Best Of The Web
“I’ve been wondering lately about the link between intelligence and meaning. People with high intelligence tend to adopt a critical attitude towards the world, and avoid relying on positive illusions. While these skills gain you accolades in school, are they really valued in today’s world? Anecdotally, I have spoken with a lot of extremely bright people who are feeling a profound lack of meaning in this current climate of divisiveness and lack of nuanced, integrative thinking in public discourse.
What does the science say about this? Unfortunately, there just isn’t much systematic work on this topic, as most of the research on intellectual giftedness is conducted on children. When intelligence is studied among adults, the emphasis tends to be on markers of achievement, such as occupational success or publicly recognized accomplishments. So the best I can do in this article is attempt to draw out some general patterns based on the small bits of evidence that exist.
In this recent article for my column, I reported on a recent study that reported a positive correlation between IQ and well-being among the general population. However, like most things in life, the devil is in the details. The authors of the study graciously provided me with further data showing that if you split up well-being into different factors, the relationship between IQ and “Satisfaction with Circumstances and Relationships” was over three times higher than the correlation between IQ and “Sense of Direction and Fulfillment.””
JJ Editor's Daily Picks
"Political leaders from all French parties, including former presidents Francois Hollande and Nicolas Sarkozy, joined Jews and non-Jews in Paris’s Place de la Republique to condemn antisemitic acts."
"Eighty years ago tonight, thousands of Americans gathered in New York to rally behind the Nazi Party and its ideals. An Oscar-nominated short documentary retrieves footage of the event, but leaves out the context that gives it meaning."
"The PM has persuaded the religious-Zionist Jewish Home to partner with the Kahanists of Otzma Yehudit. It makes cynical political sense for his interests, but what of Israel’s?"
"IFC’s series Documentary Now! began as an affectionately parodic tribute to the classics of nonfiction cinema. Its first episode, “Sandy Passage,” was a note-perfect evocation of the Maysles brothers’ Grey Gardens..."
"Making our choices count is, however, far from straightforward, and this is the subject of Martin Hägglund’s book This Life: Secular Faith and Spiritual Freedom."
"Teens in the United States are coming of age at a time when digital technology is truly ubiquitous, where smartphones are all of our “constant companions.”"
"...the Smollett story, if the “trajectory” leads to evidence of fakery, would actually reveal something else modern America is about: victimhood chic."
"Cool in the humanities isn’t that different from cool in other areas of cultural life, like planking, hotdog-legs photography, mason jar rehabilitation, and novels whose main character is a city."
"It’s true that high-octane, hardworking child-rearing has some pointless excesses, and it doesn’t spark joy for parents. But done right, it works for kids..."
"Cape Town in South Africa is a foodie destination. Some people in its renowned restaurant industry are trying to spread the food wealth citywide."
"...for many “space expansionists,” escaping Earth is about much more than dodging the bullet of extinction: it’s about realizing astronomical amounts of value by exploiting the universe’s vast resources to create something resembling utopia. "
"After facing persecution in the former Soviet Union and a new wave of antisemitism in the United States, Marya Zilberberg decides to put her Jewishness on display."