Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Is Genius Dumb?
Many of us are intrigued to hear about certain quirks people have in their brains. Some of us, like Blumenfeld, are geniuses, and have some of these traits, be it photographic memory, perfect pitch, or, I guess I'll throw in synesthesia after today's conversation in class. I am talking about things that are associated with being smart. If these really do generally correlate with being smarter than average, what is advantageous about them? It seems natural to assume that they would have evolved at times when human beings were not civilized, observing the very little time on an evolutionary scale that we have had civilization. Assuming that "smarter" implies forward evolutionary progress, what makes it more advantageous to be able to instantly memorize entire pictures rather than tiny bits of information? Shouldn't this involve the use of a large amount of energy that, at the time, we wouldn't really have needed to use? What could have been advantageous about perfect pitch? Why would it matter for someone to be able to remember the exact pitch of a sound? A huge amount of the sounds we make with our vocal chords are not even what one would call "notes," anyway. And especially synesthesia: Wouldn't it be better to completely separate our senses, so as not to cause confusion?