10/07/2024 lewrockwell.com  23min 🇬🇧 #252266

The Importance of Balanced Intelligence

By A Midwestern Doctor
 The Forgotten Side of Medicine

July 10, 2024

I believe one of the biggest issues in modern medicine is that patients often don't get the opportunity to establish a genuine relationship with their physician and hence often lack the critical voice which is necessary for a therapeutic doctor-patient relationship. Because of this, my goal here was always to be able to correspond with everyone who reached out to me. Unfortunately, due to the traffic I now receive, it's not possible to do that. For that reason, I decided the best solution was to have a monthly open thread (where people could ask any question they wanted) and link that to a topic I'd wanted to write about but didn't quite feel merited its own article. In this month's open thread, I will cover a topic I feel is extremely important but is largely neglected by our society-balanced intelligence.

Types of Intelligence

Throughout history, many different types of intelligence have been recognized (e.g., physical intelligence and coordination or emotional intelligence). In contrast, our society worships a very specific type of intellectual intelligence that as far as I know has never previously been so highly valued by a society.

In my own experience, I've lost count of how many people I've interacted with who I know are much smarter than me (as they can do things I simply can't), yet when I compare and contrast our ability to get things done, to correctly interpret the data we are exposed to, help patients, or the general capacity to lead a happy life, I come out far ahead of them. Likewise, I've lost count of how smart people I've met who simply don't "get it" and frequently are misled by something quite obvious-an experience I am sure many of you can relate to.

Years ago, when I discussed these experiences with a spiritual teacher (as I was frustrated with how easily many of my medical colleagues were being misled), I was told to stop getting upset because "intelligence does not equate to being resistant to mind control."

The Transformation of Education

Throughout my life, I've noticed that individuals who go through the educational system typically build up a very specific type of intelligence and reciprocally lose a variety of other ones. In my own case, when I went through school, I noticed that the more I was there and did what I was told to, I notice that initially it would refine or develop me, but I would then pass a point where it felt as though I was losing the ability to think and access to the deeper capacities of my mind.

Because of this, I ended up having a rather similar progression at each level of my education.

In high school, I initially did very well, and then became very disillusioned with what I was learning and largely switched to self-study in areas outside the curriculum and just barely passing my classes.

In college, I decided to try to do better academically, but quickly noticed I was running into the same issue (a loss of my cognitive faculties in school-e.g., I would frequently get penalized for coming up with unorthodox but correct solutions to science and math problems). In the face of this, I decided to teach myself how to efficiently memorize information (i.e., I used a variety of non-standard processes, many of which were based off what I'd figured out on my own about  the sleep cycle) and try to do an accelerated course load so I could graduate as quickly as possible and hence minimize the total damage to my mind.

After going back and forth on it (I had serious disagreements with many of the existing medical practices), I then decided to go to medical school as I felt becoming a doctor would give me the ability to make things better (rather than just complain about them) and would also give me the chance to have the rigorous and transformative academic experience I'd always yearned for.
Note: that motivation to somehow improve things is also why I've put a lot of time into projects like this publication throughout my life.

Once in medical school, I realized that a lot of the academic experience I'd hoped for simply wasn't there (e.g., the majority of professors were hostile towards debating the ambiguity within the facts you were told to memorize) and that since I'd taught myself how to effectively memorize information in college, I actually had a lot of free time. Because of this, I hence decided to spend a lot of time studying medical subjects outside the standard curriculum and to investigate the contradictions and ambiguities within what I was being taught rather than focus on getting the highest grades possible.

Finally, when I went to residency, I made a point to learn the things I felt were essential for patient care as quickly as possible so I could then be put into a position where I had the autonomy to teach myself as much as I could-which my program in turn was supportive of since most residents didn't show a strong desire to teach themselves and instead constantly needed to be be policed to study.

Note: numerous medical school deans and medical residency directors I've spoken to over the years have lamented that the newer crops of medical school graduates lack the critical thinking which is needed for them to effectively function as doctors during their medical residency. In my eyes, this is due to the fact medical schools harshly reprimand students who demonstrate critical thinking (by thinking outside of the box or questioning an orthodoxy) and that the pipeline to medical school (our colleges), has continually reduced the critical thinking within their curriculums. Remarkably, while those in medicine I've spoken to recognize this issue, they still "punish" unorthodox students who display critical thinking.

