Do we feel better when we carry something around that says we are just so smart? I know I have already confessed that, though I don’t get off at any of the usual stops the bigot train makes (race, gender, socioeconomic class, whatever), I do harbor a deep seated bias against stupidity.
Now don’t get me wrong. It takes all kinds, everyone has a place, and differences are the foundation of evolution, yada yada yada. But stupidity just really makes me dislike people. And the problem is this: stupidity isn’t solely the domain of the stupid!
In fact, I would argue that really low I.Q. or mentally challenged people are often quite smart. They tend to be willing to try new things, often don’t get hung up on fitting in, and generally work to be their best. No, it’s the really smart that tend to be the most stupid. I confess, that I have done some really stupid things in my time. Haven’t we all? Maybe, in a twisted way that makes me smarter. I’ll take it!
Let’s factor in that the overly intelligent usually don’t do well socially. Maybe this is a good example of why: A car in LA has the license plate “I Q 152”. Now that’s dumb. If your IQ is that high, don’t you know better than to run around shouting it out? There are very few people in this world who can say, ‘hey! Me, too!’ Anyone with an IQ under 140 is going to drive by that car and think ‘what an ass!’. And anyone over 160 is going to drive by and think ‘Only 152? You advertised that?’
But IQ isn’t the be-all/end-all, it’s really EQ (or Emotional Quotient) that determines overall happiness. This has to do with how well you handle social situations, deal with disappointment, and have mature relationships. I guess the importance of EQ depends on how important it is to be happy. A lot of times as your IQ goes into the high upper realms, your EQ takes a nose dive. Just look around your nearest college campus for evidence.
Though we can’t actually make ourselves any smarter we can try to improve our memory. There is evidence that smoking cigarettes increases your short term retention. You can hold on to more thoughts with nicotine going through your system. But doing something that we all now know is that deadly really cancels out any ‘smart’ you might get from it. (Dude – don’t try it! Regardless of what the Council For Tobacco Research might have said about tobacco soothing precancerous lungs, that was never smart.)
Now, Red Bull can make you feel smarter, but Taurine can be deadly to some. How smart are you when you’re dead? Guarana and Ginko are also touted to make you seem smarter, but how smart are you for taking something that can give you some winning side effects? Aside from the usual “you may be allergic to it” rash and swelling, both also offer some good standard side benefits like dizziness, vomiting, and my personal favorite: diarrhea!
The problem is that, though Red Bull is a ‘food’ (ha!) and therefore regulated, the supplements aren’t. You can’t get Amoxicillin from the shelf at Wal-Mart, because it’s FDA approved and therefore controlled. And, don’t read this wrong, I’m not a staunch supporter of all things FDA – but none of these herbals are regulated. Most medicines weren’t dreamed up in a lab. They are plant derivatives. Cocaine is just a plant that’s mulched, washed with soda, ammonia, and a few other things to break down the fibers, then filtered and dried. Yes, drugs are just gussied up plants.
The problem is, you only really get smarter by learning things. It’s not that you know more, it’s that you exercised your neurons and created more of a background to draw on in the future.
So here’s something to learn: caffeine actually increases your mental speed too, and it’s one of the most tested drugs in the world. Red Bull is just the latest thing and it buzzes you up and makes you feel smarter while you’re drinking it, but it doesn’t actually make you any smarter, that’s for sure. And all those herbal supplements might do is make you think it’s a good idea to post your IQ on your license plate.
Now, don’t you look smart?
Don’t You Look Smart – Part 2