of it. As for the geniuses of the world I think society and intellectuals would define them differently. You spoke of "self-discovery" which would imply an intrinsic value to knowledge and not necessarilya value to society. Personally my deep intellectual thoughts consistently lead me to infinate regressions but the wisdom picked up along the way to the root of each thought has helped me to become a better person.
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      Oct 12 2011: Hi Everett,
      I agree that everyone is probably capable of deeper thoughts and feelings, and also agree that not everyone taps into the possibilities. It seems, however, that the mindset of society is changing, and perhaps those of us who like to explore on a deeper level ARE the current. It feels like those who do NOT want to explore are swimming against the current at this time. I honestly think that we are at a place and time in the evolutionary process when learning more about ourselves and others is the more prefered practice. I too love the exploration, and would not deny myself the opportunity to experience all that is possible in this human form.
      • Oct 13 2011: I agree we are the current. I just dont think we are in the majority. How many people in your family and friends would watch a documentary, ted talk, or anything that triggers deeper thought becuase you showed it to them? Yes they are swimming against the current but the are in the majority right now.
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          Oct 13 2011: Almost every friend and family member I can think of would probably watch a documentary, ted talk or something that triggers deeper thought, and sometimes, they recommend this "stuff" to me as well:>) People don't hang out with me, and I with them for nothing! My world is full of people who are genuinely exploring life. Maybe I have a little influence?...LOL:>)
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    Oct 7 2011: It is a simple fact that as many as 60% of university students never reach the stage of formal operations (Piaget) which distilled is abstract thought. This is seldom discussed or written about. That means that many, many people never understand sarcasm, irony or other abstractions in math and in other areas of cognition.
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      Oct 7 2011: As far as morals go, I have been thinking about them a lot lately. I have been wondering... what is it that decides these morals? I believe that it has been societal influence, the way that we have learned many things in our life, through association. We interpret this information differently though that is why people have different morals... it is similar to a math problem... with an infinite number of variables... influences on our life... on our brain... our interpretations of these experiences are due to our interpreting of all of the previous experiences... when i was thinking about morals... i saw them as a problem of clarity...peoples morals vary from person to person because when we are taught the morals they are not clearly defined...they are a part of our subconscious... another way i was looking at this issue is psychopaths... because i believe that it is key to look at extreme situations as well as the average... because they can tell you a lot about something... psychopaths are known as people without any morals... they are able to act without any emotional impact... i.e. killing someone without any remorse... this may seem to be a very unstable person... someone who does not function properly... but i believe that psychopaths might even have a greater understanding of the world than most may not be that they do not have morals it may be that they do not agree with the societal influences... they do not feel as though society should be able to tell them "this is wrong" or perhaps they do not know that something is wrong, they failed to learn that lesson.... why is something morally wrong? because we have decided in the past? okay if so then how do we make these decisions... what is the right moral decision when deciding what the value is? is one life worth more than another? is a childs life worth more than an adult? we often see this as being the case because the child did not get a chance to live yet.
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        Oct 8 2011: Just a remark.
        I do not like the word 'psychopaths' and praise the day it will be vanished from our language.

        There are people with deficient brains in the way that input is processed a bit different than usual. They conflict with society and in many cases can develop psychoses.
        A psychosis you can see as an illness as the body dysfunctions. If this happens there is nothing wrong with their hearts and they are often confused but loving and caring people.

        Psychopaths are mental healthy people with good brains that in contrast have a heart of stone due to a lot of atrocities they had to injure as they grew up. They’ve shut themselves off of their feelings to survive.

        I noticed that few people make this distinction and hold the mentally ill for the mentally disturbed and mix it all up. The first are not dangerous and need our care, the second can be dangerous and need our love.
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          Oct 8 2011: Words are meant for communication...I used the word because it is what the mental illness has been defined as in reference to these people. I do not believe neither person to be at fault for the things that they do, it is merely the way they have interpreted the messages society has given them. It is because of lack of clarity that the lessons that are meant to be taught are not always learned. People retain different lessons from the same situations.
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        Oct 9 2011: Please let us not be glib about psychopaths. I had to study them intensively when I was developing a neuroscience tool for a computer input. If there is such a thing as an evil human being, psychopaths are the very definition of evil. Much of what we know in the media about them is a function of their own superlative skills of manipulation. They are not always formed by abuse. They are not always caught. They are people who are so self centered that the only thing that counts is their own pleasure and success to the extent that if it gives them pleasure to rape and torture a child that is just the way it is. This is why I reject Ayn Rand philosophies so completely.

        Here is an old interview with the world expert on the topic.

        In addition, only the stupid ones get caught. The rest are out there and often in the business world where exploitation, lies, and ruthlessness are most grandly compensated. For more information on this please read "Snakes in Suits" by Robert Hare PhD world expert in psychopathology.
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      Oct 7 2011: but how many adult lives is that childs life worth? 1? 10? 100? at what age does someone life become less important? what if one of these people are the next world genius... and how would we know? these are all stemmed from clarity...we do not know the answer to these questions...(or at least i don't nor am I aware of a way that this should be properly decided) well... anyway this is the reason for this question.... I was wondering what other peoples opinions were on the subject... and once again everything i am speaking of is all based on my personal insight and what i have observed in the world... I may be wrong... but this is why I believe that everyone is capable of deep thought ... just some are not able to connect the dots
      hope you all have a wonderful day and keep up the responses i find them very interesting to read (and i will reply to them all as long as time permits me to do so)
      p.s. sorry for my lack of grammar I tend to just write to get my thoughts down as they are in my head
  • Oct 10 2011: Everyone is capable of abstract thinking, but I don't believe that everyone is an adept abstract thinker capable of carrying out the "deep intellectual thought" that you are referring to. In the same way that some people are highly proficient at retaining information while others are less so, some people are better at understanding and synthesising abstract ideas. Everyone has the ability to memorise information, but some people are more proficient at it than others. One student may spend a week memorising the material for an exam, while another may only spend one day retaining that same amount of information.

