“I’m so smart it’s almost scary. I guess I’m a child progeny.”
– Bill Watterston, Calvin and Hobbes
I’ve been thinking about intelligence a little since seeing a two-year-old Mensa member in the news recently. Being first-born, male and vegetarian have all been linked to high intelligence but the reasoning in all of these studies are particularly spurious.
If you’ll excuse me a little indulgence for a second, I’d like to think that I’m a pretty smart guy. At times my brilliance is second only to my modesty. Aged three, my mum used to find me glued to the Open University Lectures on BBC2 at 6am. I also remember being Mensa tested around the age of 10 and scoring in the 140s. I tested myself the other week and was in the high 130s.
Academically, I learnt enough to pick up a 2:2 at degree level. A friend of my fathers once advised me to “try and know a little about a lot and a lot about a little”. Or at least words to that effect. I’m a bit of a philomath. I love to learn but can have quite a low boredom threshold. As such, I do know a lot of random pieces of trivia (as members of the Pinking Shears pub quiz team will testify) but just retaining facts isn’t a true sign of intelligence.
I had my eyes opened to a broad mix of new experiences and people. I was a strong proponent of the notion of not letting University get in the way of my education and enjoyed myself, a lot – even for a student. More than one person expressed concern with my drinking and with hindsight I’d probably say now that I probably had a bit of a problem.
While I’d love to subscribe to the Buffalo Theory I’m still left with the conclusion that University has made me dumber. At least, I think that’s the cromulant superlative.