Wear the right clothes. Know the right people. Say the right things. And you should be successful. Right? Image is everything.
Do you notice anything missing from this formula? Should I give you a clue? It’s the thing between your ears. A brain.
Nowadays, intelligence seems to have fallen on the back burner. Instead of encouraging kids to study hard and get a good education, so they will be able to use their brains to get ahead in life, pop culture encourages them to present the right image. If you wear the right makeup, Girls, you’ll have the hottest boy in school slavering at your heals. Diet and get skinny, and you’ll be the best-looking thing at the prom. If you drive the coolest cars, Boys, the chicks will come running at the crook of your finger. Wear the right shoes, and you’ll be shooting baskets like Michael Jordan. The list of inanities goes on and on.
Why are we surrounded by such stupid messages? In one word “advertising,” you can find the root of this evil. Companies want to sell stuff — makeup, clothes, cars, diet plans, etc. They use product placement and commercials to advertise these products. These commercials affect the way individuals think, and this eventually affects modern society as a whole.
I can’t remember the last time I saw a commercial that glorified intelligence. Can you? And yet the richest man in the world — Bill Gates — got to the top of the list by using his brain. In fact, the most influential people in America did not get into their positions of power just kissing babies and showing off their pearly whites. They used their brains.
Intelligence has become a secret weapon — used, but never discussed. While promoting a culture of mediocrity, the intelligentsia works behind the scenes, consolidating power through clever manipulations.
People have no compunction against talking about beauty. So why is intelligence not a subject of public debate? For some reason, if you talk about your intelligence, you’re bragging. How rude! With such conversation stifled, how can people not get the wrong impression about the value of intelligence?
Modesty seems the most polite route. And modesty gets you nowhere. Who ever heard of the modest person that first came up with the idea of personal web sites? I certainly haven’t. Yet I know who ruled Egypt centuries ago because the immodest Pharaohs had pyramids built in their name.
Have you ever wondered why a few people control most of the world’s resources? They had ideas, and they acted. They took risks, and they got the rewards. They exhibited signs of intelligence. If you think some of them are not really smart, then surely their ancestors were rocket scientists. How else would wealth and power have entered the family? Now if you think these people don’t deserve their wealth, then figure out a way to take it from them. You can always sell them a product they don’t really need.
Read the biographies of successful people. You will learn that they all had one thing in common. They could act, and it is this ability which separates the intelligent from the sheep following the herd. Having brilliant ideas and doing nothing about them does not make you smart.
The truly intelligent can spot a brilliant idea when they see it, steal it if they have to, and act on it to change the world, in however small a way. I am by no means advocating theft of intellectual property. I am just saying that an idea not acted upon is wasted.
For the idea generators, who cannot make an idea reality, acting means finding a person capable of taking the idea and implementing it. Look at Steven Hawking. He may not be able to implement his ideas, but he certainly knows how to disseminate them, so the intelligent people out there can take his ideas and use them. Is Steven Hawking not intelligent?
Intelligence is not getting high scores on tests. Nor is it having a safe job that lets you provide for yourself and your family. It is the ability to act, despite the dictates of pop culture, in the best long-term interests of you and yours.
Remember modern society worships the image. The most successful image management results in fame. So fame has become a goal for many misguided youth. Although intelligence can be used to achieve fame, many people want to take a shortcut. They pull stunts to garner attention. How stupid they look! Is it not better to be intelligent and earn fame, not infamy?