IGS Discussion Forums: Learning GS Topics: Genius
Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Wednesday, March 21, 2007 - 12:30 am Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

Ben, your "simple definition" is overly abstract, rendering the discussion "much ado about nothing", since nothing fits your "simple definition".

If I were to apply your level of abstracting to a car and driver, it might be rendered as something like five wheels and a nut.

The subsequent discussion is largely pointless, because it is not talking about anything even remotely resembling the customary use of the word.

Ben: Does a person who takes on the discipline of general semantics make the achievement of genius impossible? By your previous definition, this becomes a rhetorical question. Does a person who adopts the principles of general semantics keep from knowing in strong terms? You have not established that there is a connection between a person's "knowing" and "adopting general semantics". You stated that general semantics precludes knowing; NOT that adopting general semantics precludes knowing. Whether one can know (in the strong sense) depends upon whether or not the principle of general semantics (uncertainty) is true, not whether or not someone adopts or accepts general semantics. Does he deny himself the emotional-intellectual experience of knowing by generally excluding the ability to have it because of the intervention of extensional devices like single-quotes and the general principle of uncertainty? You've got the cart before the horse. Extensional devices do not "cause" the lack of knowing experience; extensional devices assist in reminding one that one has chosen to remain conscious of abstracting and uncertainty, and therefore that one has already chosen to adopt that one cannot "know" (in the strong sense).

It seems to me that a disciplined practitioner of general semantics does not even know if his butt sits on a chair as he types a letter, even if he saw his butt descend onto a chair, after having his hand pull it out from under a desk. He might 'know," but he doesn't know. Or, he might have 99.9% surety that a chair supports his bum, but not 100% surety. We generally take formulations describing events we have already experienced as both "true" and "known", subject to the interpretation of the language involved, although, you can go back and play with Descartes "Discourse on Method" in which he doubts all his sensory input, leading to Cartesian dualism - the complete separation of "mind" and "body" (contrary to general semantics).

I agree with such non-knowing practices, actually--though they can become impractical and from a societal perspective, lunatic. But it seems I exclude myself, at least by my simple definition, of ever achieving genius. However, should I embrace the ability of knowing (rather than the limited ability of 'knowing'), I open myself to the possibility of achieving genius (by my definition). You might want to index your use of the term here by including parenthetical formulations expanding each usage. Methinks thou doth equivocate.

What do you make of genius, esp. relative to general semantics? Can one achieve it? How do you define it? Extensionally, whom do you call genius?

Your provided in your discussion one "definition" - scoring at a certain level - a certain percentile - the top 2%? - on any number of measures of multiple factors, including general experience, ability to recall, ability to reason with data, ability to solve problems, ability to create new, desirable, and useful "things" or processes, etc.

Personally, I like to quote Yogi of Jellystone Park. -- "Smarter than the average bear."

"Knows and Knows not"