Americans are often thought of as stupid, but take a look at the culture we export and that will tell a lot about how others see the U.S.
We have reality shows and even dramas that suggest we are really, really obsessed with crime, doing time, violence, and solving all the crimes that we all supposedly commit. Even Desperate Housewives and other comedy/dramas portray us as gun-obsessed, sex-obsessed, demanding and arrogant.
Then there is the deplorable lack of education – or even concern, about science, math and reaching for the stars as the U.S.A. was once world famous for. These days fewer and fewer graduates know very much about the earth itself, astronomy, physics, or even their own local geology, or geography. They say that fewer than two in 10 graduates can even locate those nations with which we have gone to war in the last 50 years.
Americans are not really uneducated, but we are under-educated about things that really matter. People can tell thousands of details about celebrity shenanigans, but almost none about the real world. Often, we are even arrogant about being “regular people”, not “eggheads”. We don’t always think it is wise to teach evolution, or to question authority, which always drives knowledge.
But then Americans are not a different race – all of us are human beings.
The real meaning of intelligence is proven by those organisms, or systems, which have endured millions, or even billions, of years. Natural selection has enabled them to adapt to constantly-changing environments. One working definition of intelligence is simply that which endures. Perhaps the Universe itself, those evolved beings which rose to high levels of consciousness, can be said to be the highest intelligence of all.
When human beings are tested for “intelligence”, they are being evaluated on a very narrow band of their functioning. How one might solve a puzzle, or find a pattern is measured. Emotional intelligence, sensate intelligence and intuitive instinct are not measured with these tests. How we use all incoming data, not just auditory or visual, but with what Ecopsychologists have identified with 53 senses, is something that humanity is slipping away from as we grow more and more alienated from the Natural world.
Except for when he was a small child and did not have “normal “ language skills, Einstein would do well on almost any measure of intelligence, surely. Yet what really sets him apart was his deep understanding that Natural laws are run by a kind of intelligence that is far beyond our limited range. He understood that how we are able to function and preserve balance is more crucial than that we are just smarter about how to kill everything, or everyone else, more effectively.
Einstein is humble in the right way, not lauded for his lack of imagination or investigation, but applauded for opening new worlds of knowledge and for being unafraid to say what he did not know.
There are almost seven billion of us very intelligent creatures. But in learning to apply, function, balance, and even measure that intelligence, we still have much to learn.