So I’m watching CNN last night with my husband and they’re doing a segment on global warming. Is it or isn’t it? That is the question. Anyway the dude that’s reporting is speaking to a scientist, a geo-physicist whose name escapes me and this geo-physicist is explaining his solutions for the problem of global warming. As he’s talking away I find that I’m not listening to him at all because my husband and I start into another conversation about intelligence. Seems this geo-physicist entered college at fourteen years of age, attained his Ph. D by twenty-three and now, for the past thirty years or more has performed all of the necessary duties of becoming a pre-eminent geo-physicist. Clearly a really smart guy.
And so I get to thinking… is this person really smarter than me? Actually let’s back up a step so I can admit that I don’t even know what the hell a geo-physicist is. What is the definition of a geo-physicist? I don’t know.
Anyway, does the fact that this person entered college at fourteen mean that he’s smarter than me? His head is normal size and therefore one could reasonably assume that his brain is normal size i.e. no bigger than the average six foot tall male. Should I assume because of his academic credentials that he is actually smarter than me, that when God was handing out brains he injected this gentleman with more of the intelligence chemical while perhaps giving me more of the athletic or artistic chemical to balance things out? I don’t know. Can this geo-physicist catch a football or run a sub-minute mile or ski moguls in addition to knowing what are the relevant factors when formulating a solution to global warming? Maybe he came up with the solution while participating in the IronMan Triathalon.
Could I have, if I had found that one thing that really struck my fancy, could I have had the ability to enter college at fourteen and succeed? If I had had the requisite interest in something, along with the requisite determination and persistence and thirst for knowledge did I have the smarts kick ass academically? Again, I don’t know.
So the question comes down to this: are we all, us average human beings, are we all generally endowed with the same level of intellectual potential? Is it there, lying dormant waiting for us to tap into it, either choosing to use it or not?
I think a lot about potential these days. How much do we have? Far more than I think anyone of us might suspect but beyond that how do we tap into our potential? How do we discover what riches lie deep within us for intellectual, artistic, athletic achievement?
I do not know the answer to this question.