Shots of Wit

A regular posting of witticisms, aphorisms, and general musings by Clifford Cohen.

How to impress someone…

If you want to impress someone, simply make up a vocation and preface it with the words “molecular” or “theoretical” (as in “molecular biologist” or “theoretical physicist”). After you do this no one will question the veracity of anything you say—whether it is related to your putative vocation or not.

Back Story

We show inappropriate deference to certain professions. In the real world, however, intelligence is intelligence. Whether a person is a respected rocket scientist or can write hit songs—each is no better intellectually than the other. The nature of the sophistication is just different, that’s all. The same holds true for all areas of human endeavor, and is applicable at all comparable levels of proficiency. Yes, some professions require more study, more practice, or more of a specific group of human abilities (intellectual and/or physical) than other professions, but the same human intellectual capacity is being applied to them all. This aphorism suggests that we stop lionizing certain individuals just because they ply a particular trade involving some type of ineffable “buzz word”—or worse yet, simply because we can’t understand what they are saying when they talk.

Some of the smartest people I know are incredibly intelligent, but along with that intelligence, they also demonstrate an uncanny ability to help me understand what they understand. Despite my respect for their abilities and knowledge, I believe it would be a mistake to assume that such talents necessarily extend to other spheres of human concern.

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