    I don't think that the "geniuses" of the world happened to be "lucky" enough to have harnessed an advanced part of their cognition that all humans are born with and that most have failed to utilise, rather, that they were simply lucky enough to have been born with the predisposition to be more skilled thinkers to begin with. However, going back to my analogy, although the first student spent more time preparing for the exam, assuming the test is knowledge-based, he has the same chance of succeeding as the other student because he has managed to retain that same amount of information. In that sense, although I believe that genius is innate and not something that anyone can learn or acquire, anyone can achieve the same things that a genius does if they put in the hard work. Thomas Edison said it best: genius is 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration.

    I also have to agree with some of the previous commenters who said that it also depends on a person's ability to express himself. Synthesising a new idea is one thing, but to articulate that idea in a coherent and succinct manner is a challenge within itself, and is essential to demonstrating that you have the ability to think abstractly in the first place.
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    Oct 7 2011: What is intellectual thought? Is it the ramblings of some university professor fighting publish or perish? Is it purely abstract thought? Is intellectual thought a well written book or play that leaves more questions than answers? Is it searching for meaning in the apparent meaningless world? Is it finding an answer to a zen koan? Is it limited to the mind or do emotions, hunches, ideas play into it?
    What is a genius? MENSA measures genius with facts, math, and a few other measures, Great play writes are called geniuses, Kenny G the musician is called a genius, We have a student in 8th grade that is a math genius and taking college calculus etc. Could a football player be considered a genius on the field, how about a TED comment writer that has 10,000 TED creds would that person be a genius and have intellectual thoughts? I think every person has intellectual thoughts all the time when they are thinking beyond survival instinct and the level of most Television commercials. All of us are geniuses some are recognized like the old time Nobel prize winners and some are not. Who's to say your next door neighbor who cares for yards is not an intellectual thinker? Certainly not I. Maybe, what has been said by Howard Gardner comes closer to the truth that we are all geniuses in a particular area.
    Peace to all
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      Oct 7 2011: :) I like the way you think.... a lot of questions... most people do not do it enough...(from what i have observed) ... it is very important in my opinion :P I very much agree with what it is you are saying as well...
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    Oct 14 2011: I recall the remarkable irony of the people I have been most moved by and learned most from - those who would usually be thought of as incapable of deeo intellectual thought. The insane, those with learning difficulties the addict and the homeless. The cliche' is undeniable and yet it is a real phenomenom. The difference is education and health.

    They chopped up Einstein's brain to see if it was any different to the average. And found little difference. For those who are lucky enough to enjoy the space and time and structure for deep intellectual thought that is applied to the data bases and understandings of our world - that is fine. But it has been the loonies that have taught me most about myself. I thank them all for that. I never met Einstein but i am sure he touched the hearts of those around him. Perhaps not. I guess in the end I fell a little uncomfortable with this question. Many people will never reach what you call - self discovery. There lives are filled with challenges far more pressing and important than reaching those dizzying intellectual heights. Genius is a right time, right place phenomenom. But it matters little. I am glad you have been thinking a lot lately and that you have had the time and space to do such . Others perhaps not so fortunate.
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    Oct 10 2011: Aside from the severe mentally disabled?

    Depends on your interest and effort.
    Intelligence is something that needs training. (Thinking a lot, learning a lot).
    If you compare it to physical exercise : Everybody can become athletic, through a lot of effort.

    Of course some people have slightly better genes, and they might become the geniuses or top-ranked athletes.

    Though everybody can become more capable of deep (deeper) intellectual thought.

    - and like in athletics, you can take doping -
  • Oct 10 2011: ...Continued

    This opinion does not preclude intelligent people - as many of the people I know who are like this are quite intelligent, but they do not have the patience for introspection nor to spend time to think deeper than how to solve the next challenge with shallow shot-gun blast of suggestions that will possibly hit the mark. We are each born with our own disposition, thought processes, and communication patterns. People born with this disposition are not deep thinkers with respect to the aforementioned assumption of what "deep thought" means here.

    Third, "genius" itself is in the eye of the beholder. A genius is not often by him/herself considered a genius. Then by whom is a genius considered a genius? Other geniuses? Are not many "Old Masters" considered genius? Picasso? Beethoven? Mozart? We, the incapable, the non-geniuses, have recognized in others that which we have been unable to acheive or understand. When you consider these geniuses, and how they were masters at their art, and their art was the reflection of their genius, then we have to question whether the argument that genius and deep thought can be bound by culture, language, or articulation. I believe that the deep thoughts of true genius will always be articulated.

  • Oct 10 2011: Hi Nikko,

    Thanks for the question. This put me into a bit of "deep thought" to determine my point of view, and in my opinion, the answer is - no.

    First, I think there is no such thing as an average person. Particularly relative to "genius", we cannot assume that any amount of people would fall into an average category. Average what? ...Intelligence? Education? Income? etc. None of the categories for which we could or would categorize someone to be "average" would have a sufficient merit to exclude a genius from being part of that class.

    Second, I believe that not all people are capable of "deep thought" as understood by (as an assumption) most people reading this thread. Why I believe this is because, "deep thought" in this context requires observation, consideration, introspection and time in thought. I have known many people incapable of prolonged introspection - most of the information that flows through their lives, flows in an outward direction, diluted in accuracy and potency by whatever multiple the original input was multiplied by.

  • Oct 10 2011: I am 14 and spend many hours on TED a week.

    I believe that I am capable of intellectual thought, despite my age. I am fascinated by (almost) every video I watch, and believe that I comprehend, and analyze many of the theories, ideas, propositions, narratives, ect. much like many of the more mature TED frequenters.

    When I show a video to one of my friends that I found very interesting, they usually do not seem to tap into the subject matter as intently as I did initially.

    I do not believe that this is a result of my brain working any differently, seeing as I am not an exemplary student, nor do I test higher, have the ability to retain more knowledge, or function any differently then your average teenager. Although I do find it slightly curious that it is very hard for some of my friends to comprehend concepts that I find fairly basic.

    I admit that this may be a result of them just not having an opinion about the topic at hand, or weather they do not care enough to devout any thought to the subject what so ever.

