Get your free IQ score here!

IQI recently took a test which is supposed to give me a reasonable approximation of my “true IQ.” It only takes a few minutes. The result is my own business, and I invite the reader to find out an approximation with the understanding that the very fact that you are reading this blog, Piece of Mind, means that you are above average. The test is here.

Why do such tests exist? As a freshman in high school I was placed in a small section of the class at Billings Central Catholic High School, Billings, Montana, knows as the “honors” section. I did not last long. My family’s home life was not conducive to studying, and overwhelmed by distractions, the school officials decided I belonged with the regular kids. Once nice thing about that was the addition of two new class periods to my schedule, study hall and PE. Apparently the brightest kids needed neither.

I did not do well in the regular curriculum either, in fact would not discover that I had academic abilities until admission to the local college, Eastern Montana, now known as MSU-Billings. It was a tough way to grow up, but productive in the long run in that I missed out on the most important feature of American education, the dumbing down part. Schools are structured to minimize curiosity and maximize effort, forcing us to spend hours reading and regurgitating dull texts. An exciting world awaits without – one that does not use texts, but by the time the schools are done, we are trained to be incurious. In addition to tedious textbooks, we are taught to answer bells, walk in straight lines, and most importantly, be punctual. They are making employees, soldiers and bureaucrats. My every “tardy” was noted somewhere on the official record.

It is not an accident. The “successful” student in the United States will have the ability to cipher, skim a newspaper, read beach books, and succeed in a profession. But all other talents will remain under a bushel basket. After formal schooling those non-working hours are filled by television and sports. The employee is chained to a desk by need for health care and to pay off student loans. There’s also that thirty-year mortgage and a large vehicle with recreational equipment attached behind, courtesy of compound interest that most Americans do not understand.

The educated citizen will also vote.

Education should be guided curiosity. The basics of communication, reading and speaking and writing, come easily to all of us. They are no more than keys to unlock doors. By the time the schools get done with us, we barely know the doors are there.

Why the IQ test? No doubt it came about in the early 20th century, along with the factory school. The industrial revolution and imperialism meant that they needed factory workers and soldiers and people to manage them. IQ tests are used for sorting and culling us for employment purposes.

The test I linked to here is about abstractions, number sequences, pattern recognition. Some of us can do that sort of thing better than others. That is useful information for those on the lookout for middle managers, accountants, lawyers and technicians.

The people who built the bombs that destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki no doubt scored well on these tests, and made a really effective weapon, and had no knowledge or ability to fathom or to question the authority system used to maim and murder hundreds of thousands of innocent people. It takes a well-oiled education machine to extract such abilities from people without giving them useful knowledge.

By the way, people who design and build our roads, bridges, cars and homes are far more useful to our society than those geniuses who were culled out of the system and put into the Manhattan Project


PS: See: Prussian Education System

13 thoughts on “Get your free IQ score here!

  1. A lot of what you say here is true but I wonder if your outlook on ‘education’ would be different if you were exposed to a liberal arts education in college. Not all ‘education’ is focused on making the student a square peg to fit into the system. I make the assumption that the majority of what you studied was accounting and/or business finance courses.


      1. Apropos of nothing, the Chairman of the Bookstore board is a CPA from MSUB (formerly EMC), and a high ranking member of the University administration, and the Bookstore accountant CPA graduated from MSU. You should see the communicative daggers that fly between those two … Hooboy!


    1. I got it right. Having to take Discrete Mathematics in CS kind of warps your mind a little. Of course it has nothing to do with intelligence and everything to do with experience. (And for the record, Mark, yes, that is a class I got a B in.)


    2. By the way, no way is that a “Hong Kong first grade admission test” question! It’s just a trick question. Who makes this shit up!

      I mean, like you don’t get admitted to first grade in Hong Kong if you can’t answer a trick question? Is that a Monty Python skit?


  2. Mark, your thesis actually supports something I argued for for too many years now. Formal logic should be taught at the grade school level. I completely concur with Abe’s comment about a ‘liberal arts education’ except that somehow, someway, logic both formal and applied seems to have gotten lost in that mix. Logic is a foundational tool of how we think, one that appears to have been lost along the way.

    Once again, you (almost inadvertently) draw a terrific distinction between what we are taught to think and how we are taught to think. How we think is more a function of personality than it is repetition and training, hence the extreme focus on behavior at the grade school level. It is considered a great fault in ‘learning’ if a child does not exhibit the correct behavior, regardless of their advancement in what ‘facts’ they actually know. Rarely are children actually asked to ‘justify’ their behavior, rarer still is any justification offered accepted unless it fit a defined norm of development. At the younger ages the educational machinery is meant to sort people into behavioral models much more than intellectual categories. Western cultures are prone to using morality to accomplish this (thank you, Romans) and eastern cultures are more weighted to shame. But it’s all the same effort.

    It is my hypothesis, never to be formally tested, that if you provide a child with a foundational framework of how to think, it gives them a contrast useful for developing other methods of reasoning. Logic is not about teaching everyone that everything must be put to syllogism. It’s giving people a (dangerous) structure for considering ideas before accepting them, a structure that’s even capable of questioning itself (thank you Bertrand Russell.)

    Two things in your post I strongly disagree with. The basics of communication are not easy to learn. Making noise is, but that ain’t communication. Communication as interaction is essentially a power structure, and that’s a basic that very few people I’ve ever met have a handle on. Given your intense focus on the art of propaganda, I can only assume that you would agree with me. You are too harsh on the people involved in the Manhattan project. I’m certain that you’ve read much of their personal writing, and many them, most famously Oppenheimer, were very cognizant of what they were accomplishing and who they were accomplishing it for.


    1. The focus on behavior at the grade school level has the effect of isolating the troublemakers. They are the ones that we need.

      Reading and writing come easily to us with guidance, and most of us, just given books and prodding, figure it out. It ain’t no act of genius. It is, as Chomsky has spent his career chronicling, part of our inbred development pattern. That is why he has identified universal features of language development among cultures that we assume are essentially different.

      Oppenheimer is hardly the person to use if you are positing that the ordinary guy in Manhattan knew the larger goal. My Uncle Spence would have been more the type, knowing he was in something big that paid well and having to shut off his brain to continue to support his family. He probably had notions and kept them all quiet.


      1. Reading and writing are not communication. And if communication were as basic as you suggest, then Oppenheimer would be exactly the model we would look to for the goals known by functionaries on the Manhattan Project.


        1. Not sure what you mean or how Oppenheimer factors in.

          If I draw a picture of a tree, since we have both seen them, you know what I mean and we have communicated.

          Sounding out tuh ree by use of symbols TREE that do not represent the physical item, embedding that information in those symbols, allowed us to communicate with each other and store information in symbols in books, scrolls, computer files. It was a huge leap forward. I don’t know how you can say it is not communication, but the mental facility in us that allows us to encode and decode is genetic, according to Chomsky. Of course, I do not know that but rely on his judgment in that field, which is not the final word.


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