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Smartest person you kn(e)w



S

smcder

Guest
Who is the smartest person you know/knew ... not met or read a book by ... but had a working or personal relationship of some standing, some length ... and why do you consider them the smartest person?





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Burnt State

Paranormal Adept
I guess smart might need some qualification given the many types of intelligences that are out there. If you're talking social/emotional intelligence then I would go with my partner. She always has a way of thinking about people interaction and development issues that is always a deeper insight than the one I thought I had plumbed thoroughly.

But if you were thinking academic smarts, in terms of those core disciplines and pragmatic thought then that would have been my dad the engineer. Whenever I had a math problem or physics conundrum I would go to him and he would think for a moment and then say, "Ok, here Robert, forget those formulas you were taught and just use this one. That'll cover you for hose kind of problems." He was patient and slow, nd was always able to demonstrate which answers in the back of the book were wrong. He was never wrong on any occasion.

I also would want to cite artistic or environmental intelligence, but ....
 
S

smcder

Guest
I guess smart might need some qualification given the many types of intelligences that are out there. If you're talking social/emotional intelligence then I would go with my partner. She always has a way of thinking about people interaction and development issues that is always a deeper insight than the one I thought I had plumbed thoroughly.

But if you were thinking academic smarts, in terms of those core disciplines and pragmatic thought then that would have been my dad the engineer. Whenever I had a math problem or physics conundrum I would go to him and he would think for a moment and then say, "Ok, here Robert, forget those formulas you were taught and just use this one. That'll cover you for hose kind of problems." He was patient and slow, nd was always able to demonstrate which answers in the back of the book were wrong. He was never wrong on any occasion.

I also would want to cite artistic or environmental intelligence, but ....

Beautiful.

Go for it ... I left the question open intentionally.



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boomerang

Paranormal Adept
An old high school friend of mine, considered eccentric by most of our classmates, earned a Phd in physics from a major university and now has numerous semiconductor patents to his name. And he was a helluva' nice guy. One of this favorite pastimes as an undergrad was lighting and tossing M80 "firecrackers" by hand. Never with the intention of doing damage. But just for the sheer noise and hell of it. :D

I used to work with an electrical engineer of Romanian origin. He intimately understood the workings of 8 different complex electronic products manufactured by our small engineering company. We lowly techs labored through most component level repairs on one product only, troubleshooting mostly by instinct, while this guy simply didn't understand why we couldn't "see" on a schematic what was right or wrong with a circuit having 600 separate and interacting components. ;)

Who is the smartest person you know/knew ... not met or read a book by ... but had a working or personal relationship of some standing, some length ... and why do you consider them the smartest person?
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BTW, who is your top pick ?
 
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Randall

J. Randall Murphy
The smartest person I know is of course me :D. What else did you expect me to say? Mind you that's probably because I don't hang out much with anyone else besides the stray cat I feed our leftovers to. Also, being talented, gifted, skilled, intuitive, popular, funny ... those are other qualities altogether, and I'm sure I'd be put to shame by many folks out there on those ;). Seriously though, the smartest person I've ever known was a cab driver I used to play chess with named Eugene. Rumor had it that he was a Chess Master who had once held the Guinness book of World Records for most simultaneous games played. Why do I think he was smart? For some strange reason I think chess masters are smart, not to mention that I never legitimately won a game against him.
 

dyingsun

Paranormal Adept
Lame answer right here, but my Philosophy teacher really.. Here's to you, Mr. Jansen, and than ks to all the 'free' lessons we got because of your 'sick time'. Honestly, when he was there, he was awesome.
 
S

smcder

Guest
An old high school friend of mine, considered eccentric by most of our classmates, earned a Phd in physics from a major university and now has numerous semiconductor patents to his name. And he was a helluva' nice guy. One of this favorite pastimes as an undergrad was lighting and tossing M80 "firecrackers" by hand. Never with the intention of doing damage. But just for the sheer noise and hell of it. :D

I used to work with an electrical engineer of Romanian origin. He intimately understood the workings of 8 different complex electronic products manufactured by our small engineering company. We lowly techs labored through most component level repairs on one product only, troubleshooting mostly by instinct, while this guy simply didn't understand why we couldn't "see" on a schematic what was right or wrong with a circuit having 600 separate and interacting components. ;)



BTW, who is your top pick ?