    I also do not know if this issue is a result of my age, and by no means do I consider myself more mature then other people my age. I just seem to be more interested and engaged in many of the deeper topics discussed nowadays.

    Because of this observation, I drew to the conclusion that either some people (my age specifically) have a greater ability to comprehend, analyze, and develop an opinion, then others. Or that some people are just more willing to devote time and effort into understanding the subject at hand, only if they care about the subject at hand.
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      Oct 12 2011: Connor,

      I appreciate your very thoughtful comment. I had a similer experience as a teenager, because I have always been interested in human behavior (mine included), and I enjoyed delving into philosophy, psychology, ancient practices and beliefs, etc.

      I also was never an "exemplary student" in the class room. In fact, I was often "escaping" the class room setting, in favor of other ways to learn:>) I've always been puzzled by the fact that people often do not want to explore, what to me, are very basic concepts.

      I think/feel that you are wise, to understand that sometimes people don't have an opinion about a topic, they may not care enough to spend time on the subject, they may be afraid to delve deeply because sometimes we don't like what we discover on a deeper level, and some people may have a greater ability to comprehend, analyze, and develop an opinion. For me, it all comes down to curiosity and fascination with being human. I am very interested in this life form, I believe I am on the earth to explore, and I enjoy the process:>)

      You seem to be a very insightful young person, and I'm glad to see you joining in the TED conversations:>)
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    Oct 9 2011: Yes - everyone is capable, but not able to use this capability. Research and just every day experience tell us that the brain and reason is working conditionally; they are depending on a set of conditions and are not isolated genius. In fact this applies to emotions just as well - doesn´t? If you always life in fear, every minute of your life, how can you learn to trust; if you always are surrounded by irrationalities, how can you.... - and this quite quickly shows why deep intellectual thought is so rare. the right persons in the right time and place and the right group.....

    But what bothers me much more is this questions: what do we do when 99% of our society is on deep thought? The social implications are obvious and would result in the end of our economic system which is built on the difference and elitism of deep thought. all taxi drivers being a steve jobs will not work -
    and is it reasonable to strive for this? unity in deep thought might be as boring and dreadful....
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      Oct 9 2011: I agree with you on the fact that brain well functions conditionally and occasionally. But that is the limit that people want to overcome. In this pursuit, people are struggling to improve themselves. This will lead to progresses of our society. However, it may seems to be boring reasonable world, but it might be fun in some ways to live in such a place.
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      Oct 9 2011: If everyone was capablee of deep thought and everyone was able to use their skill, then what? Well for one, there would be many different opinions about why things work the way they do, many theories would be tested, many ideas would be established. And upon those ideas, new ideas would sprout up. Perhaps new technology or new methods of solving problems would be invented/discovered. I don't know exactly what would happen however I doubt it would be boring.
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        Oct 9 2011: I hope you are right - it should be an age of invention and new opportunities. a genius taxi-driver would not drive taxi anylonger - he wants to overcome and makes progress. I had a little pessimistic minute there.... thanks for your energy and outlook!
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    Oct 8 2011: On the intellectual side I don't believe anyone is really saying anything "new" ,just the same old thing in a different way.
    I think "intellectual genius" is when someone takes a current idea and builds upon it in a unique way . There have been plenty of times here at TED where I have read a comment and thought ." Wow, that was a genius insight." :) And in all likelyhood it was. :) So,yes I would say everyone is capable of deep thoughts. It's just that some people are better at expressing them.
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    Oct 8 2011: Yes, just different paths/processes/methods to achieve certain degrees/levels of "depth," whatever "depth" means.
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      Oct 8 2011: Yeah, I'm with you. I don't really get what depth means either.
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      Oct 9 2011: Hey guys...Nicholas and Jacob:>)
      To me, "depth" simply means another level of exploration, learning, understanding, you say Nicholas...different paths/processes/methods to achieve another degree, level or depth of understanding.

      You probably know this already, and I'll remind you:>) People tend to get to a certain level of understanding, are comfortable with what s/he "knows" and they stop exploring. It's a "human affliction" because we want to "know".

      In my humble perception, Nikko seems to be suggesting that we ALL have the ability to go further with the exploration?

      In my perception, you both (Nicholas and Jacob) ARE exploring deeper levels of understanding, and sometimes, when one is doing that and understanding the pleasure derived from that practice, it's difficult to understand why EVERYONE would not do it!!!
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        Oct 9 2011: Colleen,

        I said degrees/levels of "depth". What is depth?

        "Words have no intrinsic meaning" Is a phrase that destroys my thinking so often. Language very fuzzily equals culture. Although we will agree on what "depth" could be, it isn't fair to even consider it partially universally without considering everyone's languages, cultures, and life styles.

        Latin-languages in the 18th to 19th century used the phrase "memento mori". It means "remember thy mortality" When the phrase should be used is during a moment in where you realize your morality. WE do not have words, phrases, and considerations like that in mass cultures, for those who use English. Why? Are we not more publicly intelligent than our ancestors? I would argue not percentage-wise.

        Yeah, I have explored "deep" levels of philosophy, but I was lucky enough to be given the chance to explore. East African kids, not going to be as lucky. But, they most certainly do have the brain to do so.

        It is not hard to understand why some don't think "deep". It is because some can't, won't, and/or do not have the means to do so. Without an education that prides openness, broadness, and ambiguity then you are a social slave to some culture or language somewhere on this planet.

        Some can't because they have to worry about living constantly. Some do not want to because as you say they feel comfortable with their knowings. Some can, but are not challenged to do so, or their environment does not inspire the challenge to do so.

        We all do have the same means to explore further because we are all built the same. SOME are better and can do it quicker, but all can get their by their individualistic method/path if that is where the positive emotions of that individual leads.

