You Can’t Tell Him Much

by Dave Schuler on January 12, 2013

Ann Althouse points out, succinctly, something I’ve noticed about so many Harvard grads:

You may think you’re smart, but it’s not smart to assume other people aren’t smart too. I recommend a working assumption that other people are smart, and when you think you’re reading something ridiculously stupid, go through the exercise of reading it with the thought that the writer is wonderfully clever.

Not unique to Harvard grads, of course.

The smartest guy I’ve ever known did not go to an Ivy League school. His dad worked on an assembly line in a factory. His mom was an ordinary housewife. Well, ordinary except that she managed to raise a large brood of very smart kids on the wages of a guy who worked on an assembly line in a factory.

The Harvard grads I’ve known were, mostly, smart enough. Not great mentalities but they didn’t drool. What they mostly were was connected and ambitious.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

jan January 12, 2013 at 11:07 am

The Harvard grads I’ve known were, mostly, smart enough. Not great mentalities but they didn’t drool.

Nice example of a droll sense of humor, Dave.

When you look at some of our most quoted people from the past, many were self taught, like Franklin and Lincoln.

IMO education seems to augment what’s already peculating in a given person’s temperament and mental capacity. You can plug in facts, figures, and concepts making a person sound smart — kind of like the art produced from painting by numbers. However, it’s the cerebral and emotional processing that gives facts, figures, and ideas their body and depth. Consequently, I have found the more interesting and profound people I’ve met to be either extremely well-read, generated by a self-propelled, demanding curiosity, or to have gleaned uncanny insights into life from a larger and more diverse life, experientially.

Andy January 12, 2013 at 2:52 pm

The same thing is pretty common in the military with service academy graduates. Some of them are excellent officers, but a non-trivial number came out with some defects in their social skills. Just my opinion of course.

Janis Gore January 13, 2013 at 1:16 am

The question of the day is why does 23andme want my bra size?

They didn’t ask for my hip-to-waist ratio.

Janis Gore January 13, 2013 at 1:31 am

Ah, breast size may be related to breast cancer risk.

Harvard is so conventional and riddled with legacy students I wouldn’t expect them to be the best and the brightest.

And, as you say Mr. Dave, there are many exceptionally smart people who don’t have degrees at all.

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