I'm not sure ... and I've thought a lot about it. It's not a question I've ever been able to answer ... I thought maybe hearing other responses might be helpful.

Thank you for asking Boomerang.




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Burnt State

Paranormal Adept
Ok so environmental intelligence would be my once neighbor, brother and adoptive dad, Henry Kock.
henrykockmay20051.jpg

He singlehandedly took on bringing back the Elm tree in North America as a response to the Dutch Elm Disease. There isn't a year that goes by that I'm not growing 3 or 5 different types of tree from seed I've collected in the ways that Henry taught me.
Henry Kock - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
He was such a great lover of the plants that cover this earth and keep us alive. His posthumously published book, Growing Trees from Seed is like a guidebook for how to repopulate the Carolinian forest after we turn everything into deserts. If you know the story The Man Who Planted Trees then you know Henry - a huge personal inspiration.
Growing+Trees+from+Seed+-+Henry+Kock.jpg

I asked him once, "What are your dreams like?" He said, "I don't dream in words. The plants speak to me about their situation - they just be, and I know them." He was smart in so many ways, about people, diversity, non-judgment, right speech and speaking up; he was an exceptional leader. He connected people in such a powerful way. I would describe him as a large attractor when it comes to people whose orbit you want to be rotating around.

He was all about mindfulness before I even fully knew what Buddhism was really about. He had a special inspirational brand of intelligence that just made you want to be a better person. Any opportunity to speak with him over the fence or share a glass of wine round a fire was a learning moment. He was a great storyteller, educator and a lover of trees. I miss him terribly.
 
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boomerang

Paranormal Adept
I'm not sure ... and I've thought a lot about it. It's not a question I've ever been able to answer ... I thought maybe hearing other responses might be helpful.

Thank you for asking Boomerang.




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The difficulty is in defining that slippery but unavoidable concept of "smart", not so ?
 
S

smcder

Guest
@burnt

The Man Who Planted Trees is a beautiful film - one I try to watch every year - I'm proud to have this additional connection

Two beautifully written posts, thank you.


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S

smcder

Guest
The difficulty is in defining that slippery but unavoidable concept of "smart", not so ?

Well ... no, like art and obscenity I know it when I see it ..,

These posts do help though but no one is emerging from my memory. Lots of academically gifted types because father taught at a small but well known liberal arts college and I went to school with professors kids.


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boomerang

Paranormal Adept
Well ... no, like art and obscenity I know it when I see it ..,

These posts do help though but no one is emerging from my memory. Lots of academically gifted types because father taught at a small but well known liberal arts college and I went to school with professors kids.


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Sounds like you've kept company with a larger array of gifted individuals than I have. But at the risk of picking nits, doesn't the term "smart" take in more than one type of talent: verbal, mathematical etc. ? And, I guess, the rare "polymath" which I assume is someone frightfully gifted in any and all categories.

The radiant presence of intellectual power was apparently something for which J. Robert Oppenheimer was legendary. More than one of his high level colleagues at Los Alamos considered themselves relatively simple by comparison !
 
S

smcder

Guest
Sounds like you've kept company with a larger array of gifted individuals than I have. But at the risk of picking nits, doesn't the term "smart" take in more than one type of talent: verbal, mathematical etc. ? And, I guess, the rare "polymath" which I assume is someone frightfully gifted in any and all categories.

The radiant presence of intellectual power was apparently something for which J. Robert Oppenheimer was legendary. More than one of his high level colleagues at Los Alamos considered themselves relatively simple by comparison !