        If someone's happiness does not take the steps towards "awareness, wisdom, intellectualism, enlightenment etc." as my "God" is, their happiness is no greater nor poorer than mine because we are both following the idea of "God" the idea of "knowing".
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          Oct 12 2011: Hi Nicholas,
          I agree with most of what you've written. I do not agree that location (East African kids) or lack of education necessarily prevents deep thinking. I've witnessed some very deep thinkers in rural, isolated areas of the world, where formal education is lacking.
        • Oct 13 2011: I am actually going to side with Nick though both are very good points . I think what he is implying (though I'm sure it hasnt yet been proven....would make for a very interesting study) is that when some one is not fortunate enough to have all of their basic needs being met, the mind is consumed with thoughts like "where is my next meal coming from" and "are we safe to sleep here tonight". Which isnt necessarily isolated to uneducated people. People can also be too busy, apathetic, not mentally capable. Also in certain societies to they may not have the freedoms or means to explore alternatives to whats being taught/fed to them and dig in further. This would make for a good debate. I like it.
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    Oct 12 2011: some people connect the dots early in their life, some later and some just before they die...the incredible thing is that we will all eventually connect the dots and that everything we do has a meaning that sooner or later will pop into our mind
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      Oct 10 2011: Is it true that human beings should not try to progress since they fear to physical limits? Shouldn't educated people encourage the rest to make the world better place to live? The truth is that people don't need discouragement while they are trying to learn to progress from our conversation. If it is suggested not to try hard to improve, the world will be the same or worse in the next 1,000 years. Our ancestors had tried hard to overcome physical limits for several thousands years, and this improvement should be continued because we do not want to be just monkeys anymore. In addition, serious neuro studies are needed for many people who claim to be influencial in answering such a good question topic. The studies will make people understand how the brain really functions and how to manipulate it for the better functioning. It is easy, take sometimes.
    • Oct 11 2011: Hi,Kathy!
      The " current bastardized use of the word, "Genius*" is changing nowadays. Some creative people
      have sensed the threat of "being a Genius" and prefer to have a 'genie',
      here is the talk , maybe you'll find it interesting
      And a question, you said: ".. some of us tap into it/ "Genius"/ naturally .."
      Do you mean effortlessly? What is the natural way to make acquaintance with "Genius"
      each of us has,but may never get to know?
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    Oct 9 2011: Levels of intelligence vary. Some people are more intelligent than others. So of course some people will be able to think more reasonably, deeper, and more intelligent thoughts than someone with a lower IQ. But I believe to some extent everyone has the ability to improve on ideas, to become more intelligent than they currently are, to become something special. Whether or not they have the motivation, curiousity, and intrest will determine if they become intelligent deep thinkers.

    "Everyone has the oppurtunity to be as great as they wish"
  • Oct 8 2011: Yes. A thought might be voluntary or involuntary. Dreams can be very complex and graphic. Dreams are probably a big source of creativity. Voluntary thought, controlled, directed, and focused on some problem, goal or purposeful endeavor might be more of what defines high functioning intellects.

    The amount of training to achieve the organization of thoughts required to have the laser like focus or powers of observations of a genius may not be present in everyone.

    I subscribe to the belief of multiple intelligences as discussed by the provided wiki. The capability of genius like behaviors in one or more of these types of intelligences is a more complex question that just intellectual capacity.
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    Oct 8 2011: Well, I think it's hard to say. However, most of the true geniuses are probably not who you would expect.
    Neither a lofty degree of intelligence or creativity or both together go to the making of genius
    Love,love,love-that is the soul of geinuis.
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    Oct 8 2011: Actually the last statement was taken from E.O. Wilson's book, Consilience, the unity of knowledge when he says, "we are drowning in data while starving for wisdom". Ask yourself what 'wisdom' comes out of institutions, universities, research and where is the evidence in real time in real communities? Is profit wisdom? Can sustainability be measured in data? Which is reflective of deep thought?

    When money is the measure we seem to destroy our ecosystems for short term profit. Is that the result of deep thought?

    The linear path of logic and deduction leads to control and domination and data. A sustainable path understands the circular nature of reality and is based in reverence. Deep thought should understand the differences and know where each leads.

    If integrative, holistic, life cycle cost and impact analysis was truly deep, I can't imagine we would be in the situation we find ourselves today. We would know better with deeper thinking.
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      Oct 8 2011: Hm I see well I definitely do not agree with what our society has become, largely run based on money and profit. I think that the rate we consume our resources is incredibly detrimental to our world. We must put more effort into a collective society because we are all apart of the same world... if we do not work together to sustain it then it will eventually collapse...and yes I am not saying that everyone does apply deep intellectual thinking into their everyday decisions my question was is everyone capable of it... it is extremely relevant that we do not apply it to every decision that we make though because if that were the case then all of our decisions would include us being able to quantify every variable and properly evaluating these situations to make rational decisions... but I am not sure if that is even possible to apply this deep thinking to every decision that must be made... since all decisions do have limits... and some of these decisions must be made in such short periods of time...and we are not able to quantify a value of all variables in every situation... similar to an example i made before... about morals... and determining the value of a life... is one persons life worth more than another? is a childs life worth more than an adult? we often see this as being the case because the child did not get a chance to live yet.but how many adult lives is that childs life worth? 1? 10? 100? at what age does someone life become less important? what if one of these people are the next world genius... and how would we know? these are all stemmed from clarity...we do not know the answer to these questions...
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        Oct 8 2011: People know the worth of a child against an adult. It occured in prehistoric times rather often that parents ate their children when hunger was about to wipe them all out. Horrible but yet the best way to survive as a species. With animals this happens too.

        Thinking is a tool to provide the heart for a way to reach its desires.
        To know we have to listen to that inner feeling/voice.
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    Oct 7 2011: Nikko, this is an excellent topic to delve into...thanks:>)

    I believe everyone IS capable of deep intellectual thoughts, and our programming as humans sometimes interferes with the exploration that all of us may be able to participate in. It's difficult to say what is "average" is it not? We are all different...on a different life path...pursuing different interests.

    While volunteering with the dept. of corrections for years, dealing with convicted felons, for example, I discovered that they are very intelligent and street smart. However, because of certain programming, they have directed their intelligence in a way that is not productive, beneficial or safe for society.