From my journey, a few key lessons jumped out I wish to share:

1. It's critical to recognize during the educational process when you've hit a point of diminishing returns. For example, there were a large number of subjects I learned well enough to get a general understanding of what under lied them and what the key lessons the discipline had to share were, but I simultaneously felt offered minimal value if I learned them to a high level of detail. In contrast, many people I knew who reached the same degree of familiarity I had with the subject became attached to it and identified with it, and hence spent years learning a lot of extraneous details on the subject which offered minimal value to their life.

2. In contrast, it's also important to recognize which things actually offer an immense degree of value to spend years if not decades developing mastery in, and hence should be prioritized with your time.
Note: when this is your goal, you have to also shift your focus to being fully present to the subject you are studying, going as deep as you can into it, and unravelling the contradictions and mysteries you encounter.

3. As you start to understand the fundamental processes that underlie the things you study, you'll begin to notice seeming unrelated things are in reality quite similar (sometimes termed " isomorphisms"). In addition to this being something that allowed me to integrate large bodies of information quite quickly, it also characterizes my writing as I try to show how the same process people can understand in one domain applies to many of the other difficult areas we are also struggling with.

4. The previous three points are important because you will never have enough time to learn everything you want to learn. Rather, you need to have an effective strategy in place for learning as much of it as you can with the time that is available.

5. Many people assume that if they follow the path laid out for them that they will eventually arrive at what they are hoping for. For example, many people I know who went into medicine were not sure what they wanted to specialize in, and eventually chose something a variety of events in their life pushed them to settle on. In turn, many of those people spent years if not decades bouncing from one physician job to another they didn't really like, and at the end of all of it, weren't particularly wealthy or happy (despite having some of the highest paying and most prestigious jobs our society had to offer). In my own case, I am certain that if had I allowed myself to have been swept into many of the currents presented to me, I would have never learned much of what I had, I would have made a variety of bad decisions (e.g., taking the COVID vaccine), and I likely would not be a particularly happy person.

6. Much of the current situation we face is a result of the systematic dismantling of the educational system, as it was transformed from something designed to foster critical thinking and a highly functional electorate, to one designed to create subservient citizens who only existed to fill pre-designated roles for them within the society. In my eyes, the strongest pieces of evidence for this contention were:

•In 1903 John D. Rockefeller  founded the General Education Board, which over the decades (in partnership with Andrew Carnegie's foundation) gave billions to schools around the country until in 1973, the Department of Education was created.  These foundations and their money reshaped education in America, transforming it from a locally managed process to a centrally controlled one that all children were required to attend, and one where the cultivation of creativity and a child's own natural development was replaced with a rigid framework which trained the children to become docile subjects who could easily be molded into compliant members of the workforce.
Note: The director of Rockefeller's "charity"  admitted their goal was to have this new model of education train the populace to be compliant slaves who lacked critical thinking.

•In the 1960s, one of my relatives was given documents which detailed a global plan (by a group that preceded the World Economic Forum) to impoverish America so that everyone would willing submit to low paying and backbreaking corporate jobs to get by (e.g., consider Corporate America's recent vaccine mandates), and hence ensure the American people were compliant and did whatever the ruling clash wished (which I covered in more detail  here). I learned about these documents when I was a child and have been astonished to see how every single thing they predicted has subsequently come true as the decades passed. Amongst other things, I was told from the start that a decision had been made to remove critical thinking from our educational system as critical thinking would allow the populace to resist the coming era of  corporate economic feudalism.

•Individuals I know who have gone to the elite schools the ruling class sends their children to have repeatedly shared to me that the educational process there is very different (and in many cases I found out the approach I considered to be optimal was utilized for the students at those schools).  Multivitamin for Men -... Buy New $23.47 ($0.78 / Count)

•One award-winning teacher, John Gatto,  extensively wrote about how American education had been transformed so that when children were in the prime of their life to learn and develop their own identities, they were instead locked into a rigid and sterile environment which disconnected them from all the interactions and experiences of life that allowed them to develop their own identities and become highly functional members of society. Likewise, Ivan Illich, in his book Deschooling Society made the salient observation that once people are "taught" within a rigid framework, they lose much of their inherent ability to "learn." Sadly, while their points were spot on, they are now mostly forgotten and we now spend dramatically more money (and years of schooling) on education, yet have worse and worse outcomes.