Oppenheimer and others on the Manhattan Project had a classical education, spoke multiple languages and read broadly in Western and Eastern Literature:

I Am Become Death, Destroyer of Worlds

Some on the Project didn't have this background and would have been in awe of Oppenheimer and his colleagues. To lead a team of geniuses one needs "command presence" - and I'm sure Oppenheimer had charisma and control over knowledge, including tacit knowledge of the project.

The environment I grew up in put me among "smart" people who competed intellectually with sometimes hilarious consequences ensuing ... lots of games played by academic minds. The college was not publish or perish however and this allowed many to become very good teachers.

But in general, few wanted to be wrong or not know the answer or not be thought as smart as - knowledge was stock in trade.

Your posts/questions and nits and @Burnt State 's posts have brought my own thinking back up as to what "smart" is and who has it.

I'm coming to appreciate "Contemplative intelligence" - the quality of thinking that comes from my meditation practice - and includes awareness of body and breath in relation to thoughts, emotions and quality of mind.

I've known only a few people who have developed something like this.
 
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S

smcder

Guest
The smartest person I know is of course me :D. What else did you expect me to say? Mind you that's probably because I don't hang out much with anyone else besides the stray cat I feed our leftovers to. Also, being talented, gifted, skilled, intuitive, popular, funny ... those are other qualities altogether, and I'm sure I'd be put to shame by many folks out there on those ;). Seriously though, the smartest person I've ever known was a cab driver I used to play chess with named Eugene. Rumor had it that he was a Chess Master who had once held the Guinness book of World Records for most simultaneous games played. Why do I think he was smart? For some strange reason I think chess masters are smart, not to mention that I never legitimately won a game against him.

You still play a lot?

I'm working on a reference that IQ isn't correlated with chess ability ... I think it's in Sternberg's Triarchic Mind - one of the better books on intelligence.

IQ isn't intelligence of course

Here's one:

delanceyplace.com 5/31/12 - chess grandmasters have average intelligence

In today's encore excerpt - chess grandmasters have average cognitive skills and average memories for matters outside of chess, and only show their extraordinary skills within the discipline of chess. This suggests that expertise in chess (and most other areas) has less to do with analytical skills -- the ability to project and weigh the relative merits of hundreds of options -- and more to do with long-term immersion and pattern recognition. Experts have experienced and "stored" thousands of game situations and thus having the ability to pluck an optimal answer from among those stored memories. It also suggests that expertise may be less a result of analytical prowess and more a result of passion, love or obsession for a given subject area -- enough passion to have spent the hours necessary to accumulate a robust set of memories in that area:



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manxman

Paranormal Adept
Steve.

I havent read this thread, and i havent had time to dig deeper, but i was reading a newspaper piece yesterday, and in it was a proffessor talking about inherent intelligence, as i said i havent had time to go into it, but the bit i did read was about human violence, and it explained abit clearer points i was clumsily trying to make in the ferguson thread, i will pick this up with you over there.
 

Randall

J. Randall Murphy
You still play a lot?
These days I play my chess computer ( Chess Titans ) and the occasional live game on BabasChess. I'm not a very good player but I enjoy the game. I've been playing black against the PC on level 8 lately and my score went down to 27% ( games won ). While playing white I was up to around 34%. For whatever reason, it seems harder to win on level 8 than level 10.
I'm working on a reference that IQ isn't correlated with chess ability ... I think it's in Sternberg's Triarchic Mind - one of the better books on intelligence.
My PC obviously isn't as intelligent as I am, but it wins more than it loses anyway ( either that or I am really stupid after all ... LOL ). However on the flip-side, I've never met a stupid human who was also a good chess player. Thanks for the link. I'll check it out :) .
 
S

smcder

Guest
These days I play my chess computer ( Chess Titans ) and the occasional live game on BabasChess. I'm not a very good player but I enjoy the game. I've been playing black against the PC on level 8 lately and my score went down to 27% ( games won ). While playing white I was up to around 34%. For whatever reason, it seems harder to win on level 8 than level 10.