    Thinking beyond any programming we have been given, is a choice, and I think/feel that with encouragement and support, many people are capable of moving beyond the information s/he has been given.
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      Oct 8 2011: :) You are very welcome for the topic and I thank you as well for participating... it provides me with others opinions to compare to my own and it seems as though many of your opinions agree with mine... I think this is a great example... I love how you use programming to describe our environment's affect on us. I believe what you describe as programming to be what I have described in some of the other comments i made on the other posts as subconscious... in order to be able to move past it we must first come to the realization that it exists within us and we must shed light upon it.... sometimes other peoples words can push us toward this idea but i believe it is only ourselves who can in the end fully push ourselves to accomplish this goal. when i have thought of convicts in the past i have thought of them as people who are not evil or bad but people who do not properly weigh the decisions they make. I believe that decisions should be made by analyzing the possible outcomes, weighing the positive and negative aspects of the decision. not only as they apply to yourself but as they also apply to everyone around you. You must consider all variables in an equation not only some if you wish to come to a rational decision. Convicts either do not weigh all of these variables in when making their decisions or they have improperly learned the value of each variable. i.e. when someone kills another person over money, they have not learned that the value of a person's life is far more than the value of any amount of money.
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        Oct 8 2011: Nikko,
        I believe we are very much like computers in that we can be "programmed" to believe certian things. We are influenced by parents, families, societies, etc., to accept the "common belief", and if we do not accept what is acceptable within our "society", then we are shunned. I'm presenting this as a general belief, and do not personally care if I am "shunned" because of my beliefs or not.:>)

        I agree that programming sometimes happens in our subconscious, and I agree that to move past it, we must first come to the realization that it exists within us...shed light upon it, and learn what it is about for us as individuals . We can only know what is " truth" for us when we have evaluated all the information. If we listen to, and accept other people's words as truth, then our exploration stops, and we may prevent ourselves from discovering our own truth. From my experience with offenders who are incarcerated Nikko, I agree that they are people who do not properly weigh the decisiions they make. I agree...decisions are made by analyzing the possible outcomes...weighing the various aspects and outcomes of the decisions. If we are limited by the information we have, we cannot make informed decisions. If we are stuck in a certain belief system, we will probably stay in that belief system that has become "safe" for us because we know what to expect...even if the outcome is not that beneficial.'s beneficial to consider all variables in any situation...and before we can consider various possibilities, we need to believe that there ARE various possibilities. People get "stuck" in their own programming, and limit the possibilities, thereby limiting him/herself.
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          Oct 8 2011: Can I just click like on everything you type? :P lol once again I like how you used the word safe... this is a big problem that prevents many people from learning and growing... in general we tend to stick to our comfort zones.. and i believe in order to learn we must move out of this comfort zone we must allow ourselves to indulge in experiences that we are not familiar with... use those experiences to learn... we must question things... not just do them because we are told to do so... we should know why it is we are doing something... what our purpose is and how it impacts the bigger picture... a big problem is that when you ask someone the question "why are you doing that?" most of the time I have found the answer tends to be I dont know or some completely vague answer which is basically just another way of saying the same thing... if people asked themselves why... more often... until they were able to come up with a rational reason then i think that society would be much better off :P btw I have written something about success a few weeks ago that I think you might enjoy it actually relates to a very similar idea... if youd like to read it just send me a message with your e-mail or some way that I could sent it to you :P hmm well actually I could just post it on here just give me a minute to type it up :)
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          Oct 8 2011: Success in Life
          Success is a very complicated word and in a sense can vary vastly from person to person. Though I believe a general definition could be to complete a challenge with a desired outcome. The reason for such variation is due to the fact that your desired outcome in most cases is completely subjective and depends on your feeling of contentment. Like one’s opinion, there are many variables that could effect an individual’s success. When looking at success in terms of life, I would see life as the challenge that one must complete. The tricky part is deciding what your desired outcome is and the route you willtake to get there. Individual’s cannot really determine another’s level of success in these terms since everyone needs something different to be successful, very much like people need different things in order to be happy. Happiness and success can be related but it is not always the case that they are directly dependent.
          When determining your level of success there are two main points that must be evaluated, benefit and opportunity cost. Benefit comes from what you have gained from the decisions you have made and opportunity cost is what you gave up when making that same decision. If in the end your benefits out-weigh your opportunity cost then you are indeed a successful person.
          When pursuing success there are specific skills and principles that are necessary. Clarity is the most important because you must figure out what it is exactly that you wish to be successful in, what your life goal is. Dedication and drive are among the largest factors that will determine your success because they set the opportunity cost; these principles greatly display what you are willing to give in order to achieve success. This concept of giving in order to succeed also tied into your self-control and open-mindedness. Self-control is an important skill when achieving success, the more predictable and controlled variables you have in a situation
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          Oct 8 2011: (including yourself) the easier it is to achieve a desired outcome. Going through life there are many outside factors that will not agree with you own plan so it is key to remain open-minded because it allows you to better assess a situation and weigh your benefit and opportunity cost. Often having an open mind when going into any situation can help you learn from it. Since life is being looked at here as a string of decisions to be made an obvious skill that must be developed is good decision making, which can also be called good management. Without good management you will often make judgments and decisions that result in your opportunity cost out weighing the benefits. All of these skills can be developed and matured with experience. As you travel through life with each new experience whether it be good or bad you have the opportunity to gain knowledge.
          Through the principle of new experiences being directly related to knowledge and success then it is obvious that the more you move out of your “comfort zone” the more you are able to learn. When your goal in life may be success you should always realize that it is the everyday decisions that determine whether you arrive there. This shows that success cannot be determined by your end destination, but it is more about the journey or the route it took to get there.
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          Oct 9 2011: There is one subject called Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP). This subject reveals the fact that people are inflenced by their surroundings. However, people also can alter their surroundings by using the NLP. For example, a father wants his son to go exercising, so he talks with his wife about outdoor exercises (tennis) in front of his son all the time. One day, his son asks him about tennis, and he wants to try. Even if his son didn't intentionally listen to him talking about tennis with his mother, but his subconcious brain records all information that he hears, sees, and feels. That information is constantly repeatedly recorded into the brain unconciously. The boy may even dream about tennis, though he has never played it before. Parents can use many NLP techniques in assisting their children in education, friendship, or love. People can be programmed.
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        Oct 10 2011: Maybe I'll simply click on everything you type as well Nikko:>)

        I think/feel that safety is one big reason people do not move beyond what they think they "know". "Knowing", or believing we "know" what our position is on various topics, sometimes offers a sense of confidence and self esteem...yes? Some people have difficulty saying "I don't know". I believe "not knowing" to be the strongest and most powerful place to "be" in ourselves, because it is unlimited! Once we "know", or think we "know" the exploration usually stops, and then we limit ourselves.

