switched on?

15 Aug


“I never yet knew someone to take a photo of their own feet!” The verdict of a friend from Stornoway.

While chatting with another friend last Monday, I received a rather interesting definition:

“Clever people are people who have their brain switched on.”

Rather curious, I thought. This seemed to strike a fundamental chord in my mind. I’ve heard in passing the theories of E.Q. being a more likely indicator of success than I.Q. and I suppose I agree more or less with those ideas.

Yet, this definition seems to encompass something a little different. Something that seems to seperate “those who make an effort to think” from “those who don’t think except from some ulterior motive providing a direct motivation for the thought”. Well, at least that is the most charitable explanation I can come up with for the un-switched-on ones.

By this definition, it is perfectly possible and feasible to have people who have reached the pinnacles of academic achievement, and yet are not clever. Similarly, success does not neccessarily prove you are clever.

Somehow this idea appeals to me! I find I have more respect for various friends and acquaintances who are not provably ‘great’, yet have a wisdom about life more than those with ‘earned’ respect.

If I were to try and illustrate (knowing explanation to be inadequate if not impossible), it would go something like this:

Sometimes you meet someone that in certain aspects of their life is a mis-fit with what is deemed the general normality of those aspects. Then, as you get to know them better, you realise they are refusing to conform to ‘normality’ precisely because they have spent a significant portion of their life figuring out what is just so plain rubbish about this thing that everyone else thinks is normal.

Their very mis-fit-ed-ness is not just a casual happenstance, tho’ it may appear such to the casual observer. In fact, some go to pains to ensure it does just appear “nothing very important”. Yet, they have deliberately made an effort to avoid something that most other people don’t even notice they are subject to.

To me these are the thinking people.

Ok, I may not neccessarily agree with the conclusions of their thoughts always, but I admire them for trying. They may not have perfect answers to the problems in society that they are seeing, yet nevertheless they are a mile ahead of all those who don’t even see the problems.

Then there is the binary aspect of the phenomenon to consider: there are those who know what I’m on about here, and there are those who think they’re not even missing anything… that they’re right up there with the “thinkers”, just because they can write an essay of the same number of words, with the same number of topics covered in the essay, with similar topics of interest being addressed.

But no logical progression, no explanation or justification of ideas, no flow of words to guide the reader along, no sparkle of conceptual beauty, and nothing that hasn’t been said a hundred times over by a hundred other essay writers.

And someone else will write an essay, with all quirkily frustrating wording, that no-one would acknowledge as desirable based on first impressions. Yet, the whole essay is based on some unique kernel of an idea, that is so admirably perceptive…!

Well, I guess a similar high-level idea is encompassed in one of my favourite geeky jokes:: πŸ˜›

There are 10 kinds of people in the world. Those who understand binary, and those who don’t.

And, I suppose the fundamentally important question: *is* your brain switched on?

In a way, this whole post rather presumptously assumes that I am a thinker. By even pretending to understand the comment, I’m classing myself as among that elite group. Yet, despite feeling very insightful for having the priveledge to hear the comment, I have actually struggled to haver my way through some mess of an explanation.

Maybe I should give up, and let all those thinkers out there tell me the real truth. Or, maybe the non-thinkers can be spurred on to “fight back”. πŸ˜›

As every good exam question would say:

Please discuss.


Posted by on Wednesday, August 15, 2007 in philosophy


Tags: , ,

9 responses to “switched on?

  1. Grant

    Wednesday, August 15, 2007 at 10:57 pm

    I’d like to discuss, but I just can’t think of anything to say πŸ˜‰ . I guess I must be one of the un-switched-on folk you tried to be charitable about. Instead I shall tell you my favourite geeky joke.

    Q: Why did the software engineer get Christmas and Halloween mixed up?

    A: Because Oct(31) == Dec(25).

  2. Stephen S.

    Thursday, August 16, 2007 at 11:12 am

    “There are 11 types of people in this world: those who understand binary, and those who don’t.”

  3. Jay

    Saturday, August 18, 2007 at 1:15 pm

    Stephen S. said,

    β€œThere are 11 types of people in this world: those who understand binary, and those who don’t.”

    Either thats a typo or you’re one of the ones who doesn’t understand binary me thinks πŸ˜‰

  4. Stephen S.

    Saturday, August 18, 2007 at 5:01 pm

    Neither typo nor a misunderstanding. It’s a joke on top of a joke.

  5. Jay

    Sunday, August 19, 2007 at 11:52 am

    Oh ok, if you say so… I don’t get it – so either I’m being really thick or its just a tad too geeky for my poor little brain to grasp! πŸ˜€

  6. Jo

    Sunday, August 26, 2007 at 9:22 pm

    Well I don’t understand binary but I have linux. And there is few things more satisfying than taking pics of one’s own feet or pics of the squalor pre house tidy pre mother visiting.

    Squalor = sin. Jesus taketh away sin.

    Me brain’s bust and I’ve done zero thinking today! 😦

    Add me to ya blog roll please Rach. Me wordpress blog is

    Ta me duck


  7. Grant

    Saturday, September 8, 2007 at 11:47 pm

    While going through a ton of old photos for the purpose of scanning them in I found that I have on two occasions also taken photographs of my own feet (here and here). Does that mean also I get to join the deep-thinkers’ club? πŸ˜›

  8. rach

    Saturday, September 8, 2007 at 11:54 pm

    Hehe, hilarious!

    However, there is a decided lack of seashells in either photo – you really mean to say you didn’t over-analyse enough to realise that that was the deciding feature. πŸ˜€

    And… the ultimate crime πŸ˜‰ I’ve spotted a camera case πŸ˜›

  9. Jo

    Monday, September 10, 2007 at 3:02 pm

    Could be worse I guess Rach? Have you seen that cool sea pic (the one with the seaweed) on my bebo page? That’s just amazing:D


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