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Intelligence Is Not A Virtue

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posted on Oct, 5 2019 @ 11:00 AM
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Hi ATSers, hope you’re having a good day! Thank you for checking out a topic I’ve been considering for a while. I hope to hear from some of you once you’ve finished reading.
In the midst of re-reading Huxley’s Brave New World, I picked up his Brave New World Revisited, and was shocked to see blatant, unapologetic eugenics laid out in the second chapter (the first being about overpopulation). In this chapter, titled “Quantity, Quality, Morality,” Huxley seems to praise the system outlined in his book, in which “superior” humans are bred, and points out that in past societies even minor physical defects were usually eliminated through nature. He writes, “Today, thanks to sanitation, modern pharmacology and the social conscience, most of the children born with hereditary defects reach maturity and multiply their kind. Under the conditions now prevailing, every advance in modern medicine will tend to be offset by a corresponding advance in the survival rate of individuals cursed by some genetic insufficiency” (bolding is mine) (Huxley, 13).

He continues the thought “and along with a decline in average healthiness there may well go a decline in average intelligence,” before quoting Dr. W. H. Sheldon’s belief that the lack of regulation (by lack of regulation he means people choosing to procreate when and with whom they please) leads to “stock that is inferior [...] in every respect” (13).

Inferior to whom (he wrote “our best stock”) and who gets to decide what constitutes “best stock”? I have met and interacted with enough people by now to know that 1) we come in many shapes/forms, very little of which we chose. 2) “Beauty” has much more to do with the quality of a person’s character than anything we see on the surface. This is why our eyes can be so compelling-- they often tell much more of a story than the other features of a face. 3) Intelligence can be used for good, for ill, or squandered. But it is NOT a virtue on its own. It is also incredibly difficult to measure. I have a friend who can build homes, weld, garden, build a root cellar, gather and store rain-water, hunt, can foods, reupholster furniture, make instruments, but who can’t spell or write very well at all. Is she intelligent according to the above intellectuals?
What would book smarts/IQ matter in case of a world altering disaster, and would my friend have a great chance at survival than an Aldous Huxley type?
And, finally, 4) There are truly good, beautiful, interesting, helpful, and kind people who are not what would be considered “smart,” but who have every right to exist alongside the so-called smart people.

At the end of the short chapter, Huxley writes, “And what about the congenitally insufficient organisms, whom our medicine and our social services now preserve so that they may propagate their kind?” (14).

Well what about them? Every individual on this planet has an equal right to be here. It appears that any time a person takes it upon him/herself to determine the quality of other people’s lives, they include themselves and their progeny in the “sufficient” pool, while applying faulty and random standards to the rest of humanity. In this case, the freedom of one is always bought at the cost of another. The push to limit the human population to certain genetic standards is evil and nothing short of eugenics.

In addition, although there does seem to be some correlation between genetics and “intelligence,” genius seems to come as an unpredictable anomaly, and doesn’t guarantee to be reproduced either (Einstein’s children were not genius; Tesla had no interest in reproducing).

If this opinion were his alone, I’d probably just shrug it off as unfortunate (due to my high opinion of Huxley as an author), but I think that the idea of certain people being more genetically blessed than others (and, therefore, in some way, better) does prevail and shows up rather commonly. I’d argue that an example of this belief is that doctors offer pregnant women the option of testing for down syndrome (along with other "genetic disorders"). Tough subject which I usually don't wade into, but in this case I just dove right in. I think a lot of things billed as in our favor, as freedom or advancement, has worked against us, and that the idea of overpopulation and the notion of intelligence and physical beauty/health as a virtue has made its way into our cultural world-view and caused most of us (the ones not interested in controlling the gene pool of humanity) more harm than good.


Works Cited

Huxley, Aldous. Brave New World Revisited. Bantum Books, NY, 1958.




posted on Oct, 5 2019 @ 11:27 AM
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a reply to: zosimov

Great thread. I agree 100%. It's weird (and frightening) that some people actually believe they have the moral authority to decide who gets to stay and who 'goes'. There's a conspiracy theory that a group of elites or illuminati types are
actually planning a 'culling' of the population.

I think it was one of the ancient Greeks who said "A nation's greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest members." Those are wise words!



posted on Oct, 5 2019 @ 11:27 AM
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originally posted by: zosimov

If this opinion were his alone, I’d probably just shrug it off as unfortunate (due to my high opinion of Huxley as an author), but I think that the idea of certain people being more genetically blessed than others (and, therefore, in some way, better) does prevail and shows up rather commonly.



Its not just an opinion, its just fact, some are simply born more genetically superior than others.

