FROM THE BOOK OF QUESTIONS #22

Another question from Gregory Stock’s book is this:

If you could increase your I.Q. by forty points by having an ugly scar stretching from your mouth to your eye, would you do so?

This is an exceptionally good question.  Its theme is intelligence and beauty–particularly which of these traits is more valuable.

My I.Q. is 127–I’m gifted, but not quite genius (I put those terms in italics because they’re relative).  I’ve always wanted to be more intelligent, but who doesn’t? 

Likewise, I’ve always wanted to be more physically attractive–but who doesn’t?

Yet I’ve never been vain about my appearance.  For me, good looks are like a car.  A car can be beautiful, but it’s worthless if its engine is unreliable (as my car’s is).  And for me, a car is nothing more than a tool for transportation.  Likewise, beauty is nothing more than a tool for attracting members of the opposite sex.

Intelligence, however, is a tool for acquiring knowledge.  Knowledgeable people are often labeled as intelligent.  But everyone is intelligent.  Every animal is intelligent–we humans are only the most intelligent of the animals.  And there’s even a possibility (this is a note for vegans) that plants are intelligent, as well.  So what matters is not intelligence, in itself, but the level of intelligence.

Thus intelligence is worthless unless it is applied toward the acquisition of knowledge.  There are people of  high intelligence who know very little, and people of  low intelligence who know a great deal.  And the difference is the extent to which one uses his or her intelligence.

So if I could increase my I.Q. (which is simply a relative measurement of intelligence) by forty points by having an ugly scar stretching from my mouth to my eye, would I do it?

Tough question–but yes, I would.  A scar would not damage my body itself, it would only affect my appearance.  And I don’t think it would make much difference in my pursuit of a mate–I’ve never been a ladies’ man, whatever my appearance.  But it would make a huge difference in my ability to acquire knowledge.  And since my appetite for knowledge has always been insatiable, I would probably be happier.

And happiness is what we all desire most.

2 Responses to “FROM THE BOOK OF QUESTIONS #22”


  1. 1 Abby April 9, 2012 at 11:26 am

    I notice a lot of these BOQ questions deal with physical appearance, and “an ugly scar stretching from your mouth to your nose” is pretty specific.

    IQ is a measure of intelligence, and there are some very high IQ people that are jerks! I agree with you that I would like to have more knowledge. Do I need 40 more points in my IQ to get it? I don’t think so. I also think that an ugly facial scar would be less detrimental to a man than a woman. I answer, “no”.

    • 2 solosocial April 9, 2012 at 11:53 am

      You’re quite right–if I were a woman, I’d probably answer “no” too. In mate selection, men are more hung-up on looks, just as women are more hung-up on money. This is one of the drawbacks of human evolution, and we can only surpass our evolutionary programming to a small extent.


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