Friday, August 05, 2005

F. Scott Fitzgerald Line on What Makes Intelligence

An F. Scott Fitzgerald line that I saw mentioned -- in an incdental way -- on Slashdot:

"The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposing ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function."
Spot-on, I think. Or, at least, I think it's a good test.

I think that, to a large extent at least, intelligence involves an ability to control and manipulate your thought processes -- and that test checks for a high-level of that. It tests your ability to be able to hold an idea, not simply as a belief which is directly connected up to your attitudes, opinons and actions, but as a piece of passive information that you can subject to evaluation and thought.

1 comment:

  1. Indeed, in the game Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, to demonstrate intelligence to impress Marvin the Electronic Sulking Machine, you have to do precisely that, believe in both tea and no tea simultaneously.