The problem is, the whole stupid Nazi movement put a taboo on this whole topic with there blonde haired blue eyed nonsense... I mean, I was personally born with blonde hair and blue eyes and know that it doesn't make you more superior to anyone, its just feeble minded to even claim it.

But having said that, I am a big fan of eugenics... If its in our capability to ensure that people born to this earth are free from a genetic disposition to disease or mental illness, then why on earth wouldn't we be practicing it?



posted on Oct, 5 2019 @ 11:31 AM
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a reply to: zosimov

By stating that intelligence isn't a virtue and maligning intelligent people, aren't you doing the same thing you accuse intelligent people of doing?




posted on Oct, 5 2019 @ 11:33 AM
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Well, I'll tell you this much. If you deliberately produce a child that is genetically screwed and their bad luck continues with how the world treats them once they're here, you pretty much made that happen. I personally think that's far more morally corrupt than the idea of preventing a tragedy before it happens.



posted on Oct, 5 2019 @ 11:33 AM
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a reply to: underwerks

I'm not convinced that I'm maligning intelligence. Simply pointing it out as a tool which could be used for either good or evil isn't an attack, in my opinion.



posted on Oct, 5 2019 @ 11:39 AM
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Oh, and intelligence probably isn't a virtue. It is (in fact) a pretty ugly thing in many cases. However, intelligence is something that exists. And it is bestowed upon those who posses it randomly. If you got it, you got it and if you don't, you don't. Those who possess it will exploit it. If you have low intelligence, your fate is to exist in a world that is dominated by those with high intelligence. So your existence is likely to be basically a curse.

So, who do you have to blame for this? Not you specifically. I have no idea how intelligent you are. I mean to ask this question - If a person is of low intelligence, who should they blame when they end up screwed, abused, exploited and thrown away by those who run intellectual circles around them?



posted on Oct, 5 2019 @ 11:48 AM
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a reply to: BrianFlanders

Thanks for participating in this controversial topic


I'm not sure that "blame" is very useful, but definitely believe that each one of us is responsible for how we treat each other, so it's the fault of those who use whatever advantage they may have to exploit or harm others rather than to use advantages for the good of others (an example being the strong guy who attacks others vs. the one who rescues people).

Just my opinion.
edit on 5-10-2019 by zosimov because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 5 2019 @ 12:04 PM
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originally posted by: zosimov
a reply to: BrianFlanders

Thanks for participating in this controversial topic


I'm not sure that "blame" is very useful, but definitely believe that each one of us is responsible for how we treat each other, so it's the fault of those who use whatever advantage they may have to exploit or harm others rather than to use advantages for the good of others (an example being the strong guy who attacks others vs. the one who rescues people).

Just my opinion.


You are making the mistake of assuming there's any such thing as objective right and wrong. You have to decide for yourself what is right and wrong. Because other people are doing this in their own minds whether you do or not. If they CAN abuse and exploit their natural advantages, they will. Blaming them for it will not change a thing.

So you are left with the fact that the only way to prevent this is to alter your own behavior. What can you do to prevent those with superior intellectual resources from manipulating the system they created to maintain an iron grip on power and using that power to do whatever the hell they damn well please? You can't stop them. They won't be stopped. They have the ability to anticipate and adapt and create any solution they could ever possibly need.

If you exist, they own you. It's that simple.



posted on Oct, 5 2019 @ 12:08 PM
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a reply to: BrianFlanders

Interesting perspective, and I can't say it's not a valid worldview.
The friend I mentioned in the OP is at least a bit outside the grip of the scenario you've mentioned. I know I'm part of the game, but I also know which aspects of my life are entirely my own (a lot has to do with what I can/can't create, experience, and the knowledge/ideas I entertain).

Hmmm. Well thanks for the thought-provoking discussion.
(and I know I have no way to prove this, but I do believe in an objective right and wrong)



posted on Oct, 5 2019 @ 12:22 PM
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a reply to: Subaeruginosa





But having said that, I am a big fan of eugenics... If its in our capability to ensure that people born to this earth are free from a genetic disposition to disease or mental illness, then why on earth wouldn't we be practicing it?


I'm really unclear on your meaning here.
Are you talking about gene therapy to combat illness or disease??

The eugenics the OP is talking about specifically, is Huxleys belief that there is a dilemma involving "inferior" people
proliferating. Because of modern medicine, sanitation, etc, these "inferior" people are no longer "weeded out" by nature. The eugenics proponents of that era thought that these 'lesser humans' probably should be weeded out.