In turn, I believe much of my success as a student came from a desire to develop my mind and the recognition the schooling processes was frequently counterproductive to that-which in turn led me to inadvertently following the style of education individuals like Gatto and Illich advocated for (despite me having no knowledge of them at the time).

Note: recently I completed  an article on the immense damage vaccination has done to the health of our society. One of the least appreciated harms of vaccination is that the  inflammation and  microstrokes they create within the brain will frequently lead to significant cognitive and behavioral impairment. The original pertussis vaccine (DTwP) was the most notorious for doing this, and  as discussed in that article, an almost unimaginable wave of issues rippled throughout the society (and hence the schools) as that vaccine was deployed upon America which could be seen as the first generation who received it grew up. In turn, I believe a case can be made that the degradation of American education we witnessed was in part due to teachers no longer being able to teach the way they had previously to these neurologically damaged children.

Counterproductive Cognitive Algorithms

Two ways one can approach a problem are as follows:

•Engage the creative capacities of the brain (and unconsciousness), be able to see the broad picture in front of you, and then be able to arrive at an innovative solution to the problem you are facing.

•Memorize a series of lists, hyperfocus on a few reductionistic details, and then forcefully execute a chain of logic or algorithm which utilizes those lists to come up with a solution.

The former method is often referred to as "right brain" thinking, while the latter is referred to "left brain" thinking. Those who are aware of this dichotomy in turn believe that our society excessively encourages left brain thinking, while simultaneously shunning right brain thinking. I generally agree with this assessment, although I hold the more unique perspective that both are important (e.g., this is why I try to show both the forest and trees while I write), and that a significant degree of the loss of right brain thinking is not just social, but also a consequence  of widespread neurological damage in our society from mass vaccination.

Note: one of the conversations I best remember in college was one with an ivy-league calculus teacher. I told him the way he'd taught one lesson (where were encouraged to derive a solution to ourselves instead of being given steps to follow to solve the problem) was my favorite experience in the course. He then told me that this was his preferred way of teaching, but each time he did it (even with some of the top students in the country), he would receive complaints because "students just wanted to be told exactly what to do for the exams."

The essential problem with right brain thinking is that while it allows immense insights to be gained, it often struggles to address the practical day to day needs we face (both within society but also within science and engineering), while the issue with left brain thinking is that it can commonly lock one into a "solution" which excludes the best answer from being considered. For example, in medicine (which is now a very left-brained field), I frequently see brilliant doctors who have remarkable skills in executing their clinical algorithms but cannot help patients their algorithms don't work for as they are incapable of adopting a solution outside of their algorithm. Likewise, I've lost count of how many people I've debated with whose logic starts from the premise there is no conceivable way any viewpoint besides their own could be right (which hence leads to them creating a variety of arguments which appear absurd to an outside observer).

Note: one metaphor I frequently use to describe this phenomenon is the experience of a hamster stuck in a cage with a hamster wheel who wants to escape. If the hamster does what it knows to do (run on the hamster wheel) no matter how fast it goes, it will never be able to escape the cage, whereas if the hamster gets off the wheel it could see an exit and leave the cage. While this seems a bit facetious, when I watch how people's minds often churn as they try to execute a flawed algorithm they were given to solve a vexing problem they face, it often seems as though a wheel in their brain is working in overdrive in a futile attempt to solve that problem.

Debating Cognitive Algorithms

Throughout my life, I've gotten into more debates than I can count with ardent defenders of the orthodoxy (particularly within medicine). In each case, I've noticed three salient features:

•Their arguments are extremely repetitive, to the point I often can predict over 90% of what they will say by the time their first few sentences have been completed. Remarkably, whenever I question them about this, they have little to no recognition they are regurgitating a script that was fed to them (e.g., by the media). Because of this, when I engage those scripts, my goal is typically to lead them in a direction which differs from where they expected to end up, and to do it in a subtle enough way they don't realize they've gone off course until they arrive there (as this is often an effective way to red-pill these individuals).
Note: somewhat analogously, I find when patients see specific specialists (e.g., a neurologist) for a certain issue they have, I (and many colleagues) can predict with high accuracy give or take everything the specialist will tell them.