My PC obviously isn't as intelligent as I am, but it wins more than it loses anyway ( either that or I am really stupid after all ... LOL ). However on the flip-side, I've never met a stupid human who was also a good chess player. Thanks for the link. I'll check it out :) .

Yeah you have to take this with a grain of salt ...

I've tried chess programs - need to try again .. always thought I'd enjoy playing with a good friend of roughly equal ability, pleasure of talk too - but never found that or a good club ... I'm sure there such online groups now.

I was always fascinated with those stories about folks who played chess by mail!

Correspondence chess - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Includes FAX and homing pigeon!


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Soupie

Paranormal Adept
I love chess.

I was thinking about this question today. I wonder if one tends to find people to be smart if 1) a person is good at something one values themself, or 2) a person is good at something one is poor at themself.

I tend to find myself thinking people who remember names, dates, details to be "smart" — and that happens to be something I am incredibly poor at. Coincidence?

But that's not to say that people with good memories aren't smart.

There are people with great memories, people who are whizzes at math, people who excel at engineering, spelling, writing, singing, playing an instrument, painting, learning languages, solving problems, athletics, nature, biology, teaching, making connections between complex ideas, and creating.

Western culture tends to value people strong in maths and writing.

And I don't know about genius smart, but as a general rule, we tend to find people with excellent self-regulation to be "smart."

So I guess there has to be somebody alive who is the most talented human in all the above areas. Would they be the smartest person I know if I knew them?

Also, I've always made a distinction between smart and wisdom. I define wisdom as the ability to make good decisions. Someone could technically be very intelligent but not wise. At all.

So who is the smartest person I know? It's probably a toss up between a buddy of mine who is a biologist who seems to know a lot about a lot of subjects (although he is not intellectual in the least) and my wife who has an impeccable memory (which she gave to our daughter, whose is even sharper) and an incredible ability to consume and process information (and who also is not intellectual).
 

Randall

J. Randall Murphy
I've tried chess programs - need to try again .. always thought I'd enjoy playing with a good friend of roughly equal ability, pleasure of talk too - but never found that or a good club ... I'm sure there such online groups now.
Chess Titans comes preinstalled on Windows 7 and Vista too I think ( depending on the version ).
I love chess ...
BabasChess is free to download and install and play on with other live players in real time. The GUI is a bit clunky, but it works. I typically play 15 Min standard timed games. My handle there is Lakeview if anyone is interested in a game sometime :).
 
S

smcder

Guest
I love chess.

I was thinking about this question today. I wonder if one tends to find people to be smart if 1) a person is good at something one values themself, or 2) a person is good at something one is poor at themself.

I tend to find myself thinking people who remember names, dates, details to be "smart" — and that happens to be something I am incredibly poor at. Coincidence?

But that's not to say that people with good memories aren't smart.

There are people with great memories, people who are whizzes at math, people who excel at engineering, spelling, writing, singing, playing an instrument, painting, learning languages, solving problems, athletics, nature, biology, teaching, making connections between complex ideas, and creating.

Western culture tends to value people strong in maths and writing.

And I don't know about genius smart, but as a general rule, we tend to find people with excellent self-regulation to be "smart."

So I guess there has to be somebody alive who is the most talented human in all the above areas. Would they be the smartest person I know if I knew them?

Also, I've always made a distinction between smart and wisdom. I define wisdom as the ability to make good decisions. Someone could technically be very intelligent but not wise. At all.

So who is the smartest person I know? It's probably a toss up between a buddy of mine who is a biologist who seems to know a lot about a lot of subjects (although he is not intellectual in the least) and my wife who has an impeccable memory (which she gave to our daughter, whose is even sharper) and an incredible ability to consume and process information (and who also is not intellectual).

Sternberg makes these same distinctions in the Triarchic Mind

IQ academic intelligence
Street smarts
Wisdom

- fluid
- crystallized

Creativity

As well as various "styles" including the anarchic

And found modest correlations between them, no one person would likely have all -

Leonardo DaVinci did seem to have many kinds of intelligence, wisdom and or self regulation and great physical strength




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