Those who got to decide were usually doctors, or even clergy people. They had a number methods to stop the undesireables from reproducing. Forced castration, forced abortions, or paying them not to have children were a few of the means they used. It's really creepy.

Eugenics in America



posted on Oct, 5 2019 @ 12:53 PM
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originally posted by: ColeYounger
a reply to: Subaeruginosa





But having said that, I am a big fan of eugenics... If its in our capability to ensure that people born to this earth are free from a genetic disposition to disease or mental illness, then why on earth wouldn't we be practicing it?


I'm really unclear on your meaning here.
Are you talking about gene therapy to combat illness or disease??

The eugenics the OP is talking about specifically, is Huxleys belief that there is a dilemma involving "inferior" people
proliferating. Because of modern medicine, sanitation, etc, these "inferior" people are no longer "weeded out" by nature. The eugenics proponents of that era thought that these 'lesser humans' probably should be weeded out.

Those who got to decide were usually doctors, or even clergy people. They had a number methods to stop the undesireables from reproducing. Forced castration, forced abortions, or paying them not to have children were a few of the means they used. It's really creepy.

Eugenics in America


Thanks for the link


Absolutely agree that the underlying premise is very creepy.



posted on Oct, 5 2019 @ 12:55 PM
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originally posted by: ColeYounger
a reply to: Subaeruginosa


But having said that, I am a big fan of eugenics... If its in our capability to ensure that people born to this earth are free from a genetic disposition to disease or mental illness, then why on earth wouldn't we be practicing it?


I'm really unclear on your meaning here.
The eugenics proponents of that era thought that these 'lesser humans' probably should be weeded out.


Well, obviously I would never advocated for "weeding out" anyone due to a perceived lack of superiority.

Just simply saying if its in our technological capabilities to ensure people bought into this world are genetically dispositioned to be healthy and of high intelligence, then obviously that would be a positive thing.

Personally, I think its just common sense and have no idea why it would be considered a controversial ethical issue.



posted on Oct, 5 2019 @ 01:32 PM
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a reply to: zosimov
I love this topic, I’m at work now but thought I’d drop this video as it talks about beauty as an important virtue and to shape humanity but beauty has been tossed aside for ugly intellectualism.

Warning If you like modern art you might not like this video.

“Beauty is a value as important as truth and goodness” Roger Scrouton

By the way the BBC who originally broadcasts this program with Roger Scruton removed it from their site and the only version one can find is this portugués version. (Portugués subtitles)
edit on 5-10-2019 by Observationalist because: (no reason given)

edit on 5-10-2019 by Observationalist because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 5 2019 @ 01:50 PM
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a reply to: Subaeruginosa



..ensure people bought into this world are genetically dispositioned to be healthy and of high intelligence, then obviously that would be a positive thing.


Yup... Everything in its right place.
Kid A


I think the problem i have is with “ensure”. What does that look like?



posted on Oct, 5 2019 @ 01:54 PM
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a reply to: zosimov

I will point out that Huxley's "Brave New World" was written as a dystopia; whereas the sequel "Island" was written as a uptopia.

Dystopia's deliberately srepresent those characteristics of society that lead to a negative/destructive result. Utopias are opposite.

Both - point out the need for clear perception (in the utopias) and balance (in both) to a hopefully just society.



posted on Oct, 5 2019 @ 02:41 PM
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Intelligence is not a virtue in the same sense that beauty is not a property. You do not have beauty, you are perceived as beautiful. Intelligence is not a quality but a tool, just like weapons are not dangerous, the people who use them are. Let's not conflate information and its utility with those who believe that such abilities are a standard for measuring the value of our citizens and their worth in the grand social scheme. True intelligence would know the difference.



posted on Oct, 5 2019 @ 03:44 PM
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originally posted by: TzarChasm
Let's not conflate information and its utility with those who believe that such abilities are a standard for measuring the value of our citizens and their worth in the grand social scheme. True intelligence would know the difference.


I don't see anyone in this thread conflating these issues. But let's say I did, and don't display the traits of "true intelligence." So what?




posted on Oct, 5 2019 @ 03:58 PM
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a reply to: Observationalist

Interesting film-- thank you for posting!




posted on Oct, 5 2019 @ 04:55 PM
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a reply to: Subaeruginosa


Just simply saying if its in our technological capabilities to ensure people bought into this world are genetically dispositioned to be healthy and of high intelligence, then obviously that would be a positive thing.


We have plenty of healthy and intelligent people who have tortured and killed others, who rape and abuse people, who have committed horrendous crimes. Are these people desirable above people of less intelligence who may offer much to their fellow humans in the way of love, kindness and compassion?



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