It will be resurrected again and again. Easter morning: “What constitutes intelligence?” Do we define ourselves intelligent according to what we know, or perhaps, the speed of computation, then again, application of things known in the face of the unknown? Can we claim intellectual capital upon information we store elsewhere ourselves? Can I, knowing Wikipedia exists, consider this supplementary to the information my own mind contains thereby staking a higher claim on our intellectual totem pole?
So no: intelligence is not what we know. I feel as if we’ve known this since we started to write, whose naissance, for the record, was to unburden the mind from data. This same spirit initiated the Renaissance… know that just before an incredible explosion of creativity, students memorized verbatim the Illiad and then wondered, “That known… what now?” Yes, if the brain’s got pat a scroll of verse ready-said forever and ever, Macbeth was only too correct calling out, “LIFE. C’est juste une scène qui ne signifi rien.” But do you know what’s more frightening than forgetting who directed π (for example) is forgetting like-typed names all the time, nevertheless finding imbd with a steady hand neverminding how shaky les nuerosis may be (Darren Aronofsky). Indulge me the following flashback: “Yeah,” he said, “I’d trouble remembering names too. But I can’t credit early dementia. I just think that I didn’t care much for people.” Permit, therefore, your great-aunt reel off the names of great-niece Claire’s four sons (despite not having talked to her for four years now)… wave of sound, dance of mouth, keeps the data in keeping and what data you keep (like if or not) says something intrinsic about your being.
I, for one, welcome wiki wiki existence, welcome any abstraction willing to unload my memory from unnecessaries, yet only to the extent that my capacity to store what pleases me doesn’t atrophy from disuse. Here’s the brain, after all, as physical as any other appendage, and (as any piano player will tell you) muscles remember things. L’immédiaté de savoir est sa force. Fine, Einstein, I’ve left several dates on the external drive: laisser la tête libre penser des choses de plus importe. The mad scientific wet-dream of every human being a neuron pulsing with electrical excitement at each exchange of information like little bulbs on the broadband circuit sleeps with me too. Mais attendez: my heart remembers nights around the fireside looking into her eyes and drinking mulled wine reciting a stream of dialogue from Steel Magnolias and feeling our minds running thus close, côté à côté, side by side.
Mind you, it so happens that forgetting can be a socially solidifying force as well… ahem example: hello fellow human, I need you, for you remember this sequence of colors and I have not. Please, second brain, help me restructure my elusive rainbow. But such a connection is touch and go in tangled necessity, a passing of the baton and not (cue that moment over mulled wine) a Sunday afternoon run where his footfalls catch each one of mine from mile one to mile five.
I stand by argument initial. Intelligence is the mind making easy conversation with cross-disciplinary sectors, that, given the following, all possible solutions can be expressed with some finesse. Then I started talking about firesides, after all doubting, that thinking is all the the mind has been evolved to do. The same parts of the mind that gives our subjectivity an emotional level is that that remembers the creak of the floor, the sound of his voice, whether or not she has a baby sister, the second verse…
Someone asked me what I thought of the following wiki. And as I usually am (I ricochet from black and white in a desperate attempt to keep the two side straddle-able) was torn on the subject.