        Like you say move out of our comfort zone may offer some wonderful experiences, but we never "know" unless we take the risk to "not know". It's a cycle that keeps people in a place of fear, and doesn't really serve any useful purpose, in my humble opinion:>)

        Re: Success in Life
        I agree with everything you have written, and to me, it is a pleasure and joy to evaluate each step in life and ask myself the question "why"? That, to me, is being mindful and aware of how I impact the world, and how the world impacts me and those around me. I LOVE the exploration, and could never understand why some people do not enjoy the process. It is the ONLY way we can achieve a deeper level of thoughts and feelings. It is the ONLY way we can be clear with ourselves, and when we are clear with ourselves, we are more clear with everyone else. We are like mirrors to each other, reflecting back and forth all the time.

        An open mind and heart is ALWAYS beneficial in any situation. I agree...all life experiences offer the opportunity to learn, grow, evolve, and move to a deeper level of thinking and feeling:>)

        Life is not about waiting for the storm to is about learning to dance in the rain.
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    Oct 7 2011: That depends on who's the Judge? And if the Judge is capable of deep thought.

    Frankly, where's ample evidence to the contrary as we're long on data and very short on Wisdom.
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      Oct 7 2011: Hmm I am not sure what exactly it is you are trying to say with that last statement, if you could possibly rephrase it that would be wonderful. But I agree with your first statement of it being dependent on who the judge is, I think that you must be able to fathom what it really is to be an intellectual, or a deep thinker, before you can determine whether or not everyone is capable of it. Though I am more so asking whether you ( as well as other people on this website) have observed based on personal experience whether or not everyone is capable of deep thought (I believe though that some may be more capable, they are able to access it more easily due to their experiences in life) i.e. Is everyone capable of questioning things on a daily basis, generating ideas, asking ourselves questions like James Turner did up there... and you did yourself.... like what is intellectual thought? who is the person that has the authority to define such a term? ... im interested in your opinions on whether or not everyone is capable of these things... my idea is that everyone is and everyone does do these things... some are just conscious of it and others are not... that is the difference in being enlightened in my personal opinion shedding light upon the subconscious...
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      Oct 7 2011: Also I would like to elaborate on another thing that I said
      "who is the person that has the authority to define such a term?"
      well I believe that we all do, since the reason of communication is to be able to transfer our thoughts then the person who should define words would be ourself. As long as you clearly state these thoughts in a way that the other party is able to understand then you have accomplished the mission of communication. words are merely tools for us to accomplish this goal.
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        Oct 8 2011: > "who is the person that has the authority to define such a term?"
        > well I believe that we all do,

        ...and of course everyone should get cookie for just participating.

        Communicating and thinking are two very different things. Otherwise people would not hire speech writers.
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          Oct 8 2011: communicating and thinking arent really much different.... some just have a problem connecting the dots...what is thinking but just communicating with yourself? with your own thoughts,beliefs, ideas? people hire speech writers because they have that problem of clarity they are not able to get their thoughts across the way they would like to... also terminology is a very important part of speech...because people interpret words differently even when they mean the same thing possibly due to everyday use and societal influence on these words which is why i say clarity is important... and I do agree... we all define these terms... because communication is how we get our thoughts across to one another...and so words are just tools we use to do this...
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        Oct 8 2011: Since I don't seem to have put that in terms you understand, let's switch the model: no one would hire spokespeople.

        Communication, writing, oration, thinking, articulation, accessing stored information in the brain, all are distinct. Why is it I suspect that this is an example of our differing on what is a deeply thought out topic?
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    Oct 7 2011: I believe most are capable of deep intellectual thought, even if only for a few brief moments, however even fewer are truly able to articulate those ideas. That small distinction makes all the difference.
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      Oct 7 2011: :) this is exactly how I feel.... you definitely captured exactly what it was that I was asking and what I also believe
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        Oct 10 2011: Yes. At Birth, every human can be fed Genius information like computer software in the making and a few years later the intellectual thought processors will only grow and grow with certain techniques of Health and "Brain Training". The more we come closer to this new world of Technology, it will EXPAND the Collective Mind towards this "Genius Movement".
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    Oct 7 2011: The main thing about geniuses is that they care.
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      Oct 7 2011: It used to be one of the litmus tests of gifted kids that they had a sort of clear morality. I remember my eldest son, who was extremely gifted at about the age of four, dropping my hand while we waited in line for a movie to go and confront some teenaged bullies who were harassing another teenager. It was a case of the mouse who roared and guess what? They were shamed by his being more clear sighted and moral than they were. He grew up to be a diplomat concerned with international justice.

