I’ve been thinking a lot about what Machiavelli said, that minds are of three types, that 1) Can think for itself, 2) can understand the thinking of others and 3) can do neither. So I’ve broken down how people think into 1) Fluid intelligence, which is a more intellectual way of relating ideas, knowing how to apply reason to use not previously learned knowledge into novel circumstances, and 2) Crystallized knowledge, which is more of intelligence, being able to gain and apply knowledge. Fluid is more of a think for yourself, and Crystallized is more of an understand the thinking of others, therefore a person with 2 can be Prudent, but lacks a component of Wisdom, also, a person with 2 can be the most intelligent person in the world, yet probably not innovative.
That was how people think, what about why and how they act. Most people seem to be explainable by averages and statistics…obviously, for if most people were not “average” there would be no average. Few people, then, are capable to rise above circumstance or culture. Most people ACT based on relational ethics, that of family, community, culture, or religion. Very, very few people ACT on principles – in other words, universal ethics that would apply across time and place….most people would not exist hadn’t they lived RIGHT NOW and WHERE they do….MOST American’s are Christian, not b/c they actually believe it, but b/c they’re driven by relational ethics….most people are not in that good of shape, but if they lived in a culture where people were in good shape, they’d probably be in good shape, most people cuss because everyone around them does…go back 200 years ago and the people who cuss probably wouldn’t….relational people may have extraordinary traits, they may be the kindest, the bravest, the most intelligent, the most talented, the coolest, the most well-intentioned, but they are rarely timeless people of wisdom in the eons of history because their identity is dependent on the current context (this is 99.999% of people). Most people are predictable, even if they’re “different” they’re predictably different and belong to a subculture and follow an ethos that is most likely only acceptable in the culture they belong, and if it so happens to be something that is acceptable universally, their actions were not the result of contemplative thought about their decisions.
Furthermore, many people do not have high standards, for “high standards” is a relative term meaning that if everyone around you is a saint, you being a saint is not high standards, it’s average – most people have average standards….only the virtuous have high standards….and not just HAVE the standards, and not just DESIRE those standards, but ACT on those standards….once again, very few people ACT on their high standards.
Hence, one cannot ascribe the same role to all of humanity, for most people are relational, plebians, and conform to their environment in predictable ways, whether they be good intentioned or bad intentioned, intelligent, or stupid. I no longer see the worth of trying to tell people to “rise above conformity” seeing that conformity would be what makes up the masses, and thus, you can never rid the world of conformity….instead, I encourage people to develop their standards to shift the bell curve into a scenario of what I mentionted earlier – such that a saint is average…today, a depraved and hollow individual, devoid of any Arete or virtue is average….so we CAN shift this average…..NOT by changing the individuals from relational to universal, but by, like I said, changing their standards.
Thus, who then changes the standards? right now the media has influence, but I think the role belongs to the Philosopher Kings, the Prophets, the Wise men, the Sages, and the Visionaries, of which they would be 1) Fluid Intelligence 2) Universal Ethics and 3) High Standards….only THESE people could ever hope to change a whole culture….yet, the % of people who are of this role is only a fraction….of a fraction of a fraction…for I have many, many intelligent friends who lack wisdom….many innovative genius peers who are not universal….I can count on my hand how many people I’ve ever met who are NOT relational – and I can count on my hands and feet how many people have high standards – but this configuration of humanity is fine. For, like I said earlier, I cannot ascribe the same role to all of humanity, I can only wish for others to be their best – for some, it means changing the world.
- Aman John