In gym class today some dude and I started racing on the treadmills, using the distance tracker to see who could do 1.5 miles first. I won! I bust my ass in that room.
I had a revelation a few days ago regarding intelligence. I don't know quite how to frame this so I'll just be blunt. I believe you can increase your "IQ" up to a certain point by making certain choices and engaging in certain activities. Within a range. But right now I'm not close to being at my sharpest.
I believe back when I was heavy into Dr. Paynter's class and Dr. Doyle's class and reading Tad Williams and David Foster Wallace on the side, I had greater mental ability. I believe I could achieve the same or greater level again given some time and a lot of work.
My personal support for this supposition is two-fold: first, I think a large component of the type of intelligence I'm referring to is the ability to make connections between seemingly unrelated phenomena. This is what enables one to solve puzzles, to ask meaningful and insightful questions in class, and to write with flair and brilliance. I used to have that coming out my ears, and I wouldn't say I'm any slouch currently within the range of ability my mind is capable of, but I've definitely regressed some over the past year and a half.
Second, I look at my vocabulary and the way I use words. This is a stark difference. When I've sharpened my mind, I have access to a much greater portion of the words I know the definitions of, while in my comparatively dulled state, I still know what these words mean upon hearing or reading them, but they aren't part of my thought processes and they aren't words I use in polite conversation or while writing without the use of a Thesaurus or a great deal of thought. I haven't forgotten, but I've been rounded off and certain neurons have fallen by the wayside.
Okay, I have a theory, which I've tried to support. Next, I should make a normative or qualitative analysis. Simply, is this a good or bad thing?
Clearly, you can float through the majority of UNT classes without ever manifesting above basement-level cognitive skills. UD was quite different, as every class required active participation and a keen mind. I feel I'm not likely to ever find a job which really taxes my mind too severely. Therefore, is it a "bad thing" that I find myself unable to express myself as well as I could previously and just a bit duller than I was?
Well first of all, I don't see any benefit to being or feeling less intelligent. It does not contribute to making a person happier, for instance. There is no less stress. There can be more stress in fact, derived from an inability to accomplish mentally the things one once was able to accomplish, as well as the realization that one has become "dumber" once the revelation presents itself.
Let's look at the extant circumstances. I'm still able to express myself more easily than most of the people I meet in public, on the net, in class, etc. It is not as if I have dropped to below average societally. I feel I'm able to synthesize good points at will when making a post on any message board, or chatting on ICQ, or asking a question in class, or writing an essay for IR, or talking to Donnie Nelson, or chatting with sportbike riders at the shop, or sitting around the dinner table with the family on Sunday.
And I still find people who annoy me with their shallow thinking, most recently in each of my classes. And I might still seem as a genius to some people. Particularly in my IR class in asking astute questions, and in my Mass Comm class during our little 6 man group work where I basically had to do the whole thing because no one else had a thought in his or her head, I feel I've distinguished myself. BUT, the time during which I could stun legitimately smart people such as Anita and Dr. Paynter with my mental acuity has passed for the time being.
Ultimately, I think it comes down to the very simple fact that I wish I had back what I used to have. Now that I've realized all this and embraced this, yes, I miss the way I was.
Okay, finally I can try to formulate a prescriptive statement, layout a course of action, if any. I'm still working on this part. I'll be picking up Infinite Jest once again. Spending more time thinking. Trying to catch Charley more often. Striving for tougher classes n stuff. I dunno, I'll have to get back to you on this one, really.
June 1st competition for electricity begins in my area.
The bike pics of the day aren't bikes but helmets. Here, here, here, here, and here. Yikes! This guy paints these for $200 including shipping and several coats of clearcoat, and does any design you want. He paints a mesh material and then glues it to the inside of a visor, and you see out the little holes, and I'm told visibility from the inside is very good. And I'm sure you can scare small children at a red light. Not my style, but thoughtful.