      What did we do to our brightest and best to send them into business and government where they stopped caring? Was it that they just gave in to cynicism and decided to be 'realistic' and get all they could for themselves and their own group or is it that the moral threw in the towel and surrendered the playing field to the corrupt?
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        Oct 8 2011: May I guess that we tried to turn our brightest and best in to the brightest and best without a solid back ground of creativity? Maybe we tried to make them into things they were not anymore by the thoughtless actions of teachers who taught what was demanded by the government? Maybe we destroyed them with television shows that a full of violence, lack compassion, and show political leaders that constantly lie to keep their jobs? Maybe we destroyed them through destroying the culture of the hero who gives of him/herself freely for the good of others. We made the evil person the new hero for a long period of time? Maybe we held up being mediocre as the highest goal and rewarded those who achieved this goal to make them feel better in our crazy drive for social justice? Maybe we forced teachers to deal with larger and larger classes and in balancing the classes with those special needs kids for social integration we caused the social needs kids to take up more and more of the time that could have been given to the brightest and best and in the process lost the special needs kids also because they did not have the time they needed either?
        Maybe it is time we let each person grow the way they are and respect it and encourage it and stop trying to make government designed clones of out kids and stopped making hero's out of those who would destroy society? I congratulate you on your son making a difference in the world I hope he takes time to talk with high school kids in school to show a better example of what we can be.
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      Oct 7 2011: you say that the main thing about geniuses is that they care... but see now... what would you consider to be a genius? how can we really define such a thing? if you define it purely as someone who cares... then is that not everyone? everyone cares about something... even if it is only caring about them self...and if that person does only care for their own self-interest then why is it they are this way? perhaps society has taught them to be this way... that is how they interpreted their environment... when we are taught something.... everyone does not get the same lesson out of it... this, in my opinion, is because of a lack of clarity in our world. we are not able to express ourselves in a way that allows ANYONE to understand...with no misinterpretation... that is my opinion at least...see that is why i believe that everyone is capable of such thoughts... some just are able to find that connection easier...they are able to interpret and express it in a way that makes sense to themselves as well as others...
  • Oct 14 2011: 'Deep intellectual thought' is a special ability that needs to be cultivated and developed. It needs a place where creativity is valued and freedom of mind is secured. So basically I think everyone more or less has the potential of deep intellectual thought, and it is just like a seed silently covered in the soil. Sunlight, water and fertile land are vital for its growth. Without these core external elements the small seed stays still and will finally perish. It is the same with deep intellectual thought. Without a society which respects and gives momentum to those who like to explore their potential, we might never see those I-stuffs created by Jobs.If the society sneers at guys who immerse in their 'strange' work in a garage and discourages them, satirizes them as 'unorthodox'. No innovation will be made. Therefore, a breeding ground welcoming the finding of 'deep intellectual thought' is the point. Say...spurring innovation in an atmosphere of rote is like fishing in a desert. And that's why we never see a Chinese version of Steve Jobs or Bill Gates...
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    Oct 13 2011: Deep thinking is a function of a full belly and hope about the future. When they are removed, deep thinking is replaced by survival and our dinosaur brains. fight or fright.

    I would like to ask a question. What evidence in society reflects deep thought? By society I mean all societies the world over. Can anyone point out examples of where 'deep thought' manifests as benefits to society?
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    Oct 12 2011: YES.
    As long as you're relentlessly challenging yourself to further the "depth" of your knowledge, I believe you're a deserving intellectual and that is regardless of whether the society recognizes or not.
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      Oct 13 2011: But some people are just not built that way. They don't seem to have the need to question what is going on around them.

      Deep thinking requires not only the mental faculty, but also the curiosity and drive to understand.

      On the first requirement alone we can say that "no, not everyone is capable."

      The question wasn't "is everyone capable of deeper thinking (than they are already doing, or than their cohort)" a relative term, it was about objectively deep thinking.
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      Oct 13 2011: Knowledge and thoughts are different things.
      On the following clip up from 5 minutes you can see someone that has more knowledge than anyone but I doubt he has much deep thoughts.
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        Oct 13 2011: Thanks for that link Frans. I have seen videos of both Daniel and Kim before, and find it fascinating.
        It appears that Kim has lots of information, and cannot connect the information with the thought process? While Daniel can connect some of the information with thoughts?
  • Oct 10 2011: Jobs is so smart that there will not be anyone who created the infromation changes in such markect. but it' a pretty bad things that he has just passed away , while his spirit will be encouragin today's us for the better creation.
  • Oct 10 2011: I believe everyone is capable of profound intellectual thought. There are many reasons why the majority of them are not heard. For example many do not share the same platform as Steve where every public thought that he articulates resounds through the world at lightning speed. Or could be simply that they are not articulated at all.
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    Oct 9 2011: The 3 effective ways that I mentioned can described as improvement in conciousness part of the brain. For the other part, sub-conciousness, you just need to learn everything that interests you all the time, and don't stop. Many geniuses are obsessed in learning things that they are interested in all the time, so, their brains store a lot of useful information in many specific issues. The different between us and them is that their brains' conciousness part connect the information in many random possible ways at a time. It means we also can have our brain functioning like that, just by practicing thinking in many set forms. Don't waste time arguing, being right or wrong in the discussion doesn't make anyone genius. Wish all the bests!!!
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    Oct 9 2011: People can access to that experience by 3 effective ways. 1, changing inputs of the thought process. 2, tracing back the tought process from expected results. 3, keep practicing. In details, 1, you can use different perspectives to think about problems you want to solve, or imagine that you solve the problems in different environments, or imagine that your problems are formed by differrent influences. In details, 2, you can trace back the thought process by asking yourself "why" as many times as you want (but don't lose your point or topic about the problem). In details, 3, keep practicing to make sure it's not just your flash of genius, just keep making your genius shine.

    In addition, you before you try to solve some problems, be clear about what you do and just make a framework for your problem solving.
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    Oct 9 2011: The ability to reason is something that you're born with. It is not taught. You can't teach a horse philosophy... it's impossible.

    If you raised Stephen Hawking & Hank Hill in an average middle class home. Stephen Hawking would still be a genius & Hank would still be an average guy.

    There's a very clear difference between someone who is highly intelligent & someone who is not. It's on a genetic level. Environment plays a huge role, but the difference is real and observable.
    • Oct 9 2011: Borrah,

      It sounds like you are equating 'reason' with 'highly intelligent.' Do I understand this correctly?

      "It is not taught."

      It actually is taught in many high schools and universities across the country under the name of 'Logic' and you learn about the different fallacies and how to construct a reasonable argument.

      "You can't teach a horse philosophy"

      What are your thoughts on Plato's argument of pre-fabricated knowledge - the idea that philosophy is not a series of realizations but a series of memories - as it relates to your claim? It seems to me that you would subscribe to it, but it does have a lot of baggage.

      "If you raised. . .Stephen Hawking would still be a genius & Hank would still be an average guy"
      "Environment plays a huge role. .."

