Your brain is a genius on its own.
I was a lame student at Middleton, Idaho high school, class of 1989, showing little promise, but my lowest grade was only a C in typing. I worked so hard at that damned keyboard, and look at me now. A typing master. That's actually the skill I'm most proud of, and it isn't because of the grade. Imagine that?
I conceived of myself as a B person, not student, but person.
I applied the label to myself and my classmates. Jimmy was a definite A and Travis a definite F. I held the narrow belief that people were born with a certain level of intelligence and little could be done to change it. So, I didn't try to.
Much to my surprise, in my first college History 101 course, I discovered that people received grades largely corresponding to the amount of study and effort put into the course. I worked so hard on a paper about the legend of King Arthur and received a shiny A. I was stunned by my success.
Unshackling myself from my preconceived limitations, I performed well in college and shucked the B label. Brilliant people such as Albert Einstein recognize this lesson earlier in life.
I contend that most humans are brilliant learners by nature, abilities enhanced by advances in technology. The unadulterated human brain is the most remarkable machine on earth.
Technology, knowledge, and learning are symbiotic, producing sums greater than the individual parts combined. I believe in this symbiosis and that it has always been present from the times of caves, speech, papyri, and the printing press. The art and skill of storytelling is learning and teaching in its pure essence. The real key to wisdom is as old as language and communication itself. Human beings create, listen, tell, and read stories. No, not just pulp fiction, but stories of life, existence, science, and happiness.
I see, however, what I shall coin the "weight-loss effect" at work in the commercial segment of intelligence and learning. The weight-loss effect refers to our tendency to latch onto the latest product professing to make us lose weight without any effort - the machines, the pills, the hypnosis … you know. All our hope is sacrificed for the profit of corporations who know their products will not fulfill the promise of easy skinny. If any one of them worked, we would all be trim.
Real health requires effort, commitment, and dedication. Yes, weight loss requires work. That's it. But this route is hard, and countless companies make millions of dollars profiting on our weakness.
In the same vein, intellectual enhancement is a current fad, easy fixes that will make us all geniuses without exerting effort, commitment, or dedication. There are designer drugs, herbal concotions, endless games, electrical stimulation, etc. Again, you find yourself vulnerable, don't you? If I just take these$100 pills, I will be smart.
The truth I learned through my maturation process still holds weight - intelligence doesn't come in a gene, a device, or a bottle. Wisdom is incrementally acquired through the hard work of thought. Drugs and herbs may alter your brain chemistry, but in the end you must have input, the hard labor of study and reading. Electric shock may help you learn a little better, but unless you are working to feed that mind, you'll be no better off.
Make a place in your room of dusty exercise toys for the influx of the next wave of deceptive marketing products that lead you to believe you can acquire something for nothing. The room will be full in no time.
The mediums for transmitting wisdom change rapidly, but the basic act of engaging the stories of biology, math, physics, and literature will always be the true path. Some ideas that won't take up space in your exercise room are:
By Darin L. Hammond
Writer for ZipMinis and owns ZipMinis Freelance Writing.
Darin Publishes across the web on sites like Technorati
BC Blog, and Social Media Today.