•Frequently when they engage these scripts, to varying degrees they disassociate and enter a hypnotic state where they lose awareness of a variety of things outside the immediate point they are discussing—especially if they are confronted with evidence that overtly disproves their existing belief system.

•Typically, the "algorithm" they follow is to quickly scan through everything you present to them until they find something can attack (e.g., because they already know a script for attacking it) at which point, they become unable to see the rest of your argument and hyper focus on their point of attack. In short, their focus is not on discerning what is true, but rather on finding a way to prove they are "right." One of the most important things about this phenomenon is that, typically, the more educated or intellectually intelligent people are, the more aggressively and reflexively they do this.

Note: I am mentioning these points because I know many of you have repeatedly observed them whenever you discuss a controversial topic with someone who ardently believes whatever the mainstream narrative it

In turn, whenever I observe these behaviors, I often will send them one of my favorite articles on the subject—" Cognitive Sophistication Does Not Attenuate the Bias Blind Spot." To briefly synopsize Stanovich's paper:

Blindspots encompass errors in reasoning where someone has an inherent bias that causes them to miss something which is otherwise obvious (e.g., the hamster is so focused on its wheel it cannot leave the cage) and that in many cases, the presence of blindspots appears to be a consequence of them not wanting to make the effort to think through a problem and instead simply asserting the first thing that jumps to mind.

One of the curious things about blindspots is that while people are very good at recognizing them in others, they often simultaneously fail to see how they doing the exact same thing. Additionally, as Stanovich showed, individuals who demonstrate one type of blindspot are more likely to demonstrate other types of blindspots. Most importantly, cognitively sophisticated individuals (e.g., "intelligent" people) aren't protected from falling prey to these biases, and if anything, are more likely to engage in them.

This hence provides an explanation for my observation that more intelligent people are less able to see the things in front of them which challenge their existing beliefs. Likewise, I believe it helps explain why they will frequently adopt incorrect logical premises which they then use as a basis for their arguments.

Anchoring to Reality

If you don't stand for something, you fall for anything.

When I've looked at what causes people to get led astray, I've found the most common thread is a lack of connection to reality which causes them to lose the reflex they would otherwise have reject what something absurd being done to them. To illustrate:

•Over the years I've worked with numerous people  who got pulled into a dangerous spiritual cult (e.g., because the family requested me to). One of the most common threads I've noticed is those individuals had a pre-existing disconnection from their body (e.g., they weren't "grounded") and that the cult had them engage in a variety of  unsafe spiritual practices which further pulled them into their heads and associated the rush they got with doing those exercises to a profound importance in the cult's teachings. In turn, to break them away from the cult, I've found that I first needed to have them get back in their bodies, as without doing so, they lacked the ability to recognize that what the cult was pushing them to do was wrong or the strength to resist it (all of which is discussed further  here).
Note: I believe much of what I said also applies to people in modern political "cults" which fanatically follow beliefs at odds with reality.  

•Typically when individuals have a high degree of intelligence in one domain, they reciprocally have a low degree of intelligence in others (e.g., I know numerous geniuses who are emotionally challenged). Likewise, a common pattern I've noticed, particularly in one American demographic, is that if the kidneys are weak (which in Chinese medicine anchor the vitality of the body into the internal organs), that energy will flow into the brain, leading to a high degree of intellectual capacity, accompanied by a general neuroticism and a variety of physical ailments.

•One of the major points Gato made was that by schools cutting children off from the broader society they lost the anchors which were necessary for them to develop their own sense of self, self-esteem, empathy for others, and capacity for creativity and self-awareness. In turn, when he had his middle school students do things like hundreds of hours of community service within adults in the community, it had a profound benefit for them.

•Previously,  I discussed how countless empires throughout history have followed a consistent pattern—a meteoric rise followed by a period of decadence and collapse roughly 250 years after the empire's founding—something almost identical to what America is currently experiencing. The English general who created this model theorized that it resulted from each empire's immense success making the empire fabulously wealthy (from its conquests), which in turn led to the empires's citizens focusing on making money rather than advancing the empire, which then gave rise to an age of intellectualism (since they needed something to spend their money on), which then gave rise to the fatal era of decadence which broke the empire apart.