      Clarification needed - What exactly is it that you believe? That intelligence 'is not taught' or that 'environment plays a huge role'?

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        Oct 10 2011: I believe it is fair to say that your ability to reason is synonymous with your intelligence.

        You are correct, logic IS taught... but only to a certain degree.

        My last point isn't very complicated. I'm simply stating that your environment will boost or hinder your ability to learn, but your genetics plays lesser, yet stark role.

        Some people are born that can learn a bit faster than average. Every so often a child is born that can learn much much faster than average.

        For example...
        Meet Moshe Kai Cavalin:

        He's 11, has graduated from college, and is taking a break to study martial arts... and "Einsteins Theory of General Relativity" in order to mathematically prove the existence of wormholes.

        Now sure... you could probably take any random kid & put them in a program that would allow them to finish college early, but I doubt that everyone has the same level of ability as Moshe... I just find it hard to believe.
  • Oct 8 2011: I have never been very smart but have often thought that all of the time I've spent sharpening my ideas on 'what is true' might just be a fear based paternal distraction from some deeper truth that is very simple yet thoroughly intimidating in it's implications. Eg. e=mc2.

    I say this because it seems that that geniuses of the past accorded with two principle patterns:
    1. They had the ability to observe and then postulate a very simple and valid explanation for a thing that was already thought to be explained by the populace. Eg. Galileo's proving of the heliocentric solar system.
    2. They had the courage and tenacity to postulate it despite their knowing that ridicule and criticism would come relentlessly from those 'most knowing' of the day. Eg. Galileo again.

    And since the act of observation and the ability to form simple explanations are available to all and are not dependent on the educational level one has achieved, it follows that genius could come from anyone and from any level in society. Indeed a multi-facetted 'education' might actually get in the way. So from there on, one only need call on one's inner courage and tenacity to see a simple idea through.
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    Oct 8 2011: Now I think that everyone knows that there are differences and that could be wrong.

    I started out in life to believe that it was only natural that everyone would understand the same. If someone didn't, I thought that some information was missing.

    This turned out to be totally different as I found out the hard way. Most people had a lot more of emotional awareness than I had, so I started to keep my mouth and learn from them.
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      Oct 8 2011: Hm I like that...
      "Think of who created thought, why do you stay in prison when the doors are so wide open?"
      I interpret this as a statement that basically promotes insight... it encourages people to think for themselves. when it says think of who created thought, the first thing that came to my mind was myself...because you create thought for yourself... nobody else can teach you to think much like nobody can teach you anything...they can merely shed light upon or nudge you in the proper direction... you must teach yourself... through your experiences...also i believe that this quote as a whole is explaining a lot of what I had been thinking about when I first posted this question... and really captures it well.... if we are all capable of inner-thought ... learning from within ourselves...then why do we allow for such a societal influence without questioning it? I do not believe that being influenced by society is necessarily a bad thing it is the fact that most of the time we do so without even questioning why we are doing the things we do... i think that if people had a better understanding of the things they do it would allow us as a society to become more collective and work together to make the world a better place... but we must clearly be able to communicate... without misinterpretation of our intentions... which I think is where the big problem is...clarity... i have noticed that many conflicts throughout life have been due to lack of clarity...
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      Oct 8 2011: The thinking is our prison.
      By thinking you divide, deduce, you discriminate and analyze until you shatter the world to pieces.
      Then you organize and regulate, adjust and tune until the world is an archive to define and quarrel about.
      It is the sphere we every moment agree on and recreate.

      It wouldn’t be so bad if we saw all that as language, a way to speak about things but that it isn't the world at all.

      The world has no boundaries other than we make.
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    Oct 7 2011: No.
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      Oct 7 2011: if you do not believe that they are please explain why...
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        Oct 8 2011: Most people are just not in the habit. They are focused on the mundane items and never actually explore much below the surface. And while it's not actually a muscle, using the full power of the human mind does atrophy if you do not exercise it.

        Can many people string together jargon terms that sound deep until you analyze the output? Yes.

        Can many people leverage what others have said in the past to create something that seems deep? Yes.

        Are there plenty of people who are perfectly capable of deep thought? Yes. But you are crazy if you think it's the majority.

        Alternately, it may just be a relative thing. What one person may find "deep" vs what someone else finds "deep" may depend on a variety of factors.
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          Oct 8 2011: See now you are beginning to understand the question I was intending much better... :)
          my question was not whether people engage in deep thought it is whether they are capable of it.. many people go through life without even realizing its there it seems... i believe thats possibly what sets the average as average and the others above... is their ability to grasp this ... to be able to see the interconnectivity of the world...
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        Oct 8 2011: It wasn't that hard a question.

        What you consider to be a "deep thought" and what I consider to be one are probably two very different things.

        As someone with no THC receptors, I have experienced what people high on pot think are "deep thoughts" and depending on where they start out intellectually, it can run a wide range (mostly shallow).

        So when someone comes up with something "deep" it depends on the listener. But is everyone capable of objective deep thinking? No.
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          Oct 8 2011: Perhaps in addition.
          If one thinks a thought that hasn't been thought of before he or she is stuck with it because the words to express that thought are missing.
          And to put it in common words ends always in common understanding which is beneath or below that what's been said.
          So in this the listener has to make the same effort as the one that speaks to go beyond any common understanding.
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          Oct 8 2011: See but Gisela you are not understanding the concept of communication(which i think Frans states rather clearly)... WITHIN this is your job... as someone who is responding to it... to try to understand what it is that I am considering to be deep thought.... since I am the one who asked the said that you understand the question.. then if you did understand the question and the concept behind communication... and stopped having such a closed mind... then you would not be responding with the same answer over and are responding with what YOU believe is deep thought but the question is about what I define it to be...See now ...i understand that you argue that everyone is not capable of what YOU consider to be deep though...but thats not what the question is is not asking what deep thought is...if you read some of the other comments you might be able to figure out what it is im saying when i say deep thought...
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        Oct 9 2011: 'Convoluted' and 'deep' are not synonymous.

        Enjoy your thread.