In my opinion, that transition from intellectualism to decadence is due to the "elites" of society becoming disconnected from the struggles of the empire which built it up and the hardships of day to day life its subjects needed to engage in before they became fabulously wealthy. As a result, their conception of reality switched to being an intellectual idea in their minds where all they really cared about were the merits of their ideas (e.g., "being right") and before long, they became led down a variety of dysfunctional ideologies, which while at odds with reality, were easy to intellectually rationalize (provided the appropriate cognitive biases were in place). In turn, I would argue that essentially synopsizes the situation our society currently finds itself in.

Note: another key issue is that as people become disconnected from reality, they lose the basic satisfaction being alive gives them and they in turn reach into more and more deranged stuff in the hope it can give them that intrinsic sense of happiness and purpose they search for.

Balanced Intelligence

I was raised to believe that all types of intelligence mattered and that excessively developing one at the expense of the others was highly detrimental to your own wellbeing. This was because beyond it creating massive blindspots, it would create an imbalance within you that could cause the excessive type of intelligence to become deranged (e.g., I've lost count of how many "smart" people I know who lead emotionally toxic lives, are mentally unbalanced, and get sucked into really dysfunctional ideologies).

Likewise, my teachers repeatedly taught me that if your goal was to develop one type of intelligence (e.g., intellectual intelligence) it was often far more effective to cultivate a related type of intelligence that would support your primary target, than it was to just focus on defining the primary target. Initially I resisted this lesson, but as time went on, I began to see that my attempts to develop myself were yielding increasingly diminishing returns, whereas when I focused on the weaker areas of myself, I had large rapid gains in both those areas and my primary goal.

Unfortunately, one of the odd quirks of American culture is that we place intellectual intelligence on a pedestal (which I believe is in part due to it being much easier to emotionally sell useless junk to people if that junk is "scientific" and the customers are not emotionally intelligent enough to recognize that they are being emotionally manipulated). In turn, the messages we receive from the media continually de-emphasize the other forms of intelligence (e.g., many of the role models the popular media glorifies are not emotionally healthy or mature) while we have an endless number of unscrupulous "intelligent" experts repeat whatever talking point their sponsors gave them throughout the mass media.

Over the last nine years however, there has been a remarkable change. The increasingly audacious lies from the media, coupled with an increasingly free press (due to the rise of the internet) has made more and more of the public reject the mass media and seek out alternative sources of information which provide something of actual value to them.

From observing this process, I've in turn noticed something quite interesting. In the past we were force fed experts and celebrities by the mass media who had extremely unbalanced types of intelligence (e.g., I commonly point out that the unofficial vaccine spokesman,  Peter Hotez, putting it generously, "is a mess").

Now however, those who have risen to the top of the new media are not the best and brightest of academia, but rather every-day individuals who have lived a dynamic and arduous life that allowed them to developed a well-balanced composite of many different types of intelligence. In turn, these critically thinking individuals are much more able to provide the truth people are yearning for because they have a much stronger anchor to the reality that truth comes from.

For example, I've noticed that Joe Rogan and Jimmy Dore, two podcasters who have risen to prominence during this time, consistently demonstrate a variety of different forms of intelligence when they speak (e.g., they are very good at linking current events to similar ones in the past)—and I would argue this holistic intelligence is what has allowed them to become so popular.

Recently, I learned that this publication was discussed on the Joe Rogan experience. When I reviewed the segment where it was mentioned (which is in the second half the clip below), I realized Rogan and Jimmy perfectly encapsulated how the public is now searching for voices that convey the balanced type of intelligence and wisdom our society so desperately needs. I find this immensely encouraging, as while people have always wanted real voices, they have never made such an active effort to seek them out, and the media is now being forced to gradually shift to meet that demand:

Note: when I originally wrote  the sleep article, Rogan and Dore discussed, I briefly stated that Rohypnol was able to avoid the "bans" GHB faced. To be more specific, while Rohypnol is still prescribed in countries around the world, it was never brought to market in America. Since lobbyists quietly got it taken out of the date rape drug laws (which made GHB a schedule I drug), Rohypnol remains a schedule IV drug that can be legally brought into the USA with a valid prescription, which was almost certainly done to protect the international drug market (whereas in contrast, GHB was outlawed throughout the world and is now extremely difficult to legally obtain). In hindsight, it hence would have been more accurate to have stated it avoided the "sanctions" GHB faced. This in turn highlights the challenge I frequently face when needing to accurately condense a large amount of information for an article.